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April/May 2013
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Executive Hire News › Archives › April/May 2013 › Executive Report : Executive news

Executive Report : Executive news


NIXON FLEET EXPANSION

Nixon Hire has announced plans to invest more than £10m in its tool, plant and equipment hire fleet for 2013. The Newcastle-based company also reported an increase in turnover of 16% for the year ending 31 December 2012 and, combined with its spend in 2012, by the end of this year it will have made a total capital investment of more than £20m since 2011.
The business will be spending £5m on tools and plant, £3m on accommodation units and £2m on vehicles. Graham Nixon, Joint MD, said, "We are experiencing a huge increase in demand from our customers. The commitment to invest in our products and services is great news for the company, our supply chain and the 300 people we employ, as it supports confidence for business growth and development. We don't just look for the cheapest product - we ensure that equipment delivers good overall value for money."
Nixon Hire has already placed orders worth over £3.7m to increase its fleet of welfare vans and compaction equipment, for delivery by September. “The Bomag BW120 rollers which we have purchased have a very productive output, as well as being specified with the latest safety features," said Graham, "while welfare vans are really changing the way our customers design their site operations. They now include a canteen, toilet and drying facilities, providing a very flexible approach to short term site accommodation.”
The company operates 13 depots across northern England and Scotland, providing national hire coverage through its Nixon Extra operation. Its Dundee depot was a finalist in the 2013 Passionate Hirer Awards, presented during the Executive Hire Show, and the company also has an operation in the Middle East, based in Doha, Qatar.

Traction Equipment adds larger Kubota mini

Traction Equipment of Stafford has increased its fleet of compact excavators with the purchase of a Kubota KX080-3 from Leicester-based BTE Plant Sales, to meet increasing demand for larger minis with a longer reach capability. Soon after its delivery, the machine was hired out to a contractor working in the West Midlands.
The KX080-3 has a 2100mm long arm. It also incorporates a check valve to the boom and dipper, and an audible warning in the cab to enable the machine to be legally used for craning purposes. Other standard items include an anti-theft device, an auto-idling system, ROPS/FOPS protection and air conditioning.
“We were very pleased that BTE Plant Sales was able to supply us with a Kubota machine that met our requirements,” said Traction Equipment Director, Peter Jennings. “We introduced a number of Kubota U30-3 and KX 36-3 machines into our fleet in 2011, and we have been very impressed with their reliability and high specification.”

Half century for WH Bond

WH Bond of Saltash, Cornwall, has ordered 50 new machines with a total value of more than £1m for its steadily expanding hire fleet. The latest additions include Takeuchi and CAT mini excavators, telehandlers from CAT and Manitou, and Bomag tandem rollers.
Business Development Manager, Andy Pearce, told EHN, “Our hire utilisation has been at record levels for a number of months, and so we are continuing to grow our fleet to meet this demand. We have benefited from work being undertaken at a good number of solar and wind farm sites in the region, together with steady business from our many civil engineering, building contractor and agricultural customers who have had a busy first quarter.”

New CPA appointment

Kevin Minton has been appointed a Director of CPA, reporting to Chief Executive Officer, Colin Wood, and to the governing Council. He has held his position as Senior Manager at CPA for five years, where he has been involved in the full range of the Association’s activities, with special emphasis on Health & Safety issues and representing CPA to other bodies.
Kevin was instrumental in forming the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group in 2009, and has co-ordinated its activity, most recently chairing the working group behind the new Good Practice Guide on Medical Fitness for Plant Operators, as we reported in our March issue. He will now assume a bigger role within the Association and reinforce his liaison work with government bodies and industry associations.

One Stop welcomes Hilti benefits

Wrightington-based One Stop Hire has added more than 50 Hilti tools to its fleet this year to meet demand, with orders for a further 90 products from the manufacturer over the coming months. The equipment includes 24 TE 3000-AVR heavy duty breakers, ten TE 500-AVR light duty breakers, eighteen combi hammers comprising TE 40-AVR, TE 60-ATC AVR and TE 80-ATC AVR models, and a PRE 3 rotating laser.
The tools have been procured through the manufacturer’s Fleet Management programme which, according to One Stop Hire MD Steve Hitchen, has given several benefits. “By paying a fixed charge per month for each tool over a set number of years, we have minimised initial capital outlay, expanded our fleet more rapidly than we would have been able to through outright purchases, and can accurately plan our finances.
“We also know that all servicing and repair requirements are covered, including transport, labour and spare parts, ensuring the tools remain in optimum condition throughout their lifetime. Ultimately, this lowers the age of our fleet, meaning we are supplying the customer with the most up-to-date technology that will maximise productivity and feature the latest Health & Safety advancements.”

