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April/May 2018
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Executive Hire News › Archives › April/May 2018 › Executive Report : HITs from HAE

Executive Report : HITs from HAE

HAE has added an online assessment as part of its supplier membership application process.

On 1 April, HAE introduced an additional element to its membership application procedure for suppliers, having previewed its launch at the Executive Hire Show. Called the Hire Industry Trusted Suppliers Scheme (HITs), it is mandatory for all new supplier applicants, and will be phased in for existing companies on a rolling basis as annual membership comes up for renewal.

MD Graham Arundell said the Scheme was developed following input from the Association’s Supply Chain Board. It aims to give an extra layer of reassurance for businesses purchasing services, showing that companies are committed to best practices. He told EHN, “The assessment will help our hirer membership identify good supply chain partners, and can reduce the time it takes to research them.” 

Standards and accreditions

The assessment is undertaken online and takes approximately 15-20 minutes. It asks suppliers to provide details about their businesses, such as the names of directors and senior personnel, corporate structure, production capacity, insurance covers and categories of products offered. It requests information on standards achieved and accreditations held, environmental practices, research and development capabilities with particular regard to hire industry requirements, and, where relevant, compliance with areas of legislation that are increasingly being highlighted in procurement processes, such as the Modern Slavery Act.

It also gives suppliers an opportunity to give details of their commitment to training, data security, e-procurement practices and other initiatives for paperless working. No information is requested on specific products and no testing is carried out.

Suppliers who complete the HITs assessment will be highlighted as ‘Trusted Suppliers’ in the list of HAE’s supplier members, similar to the way its hirer members with SafeHire accreditation were presented when that scheme was initially launched. While all new applicants must take the assessment for membership, any existing supplier members can undertake it as soon as they wish. Companies that have already committed to the Scheme include Arcotherm, inspHire, JCB, Marcrist and Morris Site Machinery.

It could be argued that much of the information that the HITs assessment requests, such as corporate data and details of quality certifications, is already in the public domain and easily obtained by prospective customers. However, HAE says the Scheme will provide a convenient central source of reference for hirer members.

Also, for some suppliers, such as those who import equipment rather than manufacturing themselves, certain parameters of HITs assessment may not be particularly relevant to their individual businesses, like research and development facilities and environmental practices. However, HAE says that such companies could nevertheless establish such information from the original equipment manufacturer and, possibly, advocate changes.

Furthermore, many suppliers and hirers have already developed long-established partnerships and perhaps already have their trusted relationships in place. Graham Arundell said that HAE recognises this but that, in an environment of increasingly fast changes amongst people, companies and operations, HITs provides a reference point and an outlet for new suppliers interested in reaching the hire industry.

Opinions of suppliers

EHN canvassed a number of suppliers for their opinions about HITs, who between them had varying views. The MD of one key industry supplier said, “Virtually all hire companies will have done their own due diligence on the suppliers they have used for years. Also, after discussing HITS with visitors to the Executive Hire Show earlier this year, it is not something they were aware of nor, from the consensus of opinion, something they are concerned about. I would prefer HAE to focus its efforts on promoting the hire industry as a whole. It still surprises me when friends I talk to are not aware of how varied the industry is and what is available to hire.”

Another senior Director of a business that has recently started to focus on the hire market told EHN, “Having read the HAE press release regarding the HITs initiative, on the surface it would appear to be a good means by which suppliers, along with their supply chains, can demonstrate their surety, robustness and credibility to supply the hire industry. However, there is no mention of an audit process and how the information required will be updated, checked and verified for not only its authenticity but relative value. (I can understand a major global organisation having a full set of ISO standards, but for a small regional supplier this may not be practical, even if they are working to the same level as the standard, such as ISO14001). Many trade organisations require full audits on entry to a scheme and then annual performance updates against the key criteria along with regular audits. Without a formal process being established that covers not only new applicants but also existing suppliers, how trusted can a trusted supplier scheme be?”

Positive views

Others views were more positive. Phil Winnington, who is International Business Director with Morris Site Machinery, and sits on the HAE Supply Chain Board, said, “As the HAE introduced its well acclaimed and respected SafeHire Certification for Hire Companies to strive towards and achieve best practice, it is reassuring and fitting that their Supply Chain should also have an appropriate accreditation scheme. Morris Site Machinery has always endeavoured to be, and recognised as, an excellent hire industry supplier. The HAE Trusted Supplier accreditation will, along with other recognised manufacturers/suppliers, ensure high standards of service and fit-for-purpose, safe, robust, quality products for hire companies. This is not about size or dominance of one company over another, but rather an assessment of a supplier’s commitment to quality systems, investment in research and development, and being corporately and socially responsible.”

inspHire MD Graham Dobbs, who is also on the HAE Supply Chain Board, commented: “‘inspHire welcomes the opportunity to demonstrate that our standards meet the requirements of the HAE and its rental members. We will be proud to receive the recognition and buyers can be confident that the people they buy from are credible, ethical and conduct business with integrity. The process is neither intrusive nor complicated, but the information it gathers regarding the policies, processes and work ethics of an organisation ensures a hire company that the supplier is solid, stable, reliable and supportive. As a supplier, it isn’t enough to just pay a fee and enjoy the benefits of an Association; we want to feel we have earned the ‘badge’ and feel we are giving back to the industry. This is a way of demonstrating our commitment to our customers and helping to raise standards.” •

     
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