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February 26th, 2009
Topcon – State of the Ag Industry Message

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PR – “Farming operations embracing increased productivity through technology will help drive the world’s economic recovery.” Ray O’Connor, president and CEO of Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS), said the statement above is what drives top-ranked technology companies to continue to support strong research and product development (R&D) efforts. 

“The current economic recession provides an incredible window of opportunity for forward-thinking companies in the agriculture, construction, survey and civil engineering markets,” O’Connor said.

“In tough times, increasing productivity through the acceptance of technological breakthroughs will be the difference in success and failure, the difference in being competitive and trailing the competition.

“The economic turnaround will be technology-fueled, driven by the products of forward-thinking companies and the forward-thinking businesses that buy the products that increase productivity,” he said.

The key to any successful farm operation “is managing time to optimize results. If you can save time on every phase of every job, you put more money in your pocket. If you find a technology that will make your machines and people more productive, you become more competitive. And, if you look at what technological breakthroughs can do to not only help you make it during the tough times, but exceed, or even double, the industry averages, you will be in the driver’s seat when business turns around.”

History, he said, “shows us this is true. The companies that emerged from the Great Depression in the 1930s strong and viable adopted emerging technologies when times were tough. They made investments in technology to maximize productivity in every phase of their operation.

“The same opportunities exist today.”

Some instrument and product technology manufacturers tend to pull back research-and-development (R&D) resources when business is down. O’Connor points out that Topcon takes the exact opposite approach.

“Our entire precise positioning business is based on innovative thinking, on conceptualizing products and technologies that have not even been thought of by our customers and potential customers,” O’Connor said, “and then bringing those ideas to the marketplace ahead of the competition.”

The seeking out, testing and acceptance of new technology drives “aggressive business models for companies that don’t want to just survive in tough times, but actually plan to grow their market share.

“It is these companies,” O’Connor said, “that will not be crawling and merely existing when the economic turnaround happens. These are the companies that will be running full speed, and growing their business exponentially because they took advantage of existing opportunities.”

O’Connor pointed to Topcon’s extensive R&D budget for developing “the agri industry’s most innovative technologies to be announced in the last few years” as examples of what technology can do “to make a good company better and a great company unbeatable.”

Topcon’s AGI-3 is the next generation satellite signal receiver that is much more than a receiver. It is a “complete steering solution with fully integrated inertial sensors and advanced steering control technology,” O’Connor said.

It is the “heart” of Topcon’s System 150, which includes the GX-45 control box. The system provides the industry-leading precise positioning control system for the agriculture industry, and “incorporates automatic steering, coverage mapping, auto-section control to guarantee complete application accuracy.”

AGI-3 and the System 150 is “not just another improvement on an old technology.  We’re talking about a unique technological innovation,” O’Connor said. “It sets the standard for complete in-the-field control of machinery and applications.

 “That’s not science fiction. That’s science fact.”

An often-overlooked segment of farming operations is total asset management. O’Connor said, “Remote asset management is a crucial element in maximizing the machine production on every job site.”

Topcon Tierra is a web-based telematics service that provides “real-time information on every piece of rolling stock on any farming operation in the world,” O’Connor said. Topcon Tierra introduces a “unique in-field management system that provides meticulous data to companies interested in maximizing productivity and drastically reducing unexpected and unnecessary equipment maintenance.”

Simply put, O’Connor said, “Topcon’s system lets you monitor every piece of equipment regardless of location, regardless of make or model. And it provides you with instant documentation on the job site information you want to receive.”

If farm owners “recognize the need to do whatever is necessary to create a lean, efficient operation in the economic conditions we are all facing today, the first thing to check out is what technologies are available to increase productivity in their operations . . . and do whatever is necessary to obtain that technology,” O’Connor said.

“In this economy, the future viability of many farm operations will depend on expanding upon or adopting that forward-thinking philosophy.”

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