Height 4 Hire : telematic is key for the future !

An Australian customer’s point of view

Ken Baker is the owner of Height 4 Hire, a company based in South East Queensland that operates with over 600 machines. Situated in Richlands, they have a staff of 28 employees and have been doing business with Haulotte for seven years now.

Ken Baker, owner of Height 4 Hire & Keith Clarke, general manager of Haulotte Australia

What was the first machine you bought from Haulotte?

A Star 10, because it is a specific machine that we could not find anywhere else. After that purchase, we started buying more of their products, such as the their Optimum 8 (we have ordered around 140 of them). The reason we chose Haulotte at the time, was due to the high-priced machinery from all the major players. Honestly, I was unable to notice the difference between Haulotte’s equipment and the competitors’ equipment. We then decided to try a few products and ended up being very happy with the result. What I most appreciate about Haulotte is both their leadership and customer service. They go out of their way to make you feel like you’re more than just another client. We have a great personal relationship with Keith Clark and his team.

Star 10 - Haulotte Vertical Masts

On another note, what are the biggest changes in the market that
had an effect on your business during the last 20 years?

More than anything, it’s been the number of big players in the industry as well as the reduction of margins. This is why today it has become imperative to buy machines at the right price, since we no longer have the margins that we used to. Technologically, there have been multiple advancements, such as weight management systems that have been very good for the industry. I think in the long-term, telematics will be a big thing because it will allow us to check how well our machine is working on site. I strongly believe it has a huge potential on going forward.

That leads us to the following question. Where do you see your market going in the next 20 years? What do you think is coming next?

I think the level of telematics will increase so dramatically in the next three to four years that, if you don’t get on board, you’ll be left behind. One of the biggest problems with our industry is the number of customers that believe a machine has broken down. We often send fitters on site to have a look, and most of the time it turns out to be a customer error. But when a machine does fail, we diagnose most of the issues via the computer on the machine.

With telematics, we would be able to analyse the problems from the office without having to send people out. And then, if there is a breakdown of some componentry, we could ensure having the right piece of equipment loaded onto our service vehicle. We would be able to prevent people from wasting time by going out and doing a diagnosis, and then having to come back to get the correct piece of equipment. This could save us a lot of time and energy. There are a couple of companies out there with advanced telematics. And Haulotte, of course, is strongly working on theirs.

Haulotte Diag

And the final question. If you had to start your professional life all over
again, what advice would you give to your former self?

My advice would be to start a lot younger than I did, since I started my own business in the twilight of my career. I would also say I should have taken in more information in my earlier years. To learn more about the business and realize that I didn’t know everything, and there are more important opinions than my own.

Ken Baker