From cranes, through transport, storage, logistics and distribution, the future is intermodal capability and flexibility. That’s the insight of the Tauranga-based McLeod group.
McLeod believes the development of integrated, intermodal services, combining cranes, hiabs and line transport, offers real gains in efficiency and economy for customers. So that’s what they’re innovating.
“It’s customer needs that count,” said managing director, Scott McLeod, “and it’s our job as service suppliers to provide 360-degree solutions to those needs. Where customer needs are best served by
extended and cohesive capability, we can’t be hidebound by offering just one set of services or another.
“Our experience is plain. Having intermodal flexibility in the group, we’re far better placed to think outside the square, and deliver a precise, seamless answer to a composite service need.” True, other crane companies run hiabs, usually one or two, as part of necessary support to the cranes — carrying
counterweights, etc. So companies in the sector naturally look for work for their trucks when they’re not in use.
But McLeod Cranes has a different model in mind, and this makes it an interesting, innovative development. As the saying goes, they’re putting their money where their mouth is. On November 1, McLeod merged the
long-established business of Bay Hiabs into a new company, McLeod Hiabs. Phil Hutchison, the well-respected Bay of Plenty manager for TR Group, has been recruited as general manager.
The acquisition brings the McLeod fleet to a sizeable regional total: 17 cranes, 10 hiabs, 6 tractor and semi units and 15 utes, as well as one truck and trailer dedicated to counterweights. With cranes from 10 to 170
tonnes and hiabs from PK 12,500 to PK52,000, it forms an integrated business unusual in the crane industry.
It’s that unusual capability that Phil Hutchinson draws attention to. “Sometimes,” he says, “the job’s best done with a hiab, other times it’s more efficient to dispatch a crane. Because we have this intermodal
capability at our fingertips, right at the point of project definition and dispatch, we’re able to provide customers with the most appropriate solution for the job — no hassle, no delay, no complication.”
He adds, “For example, instead of manoeuvring an 8-wheel hiab into a confined site, we can easily fit a 10-tonne crane in. We can pick up a container where a hiab can’t reach, or we can crane a container or pallets over the top of a building site, siting them for increased security or greater ease of use. It comes down to whichever solution makes most sense, whichever’s most efficient. One solution, one bill, one customer relationship.
Just as important, we’re very focused on not having cranes do what they shouldn’t do. No-one in the region matches McLeod for safety.” McLeod’s reputation for safety, it has to be said, is an outstanding one. The
company recently picked up the MSA Safety Leadership Award at the 2013 Site Safe Construction Health & Safety Awards.
It has been a finalist and winner respectively in the 2013 and 2012 Safeguard New Zealand Health & Safety Awards. The company has also been assisting with provision of industry guidelines for the New Zealand
It’s a hefty heritage in safe crane operations, and Scott McLeod emphasises that the company is resolute about not compromising that status in the new hiabs business.
Scott says, “Since the disaster at Pike River and the subsequent inquiry, safety has rightly moved to the centre of the stage. McLeod is on that stage right now, playing a leading role in the development and
discipline of safe working practices. “And with the new legislation coming into play next year, responsibility for health and safety extends far beyond the service provider. So the assurance we bring to our customers — our record, our management and operational processes, our comprehensive electronic systems — all this
matters a great deal.
Frankly in the new environment, professional customers aren’t going to accept anything less, or do so with
considerable financial and other risk.” He adds, “So when it comes to safety, our total intermodal integration is crucial.
Our hiabs business, like every one of our operations, shares the same uncompromising values. It’s more than just the integration of different, complementary sets of services. It’s about the integration of a complete service philosophy throughout these interrelated operations. One where every operation — crane, hiab or line haul — comes with unmatched leadership in safety. That’s about looking after your customers, about putting customers first.”
Published in the November 27 edition of The New Zealand Tenders.