The Viewfinder

A Simple Idea: How The World’s Largest Caterpillar Dealer Digitally Reinvented Itself

In 2015 Finning, a company that for more than 80 years had delivered unrivaled heavy equipment sales and service to its customers and in the process grew to be the world’s largest Caterpillar dealer came to an important realization; we need to disrupt ourselves before someone else beats us to the punch.

This revelation was complicated by being conceived during a time when the company was looking for efficiencies due to falling commodities prices. Beyond wanting to become more cost-effective, Finning was actively looking for ways to introduce new digital solutions to connect machines, people and sites to transform our customers’ performance, elevate its digital presence and better leverage its global scale and expertise.

In short, to better serve existing customers while reaching new ones, Finning needed to rethink the way the company did business, globalize, and accelerate our growth – digital reinvention was the answer.

More Than A Technology Play

Often we equate digital transformation with a technological evolution only, but it is far more than the introduction of new and exciting technology. Digital reinvention requires internal change management, as well as increased customer engagement and involvement. It is not just about transforming a company but the industry as a whole, taking the way you think about and do business to the edge of the cloud and beyond.

For Finning, to go beyond the cloud meant we needed to “digitize the dealership.” Specifically, connecting to our customers’ machinery to move from data – to insights – to actions that would translate to maximized customer convenience, lower costs, and free up internal team members to focus their energies on higher value activities. A great example where we saw early returns was providing our customers with advanced digital solutions for tracking important operating intelligence including measuring the idle time of equipment as well as predictive maintenance through fleet management services, including condition monitoring.

By monitoring equipment health, Finning helps its customers not only save on fuel costs but also reduce wear and tear on their equipment. Through fleet management services, we help our customers to predict breakdowns before they happen so that they can take pre-emptive cost-saving measures that reduce equipment downtime. These productivity solutions, as well as other digital services that empower critical areas of our customer’s businesses, give Finning a distinct competitive advantage – customers choose our premium products and services as we show higher value and show up as an integral partner in their overall success.


Turning Inward Digitally

Finning’s digital transformation is a continual evolution, as we see the incremental value of growing beyond a transactional company to becoming a fully-integrated service company – something we believe is the key to sustaining and building on the success we experienced over the past eight decades.

At its core, Finning’s digital transformation is about moving up the value chain to becoming more than an equipment provider, but a partner in the truest sense of the word to our customers which will ultimately drive Finning’s success forward.

Long View Perspective

By hearing about the success that Finning customers have had with Long View, we hope you will be inspired to envisioning the path your organization can take to embrace your own digital transformation.

While there are common or shared elements regarding each client’s digital strategy, there are also individual aspects of their journey that are unique and are worth noting. Finning was able to create a new revenue stream through the establishment of a Finning digital organization that had a separate P&L and revenue targets, not an easy feat, but if done well, worth doing as there are great returns.

David Bibby will be on the main stage at Activate Digital 2019 on February 28th in Mississauga to share insights into the unique elements of Finning’s digital success, including how over three years the company transformed itself to where it is today, and talk about where they are heading tomorrow as well as the important lessons they learned along the way. 

– Dave Frederickson, Executive Vice President at Long View Systems

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