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Executive Report : Executive news
SMITHS DELIVERS GROWTH
Blackpool-based Smiths Equipment Hire has just taken delivery of a new 26-tonne DAF truck to facilitate transport of larger machines being added to its hire fleet. “We kept investing throughout the recession to keep the fleet fresh, and, over the last year, the rate of business growth has accelerated quickly,” Joint MD Thomas Smith told EHN. “We have spent over £3m in the last 12 months and £1.3m already this year on equipment across the board, from small tools and equipment, to excavators, rollers, scissor lifts and bi-energy booms.”
Fleet Manager Martin Prater says the new DAF truck will bring significant benefits. “It will not only help us increase our average mpg, but, having a Euro 6 engine, it will enable us to continue to reduce our carbon footprint. This, along with the obvious maintenance cost reduction, will allow us to continue to improve the service we provide our customers. Further truck purchases are in the pipeline.”
Smiths, which has ten depots throughout the north west of England, has taken on seven additional staff since January, and has moved its administrative, sales and management teams to a dedicated facility near Blackpool Airport.
Strategic discussions at CPA meeting
CPA again staged a Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group (SFPSG) Outreach Meeting during the Show. Speakers included Kevin Minton and Tim Watson of CPA, Brent Bolton of the HSE and Chris Wraith of IPAF. The agenda included Operator Competence, Medical Fitness and the Government’s Health Responsibility Deal, Telehandlers, including new work on suspended loads, and the recently published guidance on Ground Conditions for Construction Plant.
New SFPSG projects this year include inadvertent operation of controls on excavators and similar machines, and lifting using excavators. The latter can be a problematic operation and the Group is to update the existing guidance first published in 2008. Topics to fall under the spotlight include thorough examinations, the definition of rated object handling, the requirements for excavators used for lifting, rated lift capacity, rated capacity indicator issues, and hazardous locations like roads and railways.
The new project to prevent the inadvertent operation of controls has been instigated following an HSE Research Report in 2014. Discussion topics will include competence and training, distractions and in-cab environment, worker/machine separation, work planning, supervision, human factors and machine design/control layout.
During an open forum, comments were made about the potential danger of an operator snagging his PPE on controls and the need for standardised control layouts. There was also a discussion about the safety issues concerning the use of pallet forks on excavators fitted with tilt rotators.
Obart and Seddons in reciprocal deal
Two Show exhibitors, Seddons and Obart Pumps, struck up a reciprocal deal at the event. Obart has become a dealer for two Seddons product ranges, namely its Taskman pressure washers and the Green Rhino environmental range of spill kits and absorbent drip trays, while Seddons has agreed to sell and stock a new range of Tsurumi petrol and diesel pumps from Obart, including TED models which are self-priming, centrifugal trash pumps, and DryMax automatic priming, diaphragm models.
Hirers meet to tackle plant theft
Eight hirers, comprising A-Plant, Brandon, GAP, Hewden, HSS, Nationwide Platforms, Speedy and Vp recently met to discuss ways to reduce plant theft. The meeting followed the recent annual Combined Industries Theft Solutions (CITS) conference, on which we reported in our January/February issue.
All eight companies decided to expand upon the debate by joining forces to share information, ideas and best practice at a meeting hosted by GAP at its Glasgow HQ. Various initiatives were discussed, including depot and site security measures. It was also suggested that each of the hirers should begin strengthening relationships with local police forces in order to gain better support.
Iain Anderson, Joint MD of GAP and Chair of the Plant Hire Steering Group commented, “The exchange of information is vital and we have to work together to tackle this. As we are the biggest plant hire companies in the UK, we were able to share knowledge on how best to reduce theft rates. We will continue to do this as well as adopting new practices that will, hopefully, have a positive impact on plant theft.”
One stop totals ten
One Stop Hire has continued its growth, having recently re-located its head office to Chorley from Wrightington. The latter premises will now be used to expand the One Stop Direct sales division and workshop services, as well as accommodating the company’s non-mechanical hire offering. Two more classrooms have also been added for its training arm.
A new 6,000ft2 depot has also been opened in Leeds, giving the company its first presence in Yorkshire and bringing its total number of branches to ten. “Customer demand has been growing rapidly and it made sense to grab the opportunity when a suitable property was found after searching for 12 months,” MD Steve Hitchen told EHN. “Five staff have initially been employed at Leeds, with £250,000 invested in new equipment. Our Manchester depot is also re-locating to larger premises in Wythenshawe.
“The company is on track to exceed £7.1m of turnover for the year ending 31 March 2015, and current daily trading, without any major growth, will take the business above £8m for the 2015/16 financial year in just its sixth full trading year since setting up in October 2009.”
Marchstream wins Hire Network Award
Marchstream Tool Hire of Manchester was announced as the Winner of the 2015 Hire Network Award during the first day of the Show. Trevor Tinker presented Marchstream MD Joe Haynes with the trophy, flanked by runners-up Scott Mynot and Bill Graves from the Barking depot of Concord Lifting Equipment, along with Pete Harley and Richard Somerville of Southern Tower Services, near Reading.
“The Award is presented to recognise staff excellence at an individual depot,” said Trevor Tinker. “It highlights the good service that independents offer, ensuring everything runs smoothly and efficiently for customers.”
Hares Hire bounces back
A cheque for £500 is on its way to David Hares of Essex-based Hares Hire Services, whose name was the first drawn out of the hat in our prize draw for hirers attending the Show and completing our questionnaire about their visit.
David’s good luck comes after a less fortunate event for the business, when its Upminster depot was damaged by fire during the week following the Show. He was in the shop serving a customer when the fire broke out, and both men tried to tackle the flames with extinguishers before having to flee the building. The resultant damage was largely restricted to the ground floor shop area and the frontage, with equipment in the rear yard largely unaffected.
“We are waiting for the insurers and loss adjusters to finish their work, and then we will restore the building,” David told EHN. “Fortunately, we opened our second depot in Rainham last year, and it is able to service all our Upminster customers’ requirements.”
A number of exhibitors held prize draws on their stands and here are some of the winners:
• Judith Dawson of Burnley Hire Centres literally picked a winner with Jaama. She tried her luck on a claw grab arcade machine and won a crate of wine.
• Carl Tidey, MD of Derby-based Total Hire & Sales, won an innovative wi-fi controlled drone device in MCS’s business card draw.
• Obart’s Matt Hill travelled to Rainham to present Mark One Hire’s Darrell Newell with two VIP tickets for the FA Cup Final at Wembley, following its prize draw at the Show.
• Robert Price of lifting equipment specialist FLG, part of A-Plant with CLM Construction Supplies’ Chris Hughes, being presented with his tickets for a day driving a Lamborghini and other fast cars.
• The winner of a business card draw on the Karcher stand was Andy Newton of Morecambe-based Hartley Hire, whose prize consisted of Karcher equipment worth £9,500.
• Lastly, thank you to all of you who contributed to the £4,000 raised for this year’s Show charity, Cancer Research UK.