Hewden makes big push on national accounts business

By Murray Pollok09 September 2009

Kevin Parkes, general manager of Hewden in the UK.

Kevin Parkes, general manager of Hewden in the UK.

Hewden is making a major push to grow its national accounts business in the UK with the aim of increasing it to 50% of the company's total turnover, up from the current 33-35% level.

Kevin Parkes, Hewden's general manager, speaking to IRN in an exclusive interview, said Hewden's national accounts team has been increased to 16 people from 9 at the beginning of the year and that a further 10 staff will be recruited.

"A company of our size should look towards over 50% coming from national accounts", he said, "Our business offer should sit well with our national accounts customers - the depot network, our accreditations, governance, financial stability; these should all appeal to national accounts."

Speaking to IRN just weeks after Hewden's owner, Finning, announced it was undertaking a strategic review of the rental division, Mr Parkes said Hewden's recent reorganization, under which previously separate product groupings like cranes, access and power had been consolidated, would also sit well with national accounts.

Mr Parkes acknowledged that in the recent past Hewden had not done enough to target these large customers. "They had gone missing from Hewden - they were not getting contacted enough. They told us, ‘We haven't seen you enough; you haven't been competitive enough; and not clear enough about the offering.'"

The reorganization of the business has coincided with a cost cutting exercise that has seen Hewden cut its workforce significantly and reduce its depot network from just over 100 locations to the current network of 78.

The Hewden business is now undergoing a strategic review by its parent company, Canadian-based Caterpillar dealer Finning. Mr Parkes pointed out that strategic reviews were not uncommon in the current business environment and that it was not affecting Hewden's business plans.

Read the full interview in the October issue of IRN.

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