Loxam delivers safety message to Chinese rental market
30 October 2023
Paul Rankin, COO of Loxam Powered Access Division (PAD), told delegates at the International Rental Conference (IRC) in Shanghai, China, last week that safety and related innovations, along with an active ‘customer value’ approach, was how the company differentiated itself from others in the market.
With 70,000 units, Loxam PAD is the largest access equipment rental company in Europe and the fourth largest in the world, and has introduced a range of groundbreaking safety devices, notably through Nationwide Platforms, the UK wing of the group.
Rankin said the company had made major investments in safety. “We drive and change safety in the market. It is a major part of our value proposition.
“When adding value, you have to do something different - we have chosen safety as the differentiator.”
As a result, Nationwide, through its product innovation division BlueSky Solutions, has won major industry awards, including at the International Awards for Powered Access (IAPAs) for its most recent launch HarnessOn, which was introduced to the China market at IRC.
The device is designed to ensure the operator’s harness is always fixed to the basket through BlueSky’s newly updated Harness On, which incorporates a patented clip on device with an electrical current that connects the carabiner on a harness to the machine. Without it the machine will not work.
The company, which created the industry’s first secondary guarding system and is the first rental company to install telematics on its entire MEWP fleet, is making Harness On freely available for any company to use.
“Fall from height is the largest cause of accidents, so we developed a solution which we openly share with our competitors and OEMs with no Loxam branding.”
From a market perspective, the company’s safety offerings also play a major role in how it separates itself in light of rising inflation and other economic pressures in Europe. “If we only sold in price then we wouldn’t be here,” says Rankin.
“There is a huge inflationary situation. We are seeing all markets soften and cost of cash becoming expensive.”
Rather than reining in its services as a response to the weakening situation, Loxam PAD is extending them, partly through its offering of telematics across the fleet and actively providing customer value.
In Europe, there is a “Managed service approach”. For example, says Rankin, “We show our customers they do not need so many machines on-site through telematics. This grows customer trust.’
Loxam also adheres to the belief that less is more when it comes to telematics. While referring to the concept of ‘small data and big data’, Rankin comments, “Data is only as good as the management information you can take out if it.
“Keep it ‘stupid simple’ - that is what we provide with data. Don’t make things over complicated.”
Procurement practices have also changed in light of the new green energy era, and there is a push to reduce carbon emissions, rather reducing prices. “It’s not about price,” says Rankin, “Having two or three suppliers negotiating on price is gone. The driver is the product itself and how it introduces incremental profits.”
Such goals are not made easier by less than adequate facilities; for example the charging infrastructure in the UK, compared to China, for instance, where electricity is routinely installed on site before a project starts, meaning that nearly all rough terrain boom lifts sold in the country are now 100% electric powered.
In the UK, “It is much easier with smaller projects but on those like HS2 [the UK’s current high speed rail project], it’s a problem. Costs are high and charging is problematic and that is the hindrance on sites. The UK has an issue compared to others like the Nordics, where it’s much better evolved. But you need to have a goal.