Hewden outlines major restructure

06 May 2008

Major restructuring is underway at Hewden Stuart, the UK's second largest crane rental house and Europe's largest equipment rental company. Included will be the integration of Hewden's six subsidiary companies; a move towards a hub and spoke depot network; and the disposal of ‘consumer’ type rental products.

Restructuring the subsidiaries means the six specialist product companies-covering cranes, plant hire, powered access, portable accommodation, tool hire and power-will become divisions of a single company.

“We are going to collapse the current separate companies and make it more of a divisional philosophy rather than a separate company philosophy”, said Nick Lloyd, Hewden managing director, in an exclusive interview with IC sister magazine, European Rental News. “We will maintain the focus on expertise that products require… [but] we don't see any advantage for customers in having separate companies,” Lloyd continued. The reorganisation is expected to complete in the first quarter 2005.

The restructure is part of efforts to “reduce costs and re-align its service delivery channel”, said Hewden's owner, Canadian Caterpillar dealer Finning International. This will also see Hewden working more closely with sister companies in the UK, Finning Materials Handling and Finning UK, the Caterpillar dealership.

Finning said the initiatives will cost around £ 40 million (US$ 76 million), which would be offset by selling surplus properties “and non-core businesses, and by reducing working capital over the next five years.”

Key to the Hewden reorganisation is a move to a hub and spoke depot structure, where large regional hubs will each operate using smaller satellite branches with small stocks of equipment. Lloyd said the regional hubs would not necessarily stock the entire Hewden range, but would be able to handle sales enquiries for all products. All sales calls within a region will be directed to the hub. The company would not say how many hubs will be established.

Lloyd said he had no problems with the current 320 depot network at Hewden, and that the aim of the restructuring was not to close depots but to leverage the network for the entire Finning organisation.

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