Ardent Hire Solutions – Outside of the Box
Ardent Hire is the UK’s premier plant provider with a fleet of 5,000 machines covering the full gamut of sizes and capabilities. This includes telehandlers from 6 to 20 metres, excavators from 1.5 tons to 23 tons, dumpers from 3 tons to 9 tons, rollers from 80cm right up to 19 tons and rotating telescopic handlers from 21 to 32 metres. We learn how innovation is powering one of the UK’s leading plant providers.
This self-driving business has a national footprint of 11 depots and approximately 280 people working for it. In the last 18 months, it has established a name for itself as a real innovator in the field.
“At the end of the day we believe in doing things differently,” says Jeremy Fish, Ardent Hire’s CEO. “We think outside the box, challenge the status quo in everything we do. When everyone goes left we’ll go right, when everyone goes up we go down, everyone goes black we go white. We’re a disruptor.”
Making innovation a strong part of a company’s cultural identity is always a challenge, because how can you turn that lightning in a bottle into a regular fixture of the business? For Fish, the solution is simply about giving his people the freedom and opportunity they need.
“We empower people,” Fish says. “One of our philosophies is that if you work for Ardent you share our three objectives. We’re obsessed with creating raging fans from our customers. We’re obsessed with our employees being ambassadors for the brand, and we’re obsessed with making our brand a religion. Everything we do is about empowering people to be the best they can be. Helping people reach their full potential with growth and personal development.”
With Fish, it all comes down to passion- passion for customers, for colleagues and for safety.
Another essential value is pace. Ardent believe in getting things done quickly as a service-orientated business. It celebrates performance, achieving results collectively as a team.
Ahead of the Curve
These are values that the market has been responding to, and Ardent Hire has had to step up to meet growing demand.
“Certainly since the end of Covid we’ve seen an acceleration in demand for our services. Some of that is bounce-back, the rest I put down to our innovation and the different approach we bring with outstanding customer service,” Fish tells us. “Our biggest challenge is growing our fleet in line with demand. The other challenge is obviously being able to recruit the best people in the industry. We have very high standards. We train people and we’ve got several initiatives but the challenge is getting the very best people in the industry to help us grow the business”
To do this, Fish makes it clear the company doesn’t just have to ensure it can meet its clients’ current needs, it needs to be ready to meet the needs they don’t have yet.
“There are no shortcuts. We try to invest ahead of the curve,” Fish says. “We’ve just placed an order for £26 million in handlers from JCB, and there is more equipment that we’ll be ordering over the course of the year to stay one step ahead.”
When it comes to finding talent, Ardent Hire isn’t cutting any corners either. The company doesn’t simply put out an advert when an opening appears, it nurtures relationships with potential hires over the long term.
“A lot of it is done by word-of-mouth and personal recommendation. We establish relationships with people in advance and invariably have a queue of people who want to join up,” Fish tells us. “We try to always have a healthy substitutions bench, but first and foremost we employ for the right attitude. We want people who haven’t changed jobs frequently, with a sense of loyalty. That’s what we want in the people we create relationships with. We’re also members of the five percent club, an undertaking to commit to 5% of our workforce consisting of young people and graduates so we can bring them through the ranks and develop them in their careers.”
Offsetting for the Future
As well as preparing for future growth, and investing in future talent, Ardent Hire Solutions is also a company that always has one eye on the future of the planet.
“We are the first hire company to offer a carbon offsetting service,” Fish points out. “Electric machines are still dramatically underpowered and largely confined to smaller machine categories. There’s a lot of greenwashing where providers buy an electric machine where in reality it has limited impact.”
This is why Ardent Hire has teamed up with a company called Climate Care to offer a not-for-profit service allowing customers to offset their carbon emissions to achieve carbon neutrality.
“The costs and methodology are open and transparent. Typically we charge customers between £1 and £4.50 a week, and that’s used to buy carbon credits with Climate Care,” Fish says. “All these projects are administered under gold standard accreditation under the international carbon reduction offset alliance. The system we have in place means customers can see the carbon charges in their invoice and we have a digital portal where customers can download their carbon certificates.”
This will help build a more secure future for everyone, and Ardent Hire Solutions has big plans for its place in that future. Once again, the key is innovation.
Indeed, Ardent Hire has just launched a Site Manager Assistant, an intelligent tool that enables customers to prioritise those aspects of their business where they can make the most impact. By tracking 20 or more telematics data points the Site Manager Assistant can identity the 20% of the alerts behind 80% of the issues.
“Our plan is to continue the growth of the business on its current trajectory, continue to grow our fleet and operated hire business,” Fish tells us. “We expect to grow that and continue investing in our technology. Our technology helps customers increase their productivity and safety on their sites. Because it’s data-driven, we can show customers through data the improvements they’re making to each category. We allow customers to compare themselves against our customer base so they can see how their peers are doing.”