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PROFILE continued

been growing steadily, and it will enable Beaver’s facility at its Chichester head office to concentrate on maintaining the company’s fleet. Items from customers are collected regularly from each depot and transferred to Portsmouth to be worked on.

Across the road from the new location is a sizeable main car dealership and showroom, again giving opportunities for passing trade. The rear of the premises backs on to a residential street, increasing the security of the building. Beaver has taken steps to minimise inconvenience to local residents, such as installing machine testing facilities that are sound-proofed.

The Portsmouth depot is kept busy serving its diverse customer base, which includes sub-contractors working at the dockyards, engineering businesses, general tradesmen and homeowners. “Demand is steady for items like aluminium tower, compact access platforms, ladders and tools, and we do exceptionally well with floor sanding equipment, owing to the large number of Victorian properties in the city. Many of them are terraced houses, however, with very small gardens and restricted access, so we have to provide machines that are compact enough to reach the required location.”

Beaver also reports steady business at its four other depots in Chichester, Fareham, Petersfield and Waterlooville. “We are constantly updating and adding to our fleet, to ensure we have the items when customers need them. As well as core tools and equipment like cut-off saws and breakers, we have continued to expand our compact plant fleet, including Cormidi and Slanetrac tracked dumpers, Wacker Neuson mini excavators and small scissor lifts. This brings its own challenges, such as making sure we have the transport, servicing and storage facilities to match this growth.

Beaver’s new Portsmouth depot includes a bright retail display area.

“Each depot obviously has its own fleet, but there are inevitably occasions when some items need to be transferred between outlets to meet demand. Every day at 3pm we have what we call ‘the meet’ at Waterlooville, which has a very large yard, and drivers from each depot exchange the necessary equipment ready for the next day. If a customer really needs something urgently, it will arrive at the appropriate branch by 4pm for collection. We have found this to be more effective than doing a daily round-robin collection run.

“In total we now have 45 staff in the business. We have a great team and we all maintain a sense of fun. Many of us have worked in the company for years, starting as a driver, as I did, and progressing from there. In our recruitment advertising, we usually ask ‘Have you got what it takes to be a Beaver?’ which conveys something of our business approach and seems to weed out some of the less committed candidates.”

The sense of fun extends to the humorous rooftop displays that appear occasionally at the Chichester head office. These have included a giant ‘swing-o-meter’ reflecting political trends based on the colours of wheelbarrows sold during general elections, a replica aeroplane and Dr Who’s Tardis. “Local people often ask us when the next one will be,” said Tony. “We have to devise a new system for safe rooftop access to meet the latest regulations, and when we visited the Executive Hire Show we talked with Safety Lifting Gear about what we needed. We aim to have a solution in place for a space-themed display to coincide with astronaut Tim Peake’s return from the International Space Station later this year. He was born in Chichester, and it would be great to do something to reflect his achievement.”

Back at Portsmouth, Beaver has settled well into its new location. It is an impressive facility, and one which could possibly be a contender in the Passionate Hirer Awards at the Executive Hire Show next year.

• The new building gives more storage space.

Beaver MD Neil Johnson, right, and Tony Criddle caught up with Husqvarna at the Show.


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