Makita training for HAE apprentices

Makita has devised a new training course for students following the HAE’s two year shared apprenticeship training scheme, aimed at broadening the knowledge levels of customer facing staff. A further advanced module will be provided by the manufacturer in the second year, to allow more specialisation within the power tool and grounds care machinery business.
The pilot scheme currently running sees apprentices, taken on by HAE as a recognised training provider, being placed with hire companies to gain knowledge of day-to-day operations. Additional specific subject modules have been determined to give a balanced apprenticeship.
Makita’s programme is derived from its Be Safe courses, which have been held in construction colleges for the past ten years, focusing on Health & Safety, technical aspects of demolition and rotary hammer drills, percussion drills and other popular hire tools, as well as blade and drill bit selection.

Hirers enjoy APS trip

Access Platform Sales (APS), the UK distributor for Hinowa spider lifts and tracked dumpers, recently took 11 guests from the UK tool and plant hire industry to visit the Hinowa factory on the outskirts of Verona. The three-day trip also included a visit to the Ferrari factory near Modena, where the group had the chance to drive some of the iconic vehicles.
Jim Daintith, Chairman of the IAPS Group, which owns APS, said, “With the Ferrari factory being so close to Hinowa’s, it seemed too good an opportunity to waste.”
The driving session followed a tour of the Hinowa facility and demonstrations of the company’s latest machines, including the 17.75 and 20.10 Performance IIIS models.
The tour group included Philip Hird and Carl Norfolk of Peter Hird Ltd, Ian Brown and David Wase of Winner Plant, Keith McIvor of KDM Hire, Vincent Rose and Reg Harris of Southern Plant Hire, Neil McPherson of McPherson Forklifts, Judith Tollerfield of Express Hire, Darrel Leadley of Elvington Plant, and Lee Batson of Kentec Tool Hire.

Hewden’s Core promise

Hewden is offering next day delivery anywhere in the UK on what it is calling its Core Fleet, comprising its 30 most frequently hired items, including excavators, telehandlers, dumpers, rollers, scissor lifts and telescopic booms.
Any orders from the Core Fleet placed before 12pm are guaranteed to be delivered the following morning, with those taken between 12 and 5pm promised before 5pm the next day. If Hewden fails to deliver within these times, customers will automatically receive £100 credit.
Commenting on the launch, Hewden CEO Kevin Parkes said: “I am very aware that, at times, we have been guilty of over-promising and under-delivering, and this needs to change. I am also very confident that we have the scale of assets, depots and delivery vehicles to meet the Core Fleet guarantee.”

Selwood wins Skanska contract

Selwood has been awarded a two year sole supplier agreement from construction group, Skanska UK, for the hire of water pumps and ancillary equipment nationwide. The company, which recently invested £5m in its fleet, will be providing its full range of mobile surface and electro and hydro-submersible pumps, available on a round-the-clock basis, backed by trained personnel.
Sales and Operations Director, Richard Brown, commented, “We have worked closely with Skanska for a number of years and have endeavoured to provide a quality service and performance. We continually monitor and improve our working practices to give a flexible approach to customers’ specific needs.”

HSE cut-off saw advice

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and the Highways Agency have produced a new leaflet on the safe use of cut-off saws. ‘Using cut-off saws: a guide to protecting your lungs’ is aimed at workers in highway paving construction or maintenance work.
The publication explains how the use of such equipment while cutting kerbs, paving or blocks can produce significant amounts of dust. This will contain very fine particles, called respirable crystalline silica (RCS), exposure to which can cause serious health problems. The leaflet (ISBN: 9780717665464) explains how RCS can affect health and what to do to control the risks. For more details visit www.hse.gov.uk

Executive post

Dear Sir

I enjoyed your call to arms in the last edition of EHN for the Chancellor to help industries like tool hire. I would like to think the industry might work together to change something which works specifically against growth in the tool hire market, namely the tax treatment on investing in early stage and small tool hire businesses.
Having backed two tool hire start-ups, with another one on the point of launching, I am wholly aware of how unfair the tax status is for such investments in the tool hire industry. By a quirk designed, I think, to prevent low-risk leasing operations taking advantage, tool hire businesses are not eligible for VCT (Venture Capital Trust), EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) or even SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) tax relief.
Almost every other service sector has this encouragement for early-stage and small-company investors. This is particularly unfair and illogical, as banks will rarely do Asset Backed Lending to the sector because small tools are deemed insufficient collateral, making tool hire companies uniquely badly positioned to raise early stage finance. I have spoken about this to the relevant tax departments, where the response has been wholly sympathetic but powerless to change the regulation on the back of one phone call.
Why should this great entrepreneurial industry be deprived of the usual help available for early stage and small businesses?

Yours
Charles Skinner, London W2


     
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