Organised by the Hire Association Europe and Event Hire Association (HAE EHA), the Hire Convention returned to Loughborough’s Holywell Park on 21st – 22nd September, for its third outing. Boasting an impressive conference programme, with highly auspicious speakers from across the sector and leading players exhibiting, delegates were able to learn from, network and engage with many of the hire industry’s key players. Feedback, post-event has been incredibly positive from all those involved.
The Convention began with an insightful presentation from Pierre Boels Jr., CEO of Netherlands-headquartered rental company Boels Rental, where he outlined the company’s plans to expand with the opening of 25 greenfield sites in 2017, 24 of which would be located outside of its domestic market. He also stated that within five years, 75% of Boels Rental’s total revenues will be generated outside the Netherlands.
Commenting on his visit to the Hire Convention Pierre Boels Jr., CEO of Netherlands-headquartered rental company Boels Rental said: “My last visit to the HAE Hire Convention was over ten years ago, in Edinburgh. It felt good to see all those enthusiastic people from the hire industry again. I should have done this much sooner. The topics that were discussed, and the way they were approached by the Hire Association Europe, are very interesting. Sometimes the topics were UK-related, but mostly they concerned matters that keep us occupied a great deal here on the continent as well.”
The training and development of young people within the hire sector is a key focus for HAE EHA and played a major part in the Convention’s programme. A team from Bristol University brought along the virtual reality technology that has been developed, in association with HAE EHA. The virtual reality on display was dedicated to Working at Height training; delegates were able to test their knowledge with some simple tasks such as applying the caster-wheels footbrake to the working platform before attempting to climb the ladder.
HAE EHA are looking for suppliers to get involved with the development in terms of sponsorship, developing further training and promoting the technology to the hire industry. This could include having supplier products featured as part of the animation.
Graham Arundell, managing director of HAE EHA said: “This was the perfect opportunity for the industry to get involved with VR technology and experience how it can be utilised in the hire industry. Initiatives like this undoubtedly help the sector relate and attract the younger generation to take hire seriously and consider making their careers within it.”
This sentiment was reiterated in the afternoon sessions delivered on Day 1 of the Convention. James Sutton from Raleigh International, addressed the youth deficit and skills gap, explaining that millennials leave jobs if they’re not properly engaged and want to work for responsible organisations. Whilst Sat Dhaiwal from A-Plant, gave an honest and frank account of his development from apprentice to CEO, proving that if companies find the right people and work hard to develop them, the long-term benefits to businesses are immeasurable.
The first session of the second day of the Convention saw Stephen Dance, head of infrastructure delivery at HM Treasury, take to the floor, to discuss the national infrastructure plan and the £480 billion of public and private investment it represents. His speech included an overview of the way in which hire companies are an integral part of the UK’s long term economic strategy. However, he also admitted to the difficulties that sub-contractors can have in obtaining any involvement with these major projects.
Other highlights on Day 2 included a fascinating talk from Kevin Howells of Datatag about the Micro-CESAR scheme and the fantastic ability that hire companies now have to protect their equipment from theft. This was further supported by hugely engaging sessions delivered by Ian Elliott from Clancy Docwra and DC Julian Crabb from the Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit. These sessions highlighted the massive issue of plant theft and also how, once again, the UK is leading the field in combatting this problem.
Commenting on the content at this year’s Hire Convention, Graham Arundell, HAE EHA’s managing director said: “The calibre of speakers and presentations at this year’s Convention was exceptional and undoubtedly a step up from 2015. Our objectives were clear from the outset; to focus on our key initiatives and outline how the hire industry can be smarter, safer and stronger by working together. I believe we’ve set a standard for content at hire industry events that will be hard to beat. The challenge for myself and the rest of the team now is to build on that success and to shape an even better programme for 2017.”
Alongside the main conference programme there was also a number of workshops looking at everything from, marketing your business and raising your profile online and an exhibiting masterclass, to how to get involved in a mystery shopper programme and find out how your sales team are performing.
Linda Betts, sales director for Snorkell UK, presented the Mystery Shopper workshop as well as being a first time exhibitor at the Hire Convention 2016, said: “Thanks for a great couple of days in Loughborough this week, in truth I didn’t really know much about HAE until we were asked to present. Your marketing and organisation was really impressive, we’ve picked up some great leads and already talking to people.”
Exhibitor Paul Keubler of Premier Plant Limited was also impressed by the Convention adding: “I would like to thank you and your team for a fantastic event. Hearing Pierre Boels telling his story was hugely stimulating, I am determined to aim for the American market and listening to Pierre has convinced me. The VR demonstration appealed to three aspects of my personality: the kid in me had a great time playing around with and on the tower; the marketeer in me sees the enormous potential of attracting a lot of attention and the businessman in me sees the competitive advantage of offering product that comes with an ‘easy to grasp’ training module. Once again, thank you very much for laying on an event that was truly inspirational.”
Sat Dhaiwal, CEO of A-Plant commented “The Hire Convention provided an ideal opportunity to meet with suppliers and catch up with some key contacts over the two days. Being able to see lots of new products under one roof was also a bonus. For me, the conference was well organised and I was particularly pleased with the promotion of hire as a career which benefits anyone working or thinking of working in hire.”
Feedback from delegates was also encouraging. Mike Whitehouse, managing director of leading temporary event power provider Power Logistics commented: “I was genuinely impressed with the quality of people who attended this year’s Hire Convention and the networking opportunities that it provided. They were high level decision makers, some of whom I hadn’t seen for a couple of years, it sparked quality conversations and I already have a couple of projects moving forward as a result. It’s a great event and I’d like to see more production people at the Convention in the years to come.”
The Hire Convention will return to Holywell Park in 2017.