Dawsongroup is mainly recognised as a truck and trailer rental business, but since the 1970’s it has steadily grown into supplying assets across the entire supply chain. Today they operate across Europe and their activities including the manufacturer of temperature control solutions and inflatable structures.
Last year the group had a record turnover of £236 million and the growth has continued into 2019. This success is based on a trend they are experiencing in an increased demand for rented assets.
The assets they specialise in covers; trucks and trailers, light commercial vehicles, buses and coaches, material handling, sweepers, municipal vehicles, temporary buildings including warehousing, cross docks, production facilities, cleanrooms, humidity control, ATEX rooms, automotive test chambers, kitchens and inflatable structures for industrial, events and military structures featuring aircraft hangers and inflatable 360 degree cinemas. They also specialise in temperature control solutions of all scales from buildings, warehouses, cold stores, inflatable coldstores, warm rooms, blast freezers, annexe structures, internal cold rooms, tempering and grow rooms.
Every product can be rented, contract hired or purchased and financed by Dawsongroup’s own finance business.
So with such a diverse portfolio of assets across the supply chain, their view on how the industry is currently utilising rental cannot be ignored.
Asked about how businesses are securing assets currently Steve Callahan the Group Sales Director said, “We are seeing engagement from businesses who are realising the value of rental, especially when facing an uncertain economic future as we are right now. Businesses want to release the value in their existing assets back into business capital improving their cash position, whilst replacing some of their current assets with rented solutions. We always advise as part of our consultation that renting or contract hire is perfect for decisions you need to make today but don’t have to live with tomorrow. Internally we call it the usership vs ownership strategy, really the question businesses should ask themselves, do they really want to own it, or just use it?”.
So I asked him what advice would you give businesses that are considering expanding their commitment to rental?
“Well the advantages can also be in the support you get for a given asset, take a truck, for instance, when renting it we usually fully maintain that asset and deal with its compliance. Asset downtime is the major disruption in the supply chain, so knowing that our trucks have our in-house 24/7 support is important. If we can’t fix it quickly we will replace it like for like. For us to deliver that service we need to be local, which we always are with over 40 locations in the UK alone. Customers also want to know whom they are dealing with, and we are very much a face to face business. All of our assets are backed up with that level of support, that is really where our success is generated”
I asked in that case, would you recommend a business rents all of its assets with these advantages?
“How businesses procure and churn their assets is all about managing risk, so it is not just about rental! I always advise that it is driven by your customers, for example, assets you use to provide a service to a client whom you know you will still be working with in 3 years, then contract hire or finance might prove more profitable at an acceptable level of risk.
Financial advice is something we also provide, in fact on the finance side we will fund anything that is not bricks and mortar, we have financed assets as diverse as fishing boats and their nets. Because we run so many assets our consultation includes the lifecycle of any asset, how long to keep it when to sell it how and when to replace it. Most asset portfolios require a blend of funding solutions, we are here to advise with the options for getting that right”.
I ask is it just an uncertain future that makes rental, right for now? “Well I think the other element that is driving it is the current technology revolution; automation, alternative fuels, inflatable structures, tighter ultra-low emission zones and refrigeration compliance means companies want to ‘try before they hire’. Investing in new technology is also about risk management and ‘usership’, enables proof of concept with any new technology, for example, alternative fuelled assets like a compressed natural gas truck or even inflatable cold stores”.
How would you advise businesses to plan for the future? “Assess the risk in your business and consider how alternative funding of assets could make your business more agile. Just because your customer is demanding more from you, it does not mean you have to compromise your business capital to deliver the service they are seeking. If an asset is being utilised then it is earning, if it is inactive it is costing, rental should be considered as an option in every procurement”.