II. Haulotte France in touch with customers

II. Haulotte France in touch with customers

Sharing experiences

This week, we’re interviewing two other Haulotte France customers. They tell us how they experienced this unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis and share their vision for the future. 

AXEL LOCATION

is a network of 13 agencies in Normandy specialising in the rental of equipment for the construction industry. Its manager, Régis MAHIER answers some questions following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Axel Location website

How did you experience the lockdown?

First, we put our staff on leave. With the extension of the lockdown, we had no choice but to use short-time working. However, as we were not entirely reassured about the application of the system in our sector (of activity), we tried to keep employees on cross-functional assignments. The aim was to work on improving our internal processes to find better tools for the recovery. On the operational side, we remained open mainly for our craftsman clients who needed to maintain their activity.

How was your business during this period?

We maintained our logistics maintenance service at our main branches. Initially, all branches were closed to the public and we centralized telephone calls to certain branch managers from their homes. Since the first weeks of April, we experienced a slight recovery in the craft industry which encouraged us to gradually reopen the agencies on a part-time basis and then on a full-time basis. The economic impact during the confinement is finally less severe than we initially thought.

How are you currently organized?

We have been working with more flexibility. Our technicians and drivers were in the front line themselves when the branch managers were at home. We have asked our clients to book equipment over the phone before coming to the agency.

Since May 11th, all our agencies are open to the public. Our employees respect the barrier gestures and are equipped with masks for getting in touch with the customer. Equipment with cabins remains quarantined outside for 24 hours in a dedicated area. Equipment without a booth is systematically cleaned and disinfected each time it is returned from rental. Even though we are one of the least affected regions, it is important to reassure our customers.

How do you see the future?

Our customers have a backlog and must quickly rebuild their cash flow. We are therefore confident that the construction sector will recover over the next few months and we hope that activity in August will be at a good level. We are more worried about the end of the year 2020. The postponement of the municipal elections and the concern of many sectors are pushing the projects forward. Our clients have not signed any new projects for the last 2 months. If investor confidence does not return quickly, we risk experiencing a difficult year in 2021.

LAIBE

Since 1972, the company’s mission has been to provide the industrial equipment best suited to the needs of its customers. Today composed of two entities, one dedicated to sales and the other to rental activity, LAIBE brings its know-how to 4 departments: Doubs, Haute-Saône, Territory of Belfort and Haut-Rhin. Bruno Laibe answers our questions:

How did you experience the lockdown?

We were completely out of work.  We put the staff on short-time working. We are located in a region where the automobile industry is dominant. The auto industry was on complete shutdown. No resumption before April 27th.
We had employees affected by the virus at the beginning of lockdown, after their 2 weeks of isolation, they are fine.
All our competitors were also shut down. The building industry, which represents a large part of our activity was also at a standstill.

How was your business during this period?

We made a partial recovery on April 20, but do not expect a full recovery before the end of June.
We have made all the requests for state aid, including the deferral of charges (water, electricity, etc. …).
We had kept a technical assistance since March 16th for current rentals as well as long term rentals.  The big groups have all called for a halt of long-term rentals.

How do you see the future?

The banks must support companies. It is rather a good surprise; they all follow us and are ready to help us for the future. They are very reactive.

“The companies that will emerge from this crisis will be the ones that have managed to anticipate.”

Bruno Laibe

We are one of the first SMEs in the region to be certified “iso”, which helps us a lot in terms of management and anticipation.
We are currently implementing a protocol with best practices for our drivers and technicians to adopt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a priority, we are putting everything in place to protect our employees by rehabilitating workstations and providing safety and health protection. We also implemented a whole system of disinfection of the equipment: inside, outside before delivery and on return. All our drivers and technicians have cleaning and disinfection kits that they must use as soon as they touch any equipment.

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