Ardent Hire Solutions – Passion, Pace, Performance
Ardent Hire Solutions, the UK’s premier equipment hire company, is recognised for its outstanding performance in terms of its customer and environmental focus but also for its social responsibility.
Ardent Hire Solutions, established with the merger of Fork Rent and One Call Hire in 2015, has come a long way – today the business trades from 11 depots nationwide and provides over 5,000 units for rent with an average age of fewer than two years and a fleet holding of approximately £200m.
Earlier this year, the company announced that it had won the RoSPA Gold Medal Award for achieving five Gold Awards in succession. This demonstrates Ardent’s long term commitment to improving safety through engagement, consultation and communication, training, leadership, risk management, innovation, and continuous improvement.
This commitment came with considerable investment – over the last four years, the company has implemented one of the largest investment programmes in the UK plant hire sector, worth over a quarter of a billion pounds, into fleet renewal and expansion, enhanced logistics, infrastructure, technology and innovations, resulting in being able to offer the most up-to-date and youngest fleets in the industry.
The company’s fleet includes a wide range of telehandlers, excavators, dumpers, rollers, rotating telescopic handlers and, just recently, powered access. One of Ardent’s competitive advantages is the use of data and telematics to help customers manage the productivity of their fleet.
“We have a whole range of telematics that are the best in the industry, that enable people to track safety and productivity on their hired-in fleet,” said CEO Jeremy Fish, pointing out that over the last few years, the company has intensified our focus on the digital proposition and now offers a complete digital customer experience, which has won Ardent several awards.
The company’s multi-award-winning Site Manager software enables customers to track the performance of their equipment on hire. This includes texts and email alerts that are notified directly to site managers with details of imminent events that could affect human life or cause permanent damage to equipment. The system has recently been extended to offer novel features and to have better control of a machine’s performance.
Towards Carbon Neutral
Another key topic – as in most sectors – has been sustainability, and the company actively promotes carbon offsetting, using technology to minimize emissions to customers. To this end, Ardent has teamed up with climate and sustainable development experts ClimateCare to offer a world-class carbon-offsetting programme for its customers.
“At Ardent, being fuel- and carbon-efficient is our number one environmental priority. We have invested heavily in a new transport fleet that meets the latest European emission standards and we are now working with several suppliers who share our vision of reducing our carbon footprint in every area of our organisation.”
The fleet has been expanded by electric- and hybrid-powered access platforms that are 100% carbon neutral. “With the hybrid plant, we are offsetting the emissions with carbon credits, so it will be 100% carbon-neutral for customers, including deliveries and collections.”
Ardent’s environmental efforts have been internationally recognised – last year, Ardent won the ‘Best Sustainability & CSR Award’ at the 2021 Hire Association of Europe (HAE) Awards for its carbon-offsetting initiative.
A People Business
Speaking about post-pandemic challenges, Jeremy pointed out that in addition to managing and containing the cost headwinds that everybody in the industry is suffering from, the biggest challenge has been finding capable people who want to come into the hire industry.
“I encourage young people to have a look at our industry because here people can get responsibility very early on, which is a fabulous opportunity for them to grow and develop their management skills,” says Jeremy Fish.
He explained that the company has numerous progression programmes in place as well as apprenticeship schemes, and most people are promoted within the business. Ardent has many examples of people who initially started as a yardman or a fitter and have progressed into senior positions, including the company’s Operations Director.
“One of the many reasons we are the UK’s premier hire company is our focus on our people,” affirms Jeremy, explaining that Ardent’s corporate values are Passion, Pace & Performance – all key to delivering world-class service. These values are ingrained across the business, from recruitment of colleagues to the servicing and delivery of our products, at all levels in our organisation, 24 hours a day.”
Productive and Cost-Effective
He reflected that with cost inflation, customers are finding their projects more costly and are looking at opportunities to save. “Customers need to know that rental prices are going up by double digits, but they can save money by using their machines more intelligently. This is where the data come in – customers need to start using data and to embrace data analysis in order to identify saving opportunities.”
“And this is where we can be useful – Ardent has a track record of helping customers to save considerable amounts by just using data to manage their equipment. Our approach to equipment hire provides customers with all the information they need to maximise productivity and reduce operating costs while improving safety at the same time.”
To this end, the company is planning to expand its digital offerings, in order to provide customers with greater transparency and information and is also set to invest in growing the fleet.
For the Greater Good
In a wider context, the company has been also active on a different front: actively responding to the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis, a team from Ardent Hire Solutions drove 3 vans across Europe to deliver over 250 boxes of essential supplies to Ukrainian refugees at the end of March.
Working in conjunction with Rotary International, Ardent’s convoy travelled to Kosice, in East Slovakia, where teams of volunteers from the town and the nearby Ukrainian border town of Uzhhorod, unloaded the vehicles and repacked the supplies into transit vans that were immediately destined for Kharkiv, one of the cities in eastern Ukraine that is under artillery attack from the Russians.
Jeremy Fish, who himself drove one of the vans, commented: “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to help in a very small way, however, we need to do more, much more. Ardent is committed to helping and promoting the need for more help in any way it can.”