Well-established tool and plant hire provider Speedy has taken large steps to return to growth and a major reinvigoration programme is now in place to ensure future success
A speedy success

Well-established tool and plant hire provider Speedy has taken large steps to return to growth and a major reinvigoration programme is now in place to ensure future success

Last featured in Construction and Civil Engineering in October 2014, Speedy has had a significant five months as it undergoes a phase of reinvigoration. CEO, Mark Rogerson, has now completed his first full financial year at the head of the company and is pleased to have returned growth to the business for the first time in four years. In the last feature Mark highlighted his goal for the company: “The real prize is to truly optimise Speedy as a business engine, whether that is our own back office processing, our logistics capability or the way that we manage and optimise our assets. That is the first journey for us, and one that we are already progressing with.” From speaking to him five months on it is clear that this is still very much the drive behind Speedy at the moment and one that is clearly starting to have an effect.

One significant achievement that puts Speedy on a strong course towards achieving this goal is the improved, streamlined infrastructure network within the business. “We have completed the strategic reprofiling of our network ahead of schedule,” highlights Mark. “We have created a 160,000 square foot National Distribution Centre in the Midlands, which will be the heart of our business operations. We now have in our network eight regionalised engineering centres, and 38 very modern, regionalised Superstores across the UK.” The distribution centre is well placed to Speedy Issue 115 bserve the engineering centres, which in turn are able to feed the superstores. The Superstores are placed such that individual coverage areas overlap each other ensuring no part of the UK is untouched by Speedy’s services. Mark continues: “In our express network we have over 150 express depots. These have now been aligned to an individual Superstore so they have a network of support rather than operating autonomously, so the network has come on massively.”

The implementation of this improved network has been a crucial part of breathing new life into the company Mark took over in early 2014. “Effectively Speedy is not a hire company. Hire for me is an outcome of what we do. We are an asset management company, and unless we have the DNA and the infrastructure to manage assets and optimise our asset management effectively, we will not be successful. Therefore, our new network gives us the space and the ergonomics to much more effectively manage and distribute our asset base,” he notes. “What I adopted was an asset portfolio which was 20 years in the making, and, as such, some of that holding was redundant to need. We were holding too much of the wrong equipment and not enough of the right equipment, so we are now going through a period of rebalancing that. It is also about making sure each of our depots have the stock they actually need to service its individual customer demand.”

Other significant developments since the last feature include resolving the issues in Speedy’s Middle East business. However, Mark outlines the possibility of selling off the remaining Oil & Gas business as it is too far removed from the UK business both in terms of location and strategy. Central to the company’s commitment to improving health and safety, Mark was pleased to exclusively announce that: “We have achieved for the first time in Speedy’s history a full quarter without any major reported incidents, which is fantastic news. It is down to a lot of hard work in leadership safety days, behavioural safety training and major campaigns across the company.” In addition, a new IT system for managing the company’s assets in much finer detail has been implemented and is maturing to help streamline the business operations.

Following on from these developments, Speedy is now embarking on a journey to improve three core areas within the business. “These are our asset utilisation and availability, our engineering productivity (how fast we return our assets back into the system), and optimising our logistics network, so this is what we are focusing on now,” explains Mark.

It is clear that Speedy is taking sure steps towards reinvigorating its business, and there are three factors that Mark believes is driving this. “Firstly, the enhanced relationships I believe we now have with our strategic account customers – the feedback I am getting about our service and quality improvements is outstanding, and we are seeing the impact of that through the growth of these accounts,” he outlines. “The second manifestation of reinvigoration is around our brand. The new network of properties we have created is such a transformational event that it really demonstrates a dramatic improvement. Thirdly, a lot of energy and invigoration has come from the people, in that we have attracted a really great, diverse range of business leaders both from inside and outside of the industry. We’ve got people in from Hyder Consulting, G4S, BAE Systems and Hilti – all of them bringing a very different methodology about how to create a world-class organisation.”

Achieving growth for the first time in four years is a significant milestone for Speedy and it has been predominantly down to a focused commitment on the higher end of the business’s client base.Speedy Issue 115 c “Where we are seeing growth is in our strategic and major customer relationships. We are seeing our customers in this area increasing their trade with us, and we have significant market share in this sector,” says Mark. “This is because we are able to provide an end-toend service for our customers, not just through hire, but with things like fuel management training, and also our strong safety record and culture.” Mark highlights that the major strengths of the business come from a concept he brought in to the company referred to as CQI, customer thinking, quality and innovation. “It is about thinking all the time about what the customer wants and how they feel, ensuring the customer gets the quality of service and of product, and constantly pushing the edge of innovation to enable customers to deliver in some of the most complex and difficult infrastructure environments.”

Mark sees innovation as a key strength to maintaining successful growth in the industry: “It is at the heart of everything we do, particularly surrounding innovations in technology application and safety products. In October this year we will be running and hosting the largest private plant, tools and equipment innovation exhibition in Europe at the Telford International Convention Centre. We’ll have hundreds of manufacturers and service providers to our industry coming and showing the latest innovations of their equipment and technology to our people and customers.” The company’s new National Distribution Centre in Tamworth is also equipped with an innovation area, used to display and demonstrate innovations and has been very well received by customers.

Despite recent success the company remains keenly aware that it has a long way to go to get to where it wants. One specific challenge that Mark is committed to turning into an opportunity is the lower end of its customer base. “At this end the maturity of our marketing capability is not as optimised as it needs to be to connect, focus on, attract and retain the local end of the market,” he emphasises. “We have got to transform the business to address that. For me this is really going to be about whether we have got the right Express stores in the right place, whether we have got the right e-commerce connectivity and the right offerings at the local level without disturbing the support network for our strategic and major customers.”

This is one of the key things Speedy will be focusing on as it enters into the new financial year. Alongside is a focus on continuing to grow core hire revenues with strategic customers and leveraging those relationships, as well as improving asset utilisation, logistics and costs within the business to serve customers. Looking further ahead Mark is focused on the successful growth of the company: “I have said all along that my goal is to build a business that offers our shareholders sustainable profit growth over the medium to long term. To do this we need to ensure that we maximise our opportunity to offer and provide to our customer greater levels of service in other areas, and really build on the opportunity we have with our strategic customers to be seen and recognised as a true excellence based services company.”

In summing up the general attitude at Speedy at the moment, Mark concludes: “We have had a good year, but a very hard year as well. A lot of us are new here and a lot of challenges were a lot deeper than I expected them to be. However, we have come out stronger, and are looking forward to the future.”

Speedy Services

Services: The UK’s largest tools equipment and plant hire provider