Kennards Hire gets a new lease on life

Kennards Hire making the job even easier for their customers thanks to industry-first Honeywell solution

In 1948 Walter Kennard, who sold machinery, petrol and produce from a store in Bathurst, NSW, was asked by a customer to lend a new, concrete mixer for a quick job. Walter thought for a moment and then replied, "I'm sorry, I can't loan it to you, but I'll hire it to you." So began Kennards Hire®, which remains Australian and family-owned, and has grown into one of Australia's largest and most respected hire companies, with over 150 branches and 1,100 employees in Australia and New Zealand.

Kennards Hire recently worked with Honeywell and Skywire to deploy a new solution, featuring the Honeywell PF2i rugged industrial bar code printer, to deliver a higher level of service for their customers.

A window into Kennards Hire's customer commitment

Kennards Hire delivers reliable, assured and safe equipment for their customers. Each and every item hired completes the ‘ready for hire’ process where it is maintained to the manufacturer’s guidelines, passed all certification and safety checks and comes with the documentation required to make every customer’s job easier.

    “The ‘ready for hire’ program is a customer-centric initiative around providing knowledge and compliance,” said Allen Besseling, CEO, Kennards Hire. “However there was a need to better empower our customers with easy access to the information they required on site to get the job done.”

Stuart Dean, Head of IT, Kennards Hire explained that Kennards decided to work with Skywire to upgrade and transform from a manual system to an automated technology solution across all Kennards Hire branches in order to provide a virtual window into the ‘ready for hire’ process.

    “In the past we had a very manual log book system to record maintenance and service history, which was fairly cumbersome and certainly wasn’t accessible to our customers,” said Mr Dean. “We wanted to put this information out there into the public domain to ensure our customers knew exactly what each and every item goes through so it’s ready for them when they come in the next day.

    “A customer of Kennards can now come in, take out their mobile phone, scan the label, which takes them directly to the service history and other documentation associated with that individual item of plant and have the confidence that the product has been maintained to Kennard’s high standards,” he emphasised.

The technology chosen to provide a vital link to the online plant portal was the Honeywell PF2i rugged industrial bar code printer. Once the ‘ready for hire’ process – which includes a defined set of tasks which typically involves cleaning the equipment, extensive safety and equipment checks, topping up fluid levels, lubrication and testing the equipment – is completed the Kennards Hire serviceman marks the item as ‘ready for hire’ in the ERP system. This then prompts the system to automatically print a ‘ready for hire’ label showing when the item was passed and by whom, as well as an overview of the product’s service history.

The labels include a QR code (Quick Response matrix bar code) that can be scanned on the job and instantly link to Kennards Hires’ online plant portal to inspect service history and safety records of items hired, consult the user guide and view YouTube training videos. Additionally, customer daily safety checks, which traditionally were recorded manually in the log book which stayed with the machine, can now be entered on the online plant portal while on the job, and the history can be recalled at any time in the future.

Marco Farina, site supervisor with civil engineering and building contractor, Delaney Civil, said it was a great development for hirers of heavy plant.

    “I have to get the service record of all plant coming on site,” he said during a break from operating a new 12 tonne roller. “Being able to read the service record online, and update it when required, will be much easier.”

Built to withstand harsh workshop conditions

Located in the workshop of each and every Kennards Hire branch across Australia and New Zealand, the printers must withstand a range of temperatures and harsh workshop conditions. The printers are exposed to grinding, welding, painting, and lubricating every day. They must operate in branches such as Queanbeyan where winter temperatures drop below 0 degrees through to branches in Darwin where summer temperatures are regularly over 30 degrees.

The PF21’s rugged all-metal construction is well suited to the workshop environment and is designed to reduce downtime, increase productivity and lower maintenance. It is simple to operate as it is a completely stand-alone solution, which allows labels to be easily updated remotely without the need for on-site configuration. It is also easy to make repairs to the printers in the workshop, such as replacing print heads and rollers, which significantly lowers repair costs and downtime.

Australian hire industry-first a hit

Kennards Hire is leading the hire industry with this exclusive, new, online plant portal. Mr Besseling said Kennards Hire has received very positive feedback from customers who have said the new system makes it easier for them to get the job done.

    “Our customers needed information readily available,” Mr Besseling said. “And when we sat in front of them they said this is a great way to provide it. It’s available 24/7 just at their fingertips and that’s really given us the advantage.

    “With more than 4,500 tags printed every day across our network of branches, and with more than 2,700 hits on our plant portal every month this has been a huge success.”

The system takes customer service to a new level by enhancing safety, improving equipment reliability, speeding up the job and cutting paperwork. Its success is also illustrated in the fact that it has proved instrumental in securing a number of large commercial contracts for Kennards Hire.


Kennards Hire gets a New Lease on Life 

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