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Parts & Service

JLG Service Aids in Kennards Hire Success

Case Studies - Jan 18

JLG Service Aids in Kennards Hire Success

JLG Industries, Inc.
World-leading access equipment manufacturer
____
McConnellsburg, PA

How does a mom-and-pop operation founded in 1948 morph into one of Australia’s leading equipment hire (rental) companies in 2014? According to Angus Kennard, assistant purchasing manager at Kennards Hire, you focus on what you’re good at.

For Kennards Hire, that means renting equipment to medium-sized contractors and professionals and outsourcing where you can deliver better outcomes and services to customers. In the process, you create raving fans. “

Most of our business is servicing the ‘man in the van,’ which is the tradesman or the contractor,” Kennard explains. “We do a bit of infrastructure and government work. But the majority of our work is in the construction industry.”

Headquartered in Sydney, New Wales, Australia, Kennards Hire was named “Rental Company of the Year” at the 2014 Hire & Rental Industry Association (HRIA) conference. The company operates nearly 150 stores or branches across Australia and New Zealand, a far cry from the original company that saw founder Walter Kennard delivering equipment in a small pick-up truck while his wife Theo took orders and kept the books. But the challenges the company faced then remain the same: providing customers with the equipment they need when they need it and servicing that equipment to ensure its reliability and job site efficiency.


Servicing equipment ensures satisfied customers

“Buying and sharing equipment is easier,” says Kennard. “But maintaining that equipment, supporting it, and servicing it – that is the most important part and the bigger challenge because we tend to hang onto a unit for about seven years. So ensuring we are getting a lot of use out of it is pretty important to our success and that of our customers.”

To meet those challenges head-on, Kennards Hire turns to JLG Industries, Inc. The manufacturer of aerial work platforms and telescopic material handlers supplies approximately 400 of the 700 units that comprise the Kennards fleet.

“We’ve been affiliated with JLG for about 20 years,” notes Kennard. “We’ve built a good partnership with them, calling on the people at JLG often and always getting a great level of service here in Australia.”

We've been affiliated with JLG for about 20 years. We've built a good partnership with them, calling on the people at JLG often and always getting a great level of service here in Australia.

Employees in Kennards Hire branches share this opinion. In fact, when asked to rank suppliers according to their focus on customer service, putting customer needs first, and exceeding customer expectations, employees selected JLG and recently presented the company with the “Every Customer Is a Raving Fan” award during its inaugural Suppliers Awards Night.

JLG has a service agreement with Kennards to perform all monthly and annual inspections of JLG equipment.

“JLG comes out and services our machines, supplying parts and labor,” says Kennard. “They also go out into the field and do repairs if that is necessary. Could we do the work ourselves? Yes, probably, but I guess we feel we offer our customers better service by having a full maintenance agreement with JLG. We also have confidence that if there are any issues with a machine, the manufacturer is the one taking them on. This frees us to focus on our hire business, which is where we excel. We are not an equipment repair business, so we outsource a large part of that work to suppliers like JLG.”

Training is also important to Kennard, and he tips his hat to JLG in that regard. “JLG comes out, and they make sure we are trained on new equipment – on the operation, the service and the machine applications. It’s always very good, very thorough training.”


Kennards Hire values responsive suppliers

JLG response rates, too, are impressive when Kennards Hire customers need equipment – even equipment that goes beyond JLG’s core product line of lift and access equipment. Kennard points to the company’s ability to supply light towers to two Kennards customers – Theiss and the John Holland Group. The two companies are part of a joint venture with Dragados to construct twin 9-mile tunnels and excavate new underground stations as part of the North West Rail Link. This $8.3 billion project is Australia’s largest public transportation infrastructure project. When completed, it will connect Sydney’s Rouse Hill suburbs to Epping via Castle Hill, with trains running every five minutes during peak periods.

According to Kennard, light bulbs in towers at the construction site were regularly burning out, causing Theiss to look for another supplier that would provide more reliable equipment. Kennards already had a few JLG lighting towers on-site that were performing well, so Theiss asked the rental company to supply an additional 50 JLG units to the site.

JLG responded within 24 hours, working around the clock to ensure delivery of its 6308AN Series II lighting towers and enabling work at the construction site to continue at night. Selected for their ruggedness and reliability, the towers feature 1,500-watt tilt head lights with a mast elevation of 26 feet and a 10-foot horizontal reach. A retractable draw-bar enables side-by-side loading on a transport tray, and light heads stow above the draw bar to protect the lights during transport and reduce travel height.

“The units are providing a critical service by increasing job site productivity and will most likely remain on-site throughout the project,” says Kennard. “I think it’s a great example of JLG going above and beyond to ensure we were able to deliver equipment to our customer.”


Innovation provides a competitive edge

Over the years, Kennard has also been impressed with JLG innovation.

“In this business, innovation is important because the market is so competitive,” he explains. “We are always looking for new and interesting products that will mean something to our customers. JLG has been ahead in some of their product offerings. And the updated design of their products appeals to our customers.”

In this business, innovation is important because the market is so competitive...JLG has been ahead in some of their product offerings. And the updated design of their products appeals to our customers.

As an example, Kennard points to the 340AJ articulating boom lift. With a lift height of 34 feet and a 20-foot up-and-over reach, the hardworking aerial work platform delivers industry-leading terrainability. A steel hood increases the boom’s durability and makes it the right choice for many of the contractors, facility managers, painters, and electrical contractors that Kennards Hire serves. Kennard is especially impressed with the boom’s compact footprint, which makes it easy to transport and maneuver in tight spaces. The fact that it can be used with non-marking tires is another plus, enabling its use in indoor applications.

Taking innovation one step further, JLG recently introduced the H340AJ, the world’s first four-wheel electric-drive hybrid boom. This new machine combines diesel fuel and an electric power system to provide the power and durability of a diesel-powered machine while saving operational costs. Electric power is stored in eight 6V batteries, each requiring less recharging time than lead acid batteries. The machine can run on all-electric power using four independent electric-drive motors and relies on an environmentally friendly, Tier 4 diesel-powered generator for recharging.

Kennard recognizes the importance innovation brings to his business. But what he values even more is the long-standing relationship between Kennards Hire and JLG.

“The partnership between our companies has worked well for 20 years. We regularly give them new opportunities to help us create raving fans with reliable products and outstanding customer service, and they provide us with access to their technical expertise and new products that we can take to market and see how they work.

“We are a family business that has been around for a long time and continues to grow. We’re always looking for opportunities to expand our business, and having a great partnership with JLG has been a key to our success.”

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