J K Ashbrook MD in Industry Wide Technology Call



James Ashbrook, managing director of industry leading plant hire and ground works specialist, J K Ashbrook, has called for the plant sector to make a technology push to help deliver better services to the wider construction industry.

In an exclusive interview with Finning News this morning, 19th February 2016, James highlighted the step change in customer demand, as the main reason why the business is making further technology investments in 2016: “For me, there has been a lot of talk about technology, but until recently not really a clear understanding of how to make use of it to support the plant hire sector in particular. But we are now seeing customer led demand for much more information on the equipment they are hiring.

For example, even though the price of fuel has dropped, the legacy of the work we have done using fuel consumption data and lifecycle costing is now a core part of our discussions with customers. It is also the main reason why we have recently worked with Finning to retrofit the Caterpillar Product Link system to our smaller excavator and roller fleet.

“Data has now become our biggest commercial asset, as it not only helps us to cut the overall cost of a job for customers, it also ensures they can meet programme times with confidence. This is achieved in two key ways. Firstly we generally hire out our own trained operators with our equipment, who understand the capabilities of the unit and through daily checks and operation can identify potential issues with a machine.

“By reporting information to our controller, we can interrogate the machine remotely and link into the Finsight team at Finning, to see if there is any immediate issue with the machine. If necessary this allows us to send a Finning engineer out to site, no matter where the machine is located, to ensure the equipment uptime is maximised throughout the hire deal.

Secondly, the Vision Link technology can remotely alert us to any problems with a machine, emailing our customer team immediately, so we can liaise with the customer directly and sort out the best time to service the unit.

So important is this level of service to our customer relationships and profitability that I can honestly say we could now not operate without the use of Vision Link technology. Equally, I think the industry as a whole is not going to move forward without a wider adoption of technology solutions. For the plant hire sector, I believe we need to be able to offer the same levels of technology service across the board, if we are going to support higher levels of productivity and the ambitious targets of the Governments 2025 construction strategy.”

For further information about JK Ashbrook, visit www.jkashbrook.co.uk.