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Collaborating in a Pandemic

Innovative thinking and ingenuity have helped Caterpillar, dealers and customers continue to do essential work and support communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Innovation has been a Caterpillar hallmark since our founding. So it’s no surprise that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, innovative thinking and ingenuity have helped Caterpillar and its employees, dealers and customers continue to do essential work and support communities. Here are a few examples of how Caterpillar, along with our dealers, has delivered equipment, services and support during this extraordinary time.

Slideshow: Collaborating in a Pandemic

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Slide 1: Lei Shing Hong Machinery (LSHM), a Perkins distributor in China, is located in the county of Kunshan, close to Shanghai. When the Chinese government decided, in January 2020, to build a new hospital to care for COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, the LSHM Engine Division donated four Perkins-powered generator sets to support the effort. LSHM delivered the generator sets from Kunshan to Wuhan, where they were installed less than a month later. To support customers while preventing the spread of the virus, LSHM launched an online troubleshooting service staffed by on-call technical engineers. Other China-based distributors have also launched online programs to support customers during this time.

Slide 2: In March 2020, the USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived in New York City harbor, standing ready with extra hospital beds to ease the burden on hospitals that were nearing full capacity. The process of docking a ship the size of Comfort is always a team effort. This job required particular focus due to the docking angle, a strong current in the Hudson, and the high level of publicity surrounding the ship’s arrival. Key players included four tugboats, each powered by two Cat® 3516E Tier 4 engines. The tugs, operated by McAllister Towing, were chosen for their responsiveness and maneuverability. The docking was a success, and we’re proud of the small but critical role Cat engines could play.

Slide 3: In the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak, when the number of infected patients overwhelmed many hospitals’ capacity, temporary facilities were established for virus testing, quarantine and treatment. Many of these pop-up sites depended on Cat® portable generators for power. In Atlanta, Georgia, Cat dealer Yancey Power Systems supplied the equipment and generators to run lights, medical equipment and AC to keep patients and staff comfortable inside a temporary screening site. On the other side of the globe, dealer CGT S.p.A. donated five rental power generator sets that volunteers from the Alpini — Italy’s historic mountain military corps — used to provide backup power at a field hospital in the Bergamo Province. In the United Arab Emirates, dealer Al-Bahar mobilized to deliver rental power generators for drive-through testing centers, quarantine facilities and field clinics throughout the UAE and Kuwait.

Slide 4: Ontario-based Paling Transporters builds heavy-duty equipment used to move materials at steel mills. For more than 30 years, they have relied exclusively on Cat® engines to power their machines. In the spring of 2020, Paling discovered a fan controller issue in transporters that were almost ready to be sent to customers. While COVID-19 lockdowns temporarily delayed dealer Toromont Cat from investigating the problem in person, a Caterpillar engineer used Product Link™ Elite to log in to the transporters remotely and perform a software update required for the engine software to work properly. This functionality enabled Paling to ship its equipment to customers on time—and will allow them to help maintain their customers’ machines well into the future.

Slide 5: The Cat Financial Customer Care Program offers payment relief that allows customers to stay safe, stay afloat and retain employees during challenging times. We have offered assistance to customers in the wake of natural disasters in the past, and used this same model to help customers across the globe who were impacted by COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, our focus has been on helping our customers work with minimal disruption—so they can focus on running successful businesses. As one European customer put it, “You are giving us a lifeline that we did not expect.”

Slide 6: The Caterpillar Foundation committed $10 million to support global communities affected by the virus. The Foundation’s investment has supported nonprofit organizations responding to the pandemic by allowing them to provide resources to hospitals, medical staff and patients; address food insecurity; and enable online STEM and coding education for youth impacted by school closures. As part of its commitment, the Foundation also expanded its U.S. matching gifts program for a limited time to provide a 2:1 match on employee and retiree donations to eligible nonprofits, leading to $1.4 million in donations submitted for the Foundation match. At the same time, the Foundation and our global facilities collaborated to swiftly deploy funds to support local charities in an effort to create the biggest impact in the communities where we live and work.

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