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Australia’s largest equipment hire company talks about customer needs

3 Sep 2014, by Informa Insights

Australia’s largest equipment hire company – Coates Hire – has been in the industry for more than 126 years.

Rafi Tchopourian
Rafi Tchopourian, Group Manager of Specialist Business, Coates Hire

As the Number One Ticket Holder at the CCF National Conference, taking place from 22nd and 25th October in Adelaide, Rafi Tchopourian, Group Manager of Specialist Business from Coates Hire joins us to talk about the changing landscape of equipment hire, the focus on fulfilling customers’ needs and what the future holds.

What have been the biggest changes in equipment hire?

Rafi: The equipment hire offer has been evolving to more of a solution based approach, particularly in the specialist area. Customers are looking for a total turn-key solution in specific product categories.

For instance, in the new hydraulic shoring space a customer may have an excavation for a multi-storey apartment block with a basement car park in contaminated soil or with high acidic water in the ground. What they want from us is a turn-key solution that solves their soil retention and water management problems, evaluates their shoring needs and then has it all engineered, designed, certified and signed off.

So for the customers it’s about solutions? 

Rafi: Absolutely. Once a customer might have given us a purchase order for the equipment, and then commissioned a consulting engineer to do the design work and a hydraulics engineer to manage water issues. They are now saying we will give you the one purchase order; how you guys manage it is up to you but give us a total solution.

In my team I have seven structural engineers working with engineers from all the major civil & construction companies through to small construction companies and also with external consulting engineers. The awareness of our product offering and expertise has seen demand for our specialist solutions spike dramatically.

How has product innovation sped up equipment advancements and how has this impacted on Coates Hire and its customer base?

Rafi: Part of my job involves international travel to both study and be exposed to the latest products relevant to our markets through trade shows and major rental companies in Europe and the United States.

This insight allows us to introduce new products, services and innovations into the rental space for our customers.

Being able to now provide total solutions via a suite of new products supported by our technical offering has opened up all sorts of new market areas for us and consolidated existing relationships.

Coates Hire is Australia’s largest traffic management supply company?

Rafi: Yes we have a number of specialty products that make the roads safer. For instance, we work with the Roads and Maritime Service to reduce the Christmas-New Year holiday risks on the major arterials such as the Pacific Highway.

Our JamLogic Traffic Control System provides smart tracking technology on message boards so if there is an incident ahead or traffic building up we can use automatic sensors that alerts traffic to slow down or prepare to stop. We can also use this technology for truck height clearance warnings on bridges and alerting drivers to changed road conditions. And our Travel Time technology delivers estimated travel times to holiday drivers.

In addition to our ubiquitous concrete road barriers we now also market the BarrierGuard 800 system. These steel guards are lightweight, quick to assemble and offer a very high degree of safety to both road workers and drivers.

CoatesHireAnd what is the future for Coates Hire?

Rafi: We will continue to develop this specialist offering at Coates Hire, introducing new ground-breaking products and, just as importantly, understanding what our customers require and how we can bundle up total solutions.

Our aim is to add significant value to our customers by offering innovation with differentiated investment in equipment relevant to customers across a variety of applications and markets. Alongside investment in products that will see increased efficiencies within industry, we are continuing to invest heavily in our core product ranges which provides equipment for the small business, mid-construction company right up to the super major mining oil and gas industries.

Rafi has been in the Hire industry for more than 23 years. He has extensive overseas experience and has travelled throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Europe visiting key specialist rental companies including Ground Force, Speedy Hire, Boels, Mabey Hire, United Rental, National Trench Safety, Speed Shore and HSS Hire. 

As Group Manager Specialist Business, Rafi manages a team of dedicated product experts and engineers, whose goals are to deliver innovative solutions to the broader market within the specialist shoring, water treatment and management, civil and traffic management markets.

Meet Rafi in person at the CCF National Conference this October in Adelaide, and join hundreds of industry professionals from civil contractors background for four days of knowledge sharing and networking!

For details of the conference agenda and to register, please visit the CCF National Conference website.

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