Riwal – Rising to New Heights
Riwal, a leading specialist in the rental and sales of access equipment, supports its growing customer base with an all-around first-class hire service – The Riwal Way.
Riwal Holding Group B.V., operating through its subsidiaries, leads the way in the rental and sale of aerial work platforms, telehandlers and forklift trucks. The Riwal rental fleet includes scissor lifts, telehandlers, articulating boom lifts, telescopic boom lifts and spider lifts from leading manufacturers such as JLG, Genie, Skyjack, Haulotte, Manitou and more. The company also acts as a dealer for leading equipment manufacturers, performs third-party maintenance for its clients and has IPAF training facilities in most countries.
Riwal, with its 1400 employees and the current fleet of over 20,000 units, is not a newcomer to the access equipment market – the business started in the late 1960s as the Netherlands-based division of British crane rental firm Richards & Wallington. Almost two decades later the firm added aerial work platforms to its portfolio under the name Riwal, an abbreviation of Richards & Wallington.
Following its growth in the Netherlands, the company ventured beyond the domestic market in the early 2000s. Since then, Riwal has grown into an international operator, with a presence in 15 countries across Europe, the Middle East as well as India and Kazakhstan. In most of these countries, the company is one of the top three players in the sector.
The Riwal Way
Riwal has consciously chosen to specialise in one very specific area – ‘powered access equipment’. This tight specialisation, making for an exceptional customer experience, is one of the group’s competitive advantages.
“The customer-centric approach is supported by our unique model reflecting the company culture called the ‘Riwal Way’,” explains the group’s CEO Pedro Torres, who has been leading the group’s efforts towards higher efficiency and increased international presence over the last three years. An experienced senior professional in the international rental industry, Mr Torres joined Riwal as Regional Director for Southern Europe in 2012 and was later promoted to COO before becoming CEO in 2019.
He explains that the process of transformation is aimed at improving work methods, fully reflecting customers’ requirements and expectations. “We took all processes apart, analysed them carefully and put them back together in a consistent manner in all countries.”
“In each country and each subsidiary, we appointed champions to share the group’s best practices, improve daily operations and follow processes through the Riwal Way, ensuring consistency based on common measures and performance improvement targets. The benefits have been remarkable. This uniform approach allows us to have the best practices implemented in all countries, creating maximum efficiency and customer focus.”
“The Riwal Way has truly become part of the company DNA – it has improved communication between the teams across the countries, enabled sharing of the best practice, and helped improve processes through the entire group,” says Mr Torres.
The Riwal Way is not the only system that has significantly contributed to improving the group’s internal and external performance. Mr Torres explains that Riwal has invested heavily in digitisation and has recently introduced an ERP system that should further promote customer relations and provide better solutions.
“Right now, we are completing the rollout of a single ERP system in all 15 countries. This has proven to be a massive benefit for the group, as we now have all the information related to both business performance and external market conditions covered under a single system.”
“This common ERP system and a high degree of automation are the basis for our Digital Strategy. We aim to digitise all processes, thus creating efficiency and customer value. A typical example is our My Riwal customer portal and app. This smart and easy-to-use tool makes customer interaction very efficient and effective and creates huge benefits for our clients.”
The use of My Riwal is growing rapidly among the company’s customers. The tool provides support throughout the rental process and allows for digital interactions (ordering, invoicing, machine tracking, documentation, project support, etc.). Also, machine data is presented, showing CO2 footprint, usage, fuel consumption etc. “We actively liaise with our clients to make sure that we keep developing My Riwal in line with evolving customer demands.”
“The most recent tool we offer is BIM (Business Information Modelling), to simulate projects with a unique 4D tool. This enables optimal use of AWPs both during construction as well as during the maintenance lifespan of a building. Such tools can save huge costs for our customers.”
These digital efforts have brought the company international recognition – in 2021, Riwal was named the winner of the Digital Development Award at the 2021 International Awards for Powered Access (IAPA) for its full range of digital developments – My Riwal, BIM, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Training. And it has not stopped at that; the company is now working on an e-commerce solution to further enhance its customers’ experience, says Mr Torres.
Needless to say, Riwal’s current improvement efforts go hand in hand with its sustainability principles, aligned with the United Nations’ sustainability goals and the creation of a 2030 sustainability roadmap.
“Sustainability has been defined as one of the pillars of future growth. We have rolled out a programme in all countries to follow the UN sustainability goals. These include, for example, focus on staff health and wellbeing, improving the employee knowledge base, improving energy use and efficiency, and supporting employee diversity.”
“We offer unique electric solutions for a variety of electric machine types, whilst providing alternative fuel for our diesel machines, such as GTL or HVO biofuel,” continues Mr Torres, adding that in 2022 Riwal reached the Silver Level within the EcoVadis rating, and is aiming to reach the Platinum Level by 2025 across all subsidiaries.
Again, the group’s efforts in the sustainability arena have not gone unnoticed – working in line with its Lifting Sustainability strategy, Riwal was declared the Winner of the Sustainability Award during the IAPA summit in 2022, certifying its position as a sustainable leader in the international rental business.
Investing in growth
Despite current market uncertainties, further investment to grow the fleet as well as to improve market share is definitely in the pipeline, affirms Mr Torres, moving the company further up to the top of the sector in selected countries.
“We are not planning to enter new countries at the moment, but to focus on boosting the position where we are today as there is a clear potential for specialists like ourselves in several European countries.”
“Outside Europe, all eyes are on our subsidiary Manlift India, where growth over the next decade is expected to be massive. Manlift is a leader in the Indian access equipment rental sector and our recently introduced digital systems, which enable very strong business control of countries with different cultures, are set to further boost Riwal’s position.”