Former JLG president Craig Paylor, in his keynote address at the Europlatform conference last week, urged rental companies to exploit the full economic life of their machines and warned the industry that it had to be ready for some major challenges, including increased competition from Asia and rising price pressures on machines.
The conference on Sept. 16, in Madrid, Spain, attracted more than 145 delegates, the largest attendance in the history of the event. The conference is jointly organized by Access International and the International Powered Access Federation.
Paylor acknowledged that manufacturers had contributed to the problem by overproducing machines during the years preceding the recession. “We’ve got to get over the greed,” he said. “Manufacturers made too much and distribution bought too much.”
He argued that rental companies should resist underselling their machines and consider returning to a rental model where machines are kept for longer periods. “I guarantee that you will double your return if you keep it for parts and use it for your fleet. Don’t be in a hurry to run out and sell it.”
Carlos Fernández Araoz, chief operating officer of Spanish rental company GAM, urged rental companies to look outside their home markets and exploit opportunities in developing areas. “If you sit in your home market then you will not get out of the hole,” Araoz said. “You have to do more than just ‘hang in there’.”
Nick Mavrick, vice-president of marketing at Volvo Rents, argued that companies should target their marketing spend and customer service focus on the small percentage of customers who represent the vast majority of their business. "There is the idea that if you make an exception for one customer then you have to make an exception for all customers,” Mavrick said.
While the main theme of the conference was “Renting Smart: Efficient Fleet Management,” safety was also high on the agenda. Dr. Marco Einhaus, an access safety specialist at German safety body BG Metal, provided insight into some of the latest safety developments in Germany, and IPAF audit program manager Giles Councell presented the prototype smart PAL Card that can be set to allow only trained operators to use machines.
Murray Pollok, managing editor of Access International, gave a short report on the current rental market worldwide, in which he said that the consensus was that developed North American and European access rental markets would recover slowly, with significant investment to grow fleets unlikely before 2012.
The next Europlatform conference will be held Sept. 13, 2011 in Maastricht, the Netherlands. For more information, visit, www.europlatform.info.