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April/May 2016
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Executive Hire News › Archives › April/May 2016 › Executive Report : Hirebase meets a need

Executive Report : Hirebase meets a need

Alan Guthrie reports on a pilot project the hirer has introduced to explore a new product area.

Hirebase is trialling portable toilet hire, having established a new operation at its existing depot in Belper, close to the border between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. This location was chosen both for its spacious yard to accommodate the units, and its ability to serve customers across an extensive region.

“We can tell there is demand because of the increasing number of portable toilets we have been re-hiring,” said Hirebase MD Adrian Watts. “Also, this is likely to grow because of the tighter regulations concerning the provision of on-site welfare facilities, bringing it within the scope of the smaller contractors and tradesmen that represent our main customer base. So entering this market is a logical development for us. We have devised a range of marketing and promotional materials to highlight the need for these products, and to let customers know that they can now hire them from us along with the rest of their tools and equipment.

“We have just taken delivery of 100 Mondo toilets from Satellite Industries, manufactured in our corporate colour and incorporating the Hirebase name embossed on the side panels. Satellite also supplied the pumping and cleaning unit that has been installed on our new dedicated service vehicle. The plan is to eventually have a fleet of up to 250 toilets, and, if the trial proves successful, we will roll out the initiative nationally, operating from five or six regional centres.”

The day-to-day running of the operation is being overseen by Depot Manager Dave Litchfield, who has worked at the Belper site since it opened in 2008. He has more than 20 years’ experience in hire, including a period working in the event hire department of another national hirer. Niall Stevenson has joined the staff as driver and service technician.

Hirebase, which now operates 135 locations throughout the country, officially launched a national accounts customer centre in January to target larger contractors working at sites nationwide, and this will also help to promote the new toilet hire operation.

Other recent Hirebase developments include the formation of what is being informally called The Millionaires Club, comprising the managers from the company’s 20 top performing depots. “They are the future of the business, and they will be involved in some decision-making processes,” said Adrian Watts. “At our first meeting, managers were asked to discuss ways in which we could increase our business this year by 10%, and what we should be doing that we are not already. We will meet twice a year to enable the staff to suggest ideas about marketing promotions, how we can improve our operations and other similar issues. We have set up a group email facility so that these managers can exchange ideas easily, now that they have all met each other.” Various suppliers have also donated prizes that will be distributed at the end of the year to the depots achieving certain business targets.

Hirebase has also completed the installation of a new hire management system throughout its network, which it has developed completely in-house. Called Grafhire, after Hirebase’s parent, Grafton Group, the software is designed to accommodate all essential day-to-day business tasks, and can be accessed by staff working in the field. “As our own programming team have developed the system, it will be easy and cost-effective to add other functions in future, such as customer portals to enable users to monitor their accounts. All our equipment is now barcoded, and records on the computer system are updated immediately once it has been processed by using a scanner, doing away with numbers or labels that could be rubbed off.”•

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