Full suite of options gives hire company the edge

Remote monitoring with data-driven insights and a personalised approach is giving customers such as Australian Hammer Supplies Hire an edge when it comes to optimising machine productivity and efficiency.

After taking possession of its first Cat® machine 18 months ago, Australian Hammer Supplies Hire (AHSH) has rapidly expanded, now owning one of the largest Cat Next Gen Excavator fleets for hire in New South Wales.

The WesTrac customer, which provides earthmoving plant and equipment for hire, now has 17 Cat machines, most recently adding the new Next Gen 374 as well as two Next Gen 345 GCs. The company has grown its fleet with a new machine nearly every month since becoming a WesTrac customer in 2019.

But there is far more to owning a successful business than just buying new equipment. AHSH owner Mitchell Pennells uses a comprehensive range of WesTrac services to help keep his extensive fleet productive, including a combination of servicing, technology and expertise.

“They are the best,” Mitchell said of WesTrac.

“It’s the high-quality servicing, online support and also having a dedicated after-sales representative to look after your account.

“And the professionalism that comes with dealing with an OEM company like Caterpillar®.

“I definitely believe that in most cases, it is what happens after you buy the machines that is more important than the deal you strike with the salesman.”

Cat 374 Excavator

FitFleet and Cat technology makes equipment easy to manage

AHSH utilises the full suite of services, including WesTrac’s FitFleet® Premium agreements for all 17 Cat machines, connectivity solutions such as Cat Product Link™ which helps hiring equipment out, top tier premier warranty offerings and pro-active field servicing.

FitFleet is WesTrac’s ongoing support and maintenance solution that encompasses four service level agreements and access to an online portal providing data-driven insights into the overall health and utilisation of assets.

The Product Link solution includes a piece of hardware being attached to the machine which captures a broad range of production and usage data. Data is then sent wirelessly to the cloud to be accessed by operators and WesTrac service personnel using tools including VisionLink, My.Cat.Com and the FitFleet portal.

“I use all of WesTrac’s online services and all of my machines are Cat Product Link enabled so I can see utilisation, location, the health of each of the assets and when they are due for service,” Mitchell said.

With all this valuable information accessible from his phone, Mitchell is also able to track fuel consumption and even see the last time the machine was turned on.

“It also allows me to see the service reports and I have direct access from there to the Cat product and parts manuals,” he said.

“As a hire business owner, one of the biggest advantages is that I’m able to warn customers of any issues before they become large issues, such as if the machine is low on diesel. There are all sorts of alerts to warn me in advance. You can even run utilisation reports, including idling reports to make sure your customers are using the machines in the most effective way possible.

“I also use My.Cat.Com for billing as it helps me when I am charging the machines out to customers, whether that is on an hourly or daily rate.

“The information it provides allows me to allocate the right machine to the right customer at the right time, to make sure I am giving someone the most up-to-date equipment I have. Being able to choose the right one for the right customer is definitely a benefit.”

Utilising FitFleet also saves time for AHSH because WesTrac’s asset health experts are doing the work, analysing and interpreting data about the machinery to enable Mitchell to concentrate on other areas of his business.

Managing fuel is also high on the priority list which is one of the main reasons Mitchell prefers Cat gear. In addition to having fuel efficient machines, he has also been able to take advantage of the Cat Fuel Edge Program, which guarantees efficiency and gives him a parts credit back in the unlikely event his equipment burns more than a set threshold.

Personalised approach and proactive servicing make all the difference

For Mitchell, the personalised approach with a dedicated sales representative - WesTrac’s Product Support Representative Kimberley Petkovic - supporting his business is a huge advantage.

“Kimberley is fantastic, she knows our equipment as well as we do,” he said. “We are probably in touch with her daily.”

An additional advantage is that expertly trained service technicians can assist Mitchell with easy-to-access field servicing throughout New South Wales.

“There are WesTrac branches throughout NSW, so we are able to organise servicing no matter where our equipment is,” Mitchell said.

“This is very helpful for me as my gear goes wherever the work is.”

Kimberley says in addition to the FitFleet agreement, WesTrac provides undercarriage inspections for all of Mitchell’s equipment every six months, to ensure they are in good working order.

“These pro-active inspections give Mitchell an indication before components need replacing so he can prepare and plan accordingly,” she said.

“If a machine is out on a job and Mitchell knows the undercarriage needs replacing at a certain time, he can work his business around this to make sure the machine is available. It allows him to plan ahead with his machines and limit the amount of time they are out of action.”

Kimberley said having the biggest field service team in NSW meant one of WesTrac’s expert technicians could get out to Mitchell’s machines at the drop of a hat.

“FitFleet is a cost-effective solution for customers. It can be set up so customers are charged per hour when their machines are operating so they don’t get a large, one-off bill after each service.”

She added that the ease of access to information was also a huge help for clients like AHSH, saving on costs, downtime and making it easier to keep them up-to-date.

WesTrac Sales Representative Roberto Manna said Mitchell was a great example of a customer who utilised an extensive range of WesTrac offerings and was reaping the rewards.

“These services help to provide peace-of-mind for the customer, improving efficiency and making things more convenient,” Roberto said.

“We are able to monitor Mitchell’s entire fleet so we can contact him when his machines are due for a service – he doesn’t have to worry about booking in for services which makes life a lot easier for him.

“He knows what each machine is going to cost him per hour for servicing, so he factors that into his rental prices and also his finance costs for the machine.

“At the end of the day, he has a full-service history with us and that makes the machine more valuable for resale purposes.”


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