In times when so many companies are under pressure to perform, it is refreshing to hear about those, like the Goscor Group’s Goscor Rental, which have what it takes to move full steam ahead. Since April 2012, from a countrywide rental fleet of 450 forklifts the company now, in November 2012, has a fleet of 815 – a growth of almost 90%! Also, the new initiative of driving second-hand forklift sales has produced a growth of 400% since April.
“We are fast closing in on being the top short-term forklift rental company in the country,” says new Goscor Rental GM Rory Lord. “The phones are ringing, trucks are moving and generally there’s an exciting buzz around this place.”
Lord adds that the growth would not have been possible without the backing of his Goscor management and the Imperial Group. “We re-engineered the business plan, and Imperial were very happy to back us financially to take the business to the next level,” he said.
Meanwhile, senior Goscor sources give ample credit for the rising tide of Goscor Rental to the leadership and experience of Lord, who took the reins in April 2012. “He has vast experience in the materials handling industry and rental in particular,” says Darryl Shafto, MD Goscor Lift Truck Company.
Joining Goscor, Lord hit the ground running, and, working closely with Shafto, a new set of strategic targets in all facets of the operation was created as part of a broad overhaul of the business. “Our overhaul has had very positive results, and the company has not only grown beyond expectation, it has developed powerful, mutually advantageous relationships with other units in the Goscor Group,” says Shafto
The first two projects Lord undertook were large-scale housekeeping exercises. Firstly, in a six-week period, with lifting equipment testing specialists Culmens, 300 trucks were load tested and, simultaneously, all Goscor Rental technicians and sales staff were sent for their forklift licences and full medical check-ups.
Secondly, in order to improve the productivity of technicians, a weekly meeting between management and technicians was instituted to manage the entire service offering. “The results speak for themselves,” says Lord. “While in April only 55% of scheduled services were being carried out, the number has risen to 90% in the past three months. This, in turn, has led to a 50% drop in the number of breakdowns.
The third important initiative was the creation of new systems to monitor stock and performance. “We now know exactly where each machine is at any given time and how they are performing,” Lord says.
Renewed Focus on Used Forklift Sales
In a shrewd move, Shafto and Lord saw the gap for Goscor Rental to focus on the selling of used forklifts as a core offering. “Our used forklifts are all engine inspected, and fully load-tested, and because of this, we have built up a reputation – and a loyal clientele – for reliable, fully load-tested forklifts,” says Lord. From sales of circa R300, 000 p/m in April 2012 they did about R1,2m in October 2012.
Branding and Marketing
In another value-adding exercise, Lord and his team turned their attention to the image of the business. “The aim was to create a new image that truly reflected our professionalism,” he says.
New signboards were erected outside HQ. Technicians were given new VW caddies wrapped with branded signage, and technicians were kitted out in newly branded uniforms, gloves, and boots. An intensive marketing campaign was launched, targeting a range of media, especially online media. The marketing team created new, fresh advertisements for print, focusing on new aspects of the business while reminding customers of core strengths.
The successes of Goscor Rental have gone hand in hand with the tightening of its relationship with Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC). “We realised we were fighting the same war,” Lord says.
The two companies now have a weekly meeting, looking at how they can help each other while maximising the advantage offered by being part of such a powerful group. “We work off each other’s strengths to our mutual benefit,” he says.
Looking to the future Lord says that he hopes that by June 2013 Goscor Rental will have a rental fleet of over 1000 forklifts, which would then make it the No. 1 short-term forklift rental company in South Africa.
“Success in this business all about having the right products, the right attitude, and the right people and we have all three,” he says. With Imperial’s backing, we have the muscle and support to realise all our goals,” he concluded.