African plant-hirers evolving into one stop shops

Maximum Equipment is a South African-based plant hire business turned attachment and construction equipment dealer

Maximum Equipment is a southern African plant hire business turned attachment and construction equipment dealer.

Apart from their traditional earthmoving equipment hire businesses, local plant hire companies are expanding their product offering with attachment hire and sales businesses to become one-stop shops for all their customers’ equipment needs, Equipment Africa has observed.

The ability to offer a range of solutions from one stable is a sustainable business model for most plant hire businesses, especially on the back of challenging market conditions. A case in point is Maximum Equipment, a southern African plant hire business turned attachment and construction equipment dealer. About 10 years ago Maximum Equipment started as a plant hire company, and later became a specialist in the sale of second-hand earthmoving machinery, as well as attachments such as hammers and grabs.

“After 10 years in this business, we realised that one of the biggest gaps in our portfolio was the inability to offer a new excavator to our customers. We had new attachments but we only had second hand machines,” says Vaughan Ellis, managing director of Maximum Equipment. For that reason, the company became the exclusive dealer for Hidromek’s range of excavators in southern Africa.

Today, Maximum Equipment is one of the major players in the hammer market with some of top of the range brands, Komac and Torpedo, both Korean-made. The Torpedo line ranges from light duty to civil construction hammers, all the way from a backhoe loader hammer to a 20t sized machine. Komac is a heavy duty hammer range ideal for 26t to 50t carriers, mainly for mining-related applications.

Maximum Equipment is a major player in the hammer market with top of the range brands such as Komac and Torpedo.

Maximum Equipment is a major player in the hammer market with top of the range brands such as Komac and Torpedo.

Attachment galore

Maximum Equipment also sells quick couplers and detachable drill rigs from Feel Engineering of Korea. In March 2015, it was also appointed dealer for Simex’s range of bucket crushers, while it has had the Daedong vibro-ripper range in its stable for two years now. The vibro-ripper range is a new concept to the local market, with Xcentric, represented by Komatsu, being one of the forerunners in this range of equipment. However, Ellis is upbeat about the prospects of growth for this technology. “Vibro-rippers are useful in applications where you can’t deploy a hammer, especially where the rock is powdery and too soft,” he says.

Despite striking the dealership of Hidromek excavators, Maximum Equipment has taken the decision to retain its rental business to offer clients the rent to purchase option. “Rental opens up the market for us because it allows customers to test machines before they decide to buy. It’s a useful marketing tool for us,” he says.

Riviera Hire is sending out most of its hired machines with crusher buckets.

Riviera Hire is sending out most of its hired machines with crusher buckets.

Diversifying product offering

Another plant hire company moving away from the traditional approach is Riviera Hire. Filippo Bevilacqua, owner of Riviera Hire, believes he has a different operating viewpoint that will set his plant hire company apart from the rest of the competition. He is continuously expanding but cautiously diversifying his product offering to further expand Riviera’s market reach.

Apart from its traditional earthmoving equipment hire business, Riviera Hire recently became a distributor of several attachments to extend its product offering. Last year it was appointed the authorised distributor of the entire Atlas Copco silent demolition range for the Gauteng, North West and Limpopo territories.

“We were initially looking at importing hammers, but everybody else is doing that in the local market. We also had strong interest in Atlas Copco and they eventually offered us the opportunity to distribute their entire silent demolition range including hammers, cutters, pulverisers, grapples and magnets,” says Bevilacqua.

“This gives us an opportunity to extend our product offering to the customer. I am mostly excited about Atlas Copco’s Essential hammer range, a very good product that competes with Korean imports, which are synonymous with this market. Our competitive edge is that Atlas Copco is an established brand with strong service backup and parts availability.”

Riviera Hire is a Gauteng, South Africa-based plant hire company

Riviera Hire is a Gauteng, South Africa-based plant hire company.

Hiring attachments

Riviera Hire has also been hiring out attachments on its earthmoving machines for many years, but recently took a decision to hire out attachments only. The sales side of the business is fairly new and Bevilacqua believes gives the company an opportunity to get things going by giving potential clients the opportunity to experience the products before they can commit to outright purchases.

“We are doing well with hammer hire. Obviously a hammer with an excavator is the typical combination but sometimes we send more machines out with the crusher buckets. To offer more value for the customer, we now have a new combination of a TLB with a hammer at the back and crusher bucket in the front. So, if you are breaking, for example, a concrete floor, you can also crush it using the same machine.”

Equipment Africa says: For plant hire companies, participating in various aspects of the equipment hire value chain means that when one of their business interests is under pressure, the other can keep the business afloat. It also makes life easier for the end user knowing that all the equipment needs for a particular project can be satisfied by one supplier, reducing headaches of having to deal with different suppliers for different equipment needs.

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