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Delivering powered access in a demanding world

We live and work in a world that’s changing fast and throwing up more demands by the day. Powered access hire and sales specialist Riwal UK, like other businesses, is having to respond fast to these challenges.

In the first of three articles, key people at Riwal UK talk about the drivers that are shaping customer expectations about powered access services, and what they are doing to meet them, and try to exceed them.

Right machine – just when you need it

Riwal UK is part of the global Riwal company, delivering powered access rental solutions via 59 depots in 17 countries and operates in over 70 countries around the world. A key obsession is to have the right machine in the right place to satisfy a customer’s needs.

Speed is of the essence. Delivering the right boom or scissor lift to the right place, at the right time, then taking it back just as efficiently is vital, says Riwal UK Country Manager Mick Ledden.

He adds: “Instant service, and the ability to match precisely a customer’s needs with the right specialist equipment is now critical. So, having access to Riwal machines across Europe is a big plus for us here in the UK, and for our customers.”

Riwal has boiled this down three pillars of service – having the right team of people, the right fleet of powered access machines, and both the foresight and willingness to meet customer needs.

A customer needed seven 58 metre JLG 1850 SJ ultra booms, the world’s largest self-propelled booms, for three to four months.

This would have been extremely unusual a few years ago, but with the development of new industries, such as wind turbine energy generation, demands on powered access are changing fast.

The customer’s concern was finding a single supplier that could deliver seven machines. The customer didn’t want to have to manage the project with multiple suppliers. Riwal was able to quickly source the machines locally and from depots in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Managing complexity in trusted partnerships

Big issues, such as population growth, climate change, and pollution control demand big civil engineering responses. New nuclear power stations, HS2 and Thames Tideway – just three projects that vie with wind energy generation in complexity and scale.

Riwal UK Fleet and Rental Manager Gary Specht says: “The only way to deliver such complex civil and structural engineering projects is to create supply chains that are as efficient and flexible as possible.

“One way we help to achieve this is by aligning our business processes, from the moment of hire through to final invoicing, to be compatible with our customer’s systems and approach to business.

“It also comes down to being a good supply chain partner. That involves working very hard on an individual level to help a customer. We appear calm, but we’re always willing to paddle very hard.”

Safe and sustainable service

Operational safety and sustainability go hand-in-hand. As regulatory control on pollution, carbon emissions and safe working, especially in large cities, has grown more stringent, Riwal UK has sought to help main contractors meet the challenges.

Mick Ledden says: “The introduction of London’s Low Emission Zone for non-road mobile machinery is one of the strictest emissions control systems in the world.

“At Riwal, we’re working with manufacturers to pioneer the development and low and zero emissions technologies, especially for large booms. For example, we have just created the world’s first all-electric 43-metre super boom.”

It takes a process of continual improvement and investment to meet principal contractors’ sustainability needs, which now routinely stipulate the use of low-noise and low emission machines, even for outdoor work, backed by traceable accreditation.

“The experience we’ve gained through working on some of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects, including London’s Thames Tideway, has helped us to shape our customer service to meet these sustainability needs.”


Continuous improvement – and the Riwal Way

There is no time now to stand still. Digital technology, advances in construction and maintenance methods, and rapid technological improvements in mobile elevating platforms mean Riwal UK must keep adapting and improving its service offer.

This process is underpinned by the Riwal Way, an internal process of creating standardised systems than can be repeated in every aspect of the business. That way, customers receive the same quality product and service with each transaction, whichever part of Riwal they are working with.

The principles and values of the Riwal Way played a key role in expansion of the London South depot, in Sevenoaks, Kent. The depot’s size and capacity was doubled in three steps over summer using Lean 5S principles and incorporating ideas from Riwal UK teams across the UK, and experts who flew in from the USA and The Netherlands.

Steve Skeates, Riwal UK National Operations Manager, says: “Standardised processes improve productivity and safety, two things we are obsessed with. We deliver extra value for customers by being ultra-efficient and by actively looking for continuous improvements.

“There are Riwal Way champions at sites all over the world. We make a measurable difference to the efficiency of the business.”

Continuous improvement also means embracing new digital technology. Riwal UK has a mobile app that allows customers to quickly check the specs of the machines they hire and request more information about them, anywhere in the world.

Riwal UK has also become one of the first UK powered access rental companies to use virtual reality technology to deliver powered access operator training, improving safety and speeding up skills development.

In parts two and three of this series of articles we look in more depth at how Riwal UK services support our customers’ sustainability strategies, and at how our sister company, ALS Training Services is forging ahead with setting new standards in powered access skills development.


Contact us now

To find out more about Riwal UK’s niche hire machines, contact the hire desk on 0844 335 2993 and let us know what you need. For specs of machines available through Riwal, download the Riwal Rental App.