When Andrew Campbell joined Terex Corporation as Global CIO in 2016, one of the first items on his to-do list was positioning the IT organization as a value driver to the business - something it hadn't been known for prior to his arrival. Campbell has since placed members of the IT organization into global business units across the world to help identify new opportunities for applying technology to help accelerate the business. This includes embedding Internet of Things (IoT) sensors into the cranes, lifts and other construction equipment it makes to help Terex deliver new insights and new value streams to its customers.


Such examples of technology-led innovation at Terex maps with a March 2021 McKinsey Global Survey on Technology and the Business which reveals that top-performing IT organizations have differentiated themselves in their efforts to create value, adopt new technologies, and bring technology and the business closer together.


Campbell's leadership has not only helped to foster new business growth for the company, it has also dramatically strengthened employee engagement across the IT organization by clearly articulating the value that each member of his team is delivering to the business.


HMG Strategy recently caught up with Campbell, who is now the company's Global CIO, to discuss various ways that he and his team are enabling innovation across the company.


HMG Strategy: Andrew, we've just gone through a surreal experience over the past 26 months - a rolling series of global crises hitting all aspects of the supply chain and all aspects of production and manufacturing. You work for very cool company, a global Fortune 500 manufacturer of a wide range of lifts, cranes and other mechanical devices. I can only imagine you've been pushed to a different dimension. When you think about driving value by applying innovation to a global supply chain, talk to us a bit about your journey and where you are going next.


Andrew Campbell: It has certainly been a dynamic last two-plus years and it continues to be pretty dynamic in front of us. First, there was our experience at the beginning of pandemic. We had to figure out how to make sure everybody was able to be safe and continue to work. But we also had challenges around our supply chain where we went through a major dip in demand right at the beginning of the pandemic. And then as we moved through the pandemic, demand from our customers grew tremendously.


One of the neat things is that we were able to see some of that coming back due to our telematics and other programs. But it's been something where the IT organization has been a close partner with our engineering organizations and our supply chain organizations to really drive some new capabilities that have enabled us to go multiple layers deep into our supply chain. we're not just dealing with our Tier One or Tier Two suppliers- we're actually helping our Tier One and Tier Two suppliers with their Tier One and Tier Two suppliers and so on and so forth down through the line. It's been a pretty dynamic time for us. And one that, quite frankly, has presented new challenges for the IT organization to help our business partners solve.


Talk to us about your leadership style with the C-suite, the line of business, the various organizational leaders around the world, as well as the innovation council that you're involved with.


AC: You know, one of the things I love about Terex is our culture. One of our values is our commitment to servant leadership. It's one of our six core values. And it is one that I truly believe in. I realized as I've reflected back on my career, that's how I've led my teams. And the whole idea is it's not a `command-and-control' leadership style, but rather how do I enable team members to be successful?


The same approach works, whether you're talking about people who are within your direct organization, or whether it's your business peers or the executive leadership team. It's all about how we enable each other to be successful. And I think that's one of the things that has made Terex such an amazing company.


 One of the things I'm really excited about is that within the IT organization over the last five years, the engagement level measured by our annual employee survey has grown tremendously to the point where two years ago when we did our last survey, it was the highest engaged organization in the company. And when I asked the HR chief whether that's something she's ever seen before, she talked to the company that did the survey and was told that IT organizations are never at the top of the list. They're lucky to be in the middle of the pack, relative to employee engagement scores.


I attribute that largely to the fact that we are very engaged with our business partners. We're a part of driving the changes in the growth in the company, and members of the IT organization can see the direct impact that they have every day versus kind of just being there because they're needed. And instead of being there, because they're adding value and are viewed as strategic assets for the company. It's exciting stuff.


Talk to us a little bit more about Terex's Innovation Council. I know you were instrumental in kickstarting that several years ago. What kind of results are you seeing?


AC:  It's something that started off small with the Chief Strategy Officer, the CFO, the CEO and myself. What we've done is we've been able to bring this notion of purposeful innovation. We're not out developing a brand-new science, but we are bringing innovation by looking at other industries, by being able to help accelerate organizations within the company that maybe didn't have the funding or the focus to be able to get some things done.


The Innovation Council has really morphed over the last 24 months where we've embedded purposeful innovation in the company and we're driving much higher levels of collaboration across the company.


What are examples of some innovative technologies that you're drawing upon? AI, the Internet of Things, the cloud?


AC:  We're doing some interesting thigs. But I can't necessarily share all of them with you because they do provide us with a competitive advantage.


I talk a lot with my team about experimentation and this whole notion around microservices that various cloud providers offer is an amazing way to very inexpensively experiment and try out things with our business partners and our customers to move way faster than even just a handful of years ago in terms of bringing new capabilities forward.


It's a great question. And I'm sure it's one that's taking place in many companies. We as an executive leadership team have put a lot of time into thinking about this topic, because we do worry a little bit about whether you lose company culture if you don't have the informal interactions that take place in the office. We do think it's important for people to get together to see each other in person. The thing is, though, we can't tell them, hey, we need you back in the office to get work done. If we said that, it'd be unfair or disrespectful to the fact that for the last two years, they've gotten their work done remotely.


So, instead, we want to create a different purpose for coming back into the office. Across the company, we are setting up certain events and activities to drive those informal interactions. And that is the purpose. It's not to get work done. It's really to drive that culture and those informal interactions. And we are seeing some very positive reactions from team members who are saying things to us like, 'If you'd told me I had to come back to the office to do my job, I might have gone and looked elsewhere.'


In fact, I can tell you we've had success in hiring because of the flexibility that we offer and it's helping us to grow. We recently hired a team member who told us they started looking for a new role because their old company told them you have to come back to the office or you're not going to work here anymore. By contrast, the type of flexibility that we're offering our employees is working for us - and for them.


Key Takeaways:


  • Clearly communicating the business or operational value that each IT employee brings to the company is a sure-fire way to strengthen employee engagement, bolster retention and attract top-tier talent
  • Given their core leadership roles along with the unique view they have across the organization, CIOs and technology executives are ideally positioned to help identify and enable innovation across the enterprise
  • As enterprise innovation agents, technology leaders can also work with the executive team to identify new and more effective approaches for enabling the future of work