Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) shares have nearly halved over the past year and a half as commodities tumbled, but the latest industry developments and projections suggest that the worst may not be over yet. General Electric (NYSE:GE), for instance, guided a 10%-15% drop in revenue and operating profit each from its oil and gas business for 2016 during its annual outlook meeting last month. That's a sharp drop from the flat operating profit generated in 2015. On another somber note, mining giant BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) is taking a hefty $7.2 billion writedown on its oil and gas assets in the U.S. while bringing down the number of onshore rigs in operation to five this quarter from 26 a year ago.

Those big numbers and aggressive actions give a fair idea about the massive headwinds that heavy-equipment manufacturers such as Caterpillar currently face. But while the company has plenty of challenges to deal with, three in particular could hinder its growth substantially going forward. Find out more in the following slideshow.