This year Briggs Equipment will invest £9.5million in its dedicated hire fleet, reinforcing its position as the UK’s leading independent specialist in short term materials handling solutions.
Business growth in specific sectors is the chief driver for this ongoing programme of investment, which totals some £70million since 2010.
Increasingly, there is a general move towards shorter hires, and while Briggs has seen a drop in demand from manufacturers, business with third party hire companies remains buoyant and the logistics sector is growing. In particular, Briggs is supporting companies that operate airside at Heathrow, where strict regulations prohibit the use of equipment that is more than three years old.
Short term equipment hire is increasingly an option in the construction industry, where contractors appointed on new build schemes work to tight time constraints and are expected to co-ordinate their activities around several other firms, while event management is another growth area. In this industry, the trend is for a wider variety of smaller scale shows and exhibitions, and Briggs is especially busy between May and July, when football grounds play host to summer concerts.
Briggs Equipment’s National Rental Manager, Allan Parsons, says: “Given the economic uncertainties surrounding Brexit, some companies are wary of committing to business investment. Until they are more confident about what the future holds, they are choosing to rent equipment as and when they need it.
“With no termination clauses, hiring in quality equipment in good condition offers businesses a cost-effective way of improving productivity while also reducing their cost base. As a result, they are well-placed to take on projects, cope with seasonal upturns in demand and secure emergency breakdown cover.”
This latest investment will see Briggs add 480 machines to its core fleet of Hyster and Yale counterbalance forklifts and warehouse products, which range from electric, gas and diesel trucks, including the new XT model, to reach trucks and powered pallet trucks. Briggs also offers articulated machines from Combilift, including Aisle-Master VNA forklifts, side loaders and stackers and has capitalised on its strategic partnerships to double the size of its aerial access equipment portfolio. JCB’s new Access range is now available for hire alongside JLG scissor lifts, cherry pickers and Toucan boom lifts.
Since 2013 Briggs Equipment has been building its heavy truck capability and now competes with well-established providers serving the ports and terminals sector. The company’s fleet of Hyster reachstackers and empty container handlers stand at more than 20 machines, with terminal tractors and trailers due to come on stream during the next few months. The sector is a key growth market for Briggs, due in part to the increasing number of inland freight operators, which typically hire in equipment for up to six months to ensure they have the flexibility to cope with changing business patterns.
As well as investing in its dedicated equipment fleet, Briggs has created a business development team to proactively grow its share of the short term hire marketplace.