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Expansion in the east

Newmarket Plant Hire has consolidated its six depots with a new corporate branding, and has plans for further growth. Alan Guthrie reports.

Like many hire businesses, Newmarket Plant Hire (NPH) grew out of a construction company. It was established in 1987 by Carl Jarvis, whose father had founded the original building business. “I had started as a labourer with the company, then did an HND in construction technology and became Contracts Manager and, eventually, MD,” he told EHN. “The construction company was obviously among our first customers. We steadily built up the hire fleet and we were among the first companies to add mini excavators, which aroused interest, and we soon won several significant contracts to supply equipment for long-term projects. We kept expanding, eventually adding smaller equipment and tools alongside the larger plant, to meet demand.”

Cambridge, Basildon and Ipswich were branded as Newmarket Plant Hire, Harlow had retained the Sarbir title, and the King’s Lynn facility was known as Watlington Plant Hire, from another previous ownership.

“We were aware of not wanting to lose the identity and reputation of the depots but, equally, we did not want to alienate customers who were working over a wider area and who, perhaps, did not recognise the names of the other branches and the company that lay behind them. So in 2003 we adopted the Newmarket Plant Hire title throughout the business,” said Carl Jarvis.

Ironically, the issue of branding eventually arose again as the business continued to grow and to target customers in additional areas. It was felt that the Newmarket name could identify the operation too closely with one location. Consequently, a new corporate identity, The NPH Group, was introduced in 2015, which was once of the measures implemented shortly after the appointment of Ashley Tarrant as Operations Director. He had previously held senior management roles with Hewden, A-Plant and HSS, and had also worked for several independent hirers, including The Hire Centre in St. Albans and Charles Wilson Engineers in Harpenden.

Carl Jarvis, centre, Ashley Tarrant, right, and Depot Manager Mick Howard at the head office in Newmarket.

In 1998, a sales shop was added at the Newmarket depot, and the company embarked on further growth as its customer base grew. The following year, it opened a location in Cambridge, and in 2000 the opportunity arose to buy Sarbir Plant Hire, with presences in Harlow and King’s Lynn, as well as one in Cambridge, which eventually replaced the existing depot in the city. In 2005, Newmarket Plant Hire acquired the plant hire activity and assets of Rawley Plant Hire in Basildon (which also had separate portable toilet and site accommodation hire operations), and finally a depot was opened on a greenfield site in Ipswich in 2006, to give comprehensive coverage of East Anglia and the surrounding area. An outlet in Luton had been established a few years earlier, following the acquisition of another business, P.R. Tool Hire, but the location proved difficult and the decision was made to close it and service its customers from the other depots.

This brought the network to its current total of six depots. However, between them they traded under several different names, reflecting the other businesses that had been acquired. While those in Newmarket,


“We also launched a new website, introduced a new logo and corporate workwear, and appointed a number of key new staff,” he told EHN. “Everyone now feels fully integrated, rather than each depot almost having a separate identity. We also invested significantly to reduce the average age profile of the fleet, and we have appointed additional tool fitters in the workshop as we continue to grow this aspect of our operation. Overall we now have 64 personnel. In early 2018, we will be moving to a new hire software package that will streamline all our internal processes.”

While the new NPH branding has strengthened and unified the business, individual differences between the depots’ customer bases are still recognised and addressed.

Each depot incorporates a retail area.

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