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Preston Hire setting high standards in crane hire

With an extensive career in the crane industry, Stephan Becherand recently joined the Preston Hire team in the new position of Head of Cranes. In this interview, he highlights his reasons for joining the business and his aims and expectations for the future.

“I have an extensive background in cranes, starting with the worldwide industry leader Liebherr in France back in 2002. During my time with Liebherr, I travelled in North Africa for two years then UK and Europe. I moved to Australia in 2007 as Liebherr’s Senior Service Engineer for South-East Asia and Australia, before establishing and building the training department of Liebherr Australia in 2010.

“After nearly 10 years with the company, I moved to Titan Cranes in 2011 and over the next eight years held multiple roles culminating in the role of National Operations Manager. The past two years has been with WGC as both the Branch Manager and Business Development Manager roles for the growing NSW crane fleet backed by FREO Group,” said Becherand.

“When I moved to Preston Hire, I knew the best place for me to advance my career was with a stable and well-respected company. Preston Hire is nationally and internationally recognised for its products, and my objective is to be part of a company which enables me to expand my skills and knowledge of this industry.

“Obviously, my local and global experience in the crane sector are attributes that will complement the Preston Hire business. Based on its current market position, I felt the business was a perfect fit for my experience and passion for the industry. Preston Hire is a market leader in the mini crawler and the larger hydraulic crawler crane hire sector, and I fully intend to build on this position and to grow the business,” he said.

Becherand discusses the challenges involved in maintaining a market leading position and how the business will continue to focus on providing the right solutions for its customers.

“The market is evolving rapidly, and we need to keep a few steps ahead of developments to fulfill our clients’ requirements. This involves anticipating future market demands and investing in the right technology. Frequent interaction with our customers to understand their current and future projects enables Preston Hire to provide the right solution for every application, and by customising our fleet to provide high levels of customer satisfaction and honour our promise – “Count on Us,” he said.

Preston Hire’s SuperCrane fleet has traditionally featured a great depth in mini telescopic crawlers and this market is now becoming very competitive. Becherand explains how he intends to maintain Preston Hire’s leading position in the smaller mini crawler range.

“Preston Hire has worked hard to be the leader in this market, a position we take seriously and with a lot of responsibility. We have strong relationships with all crane manufacturers, particularly the mini crawler crane manufacturers. We also work extremely closely with their Australian distributors and representatives. We continue to upgrade and update our fleet with the latest models and technology.

“Supporting the fleet with second to none service and having a thorough maintenance program has also been a key strategy for the business. Having the capability to work directly with the SuperService business provides us with a significant competitive advantage. The relationship enables us to have our cranes fully serviced and operational and ready for the next project. Maintaining the fleet to the highest standards is a constant process,” he said.

“The construction sector and the crane hire market will always need specialised cranes. The projects are becoming increasingly involved which increases the number of challenges our clients face. For example, today’s projects require cranes with smaller footprints, but the expectation is for the same loads to be lifted. This means our clients are looking for larger capacities from smaller cranes to manage their lifting plans. Preston Hire is embracing these challenges by continuing to invest in the right cranes which will play integral roles in the solutions our partners and clients provide,” he said.

There is a push towards more environmentally sustainable cranes including all electric options of which Preston Hire has been investing in the latest models, says Becherand.

“Over the years, Preston Hire has been investing in the latest cranes which feature Eco-friendly technology, and we will continue to do so. We are seeing increasing demands for fully electric options, and this is from various industry sectors including construction, mining as well as retail and other types of indoor applications where emissions are unacceptable. Preston Hire will continue to remain focused on providing environmentally friendly options as they become available,” he said.

With restrictions now being eased the construction sector, in particular, is coming back very aggressively. Becherand explains how Preston Hire’s SuperCrane fleet is preparing to manage this increased demand.

“Across the country, we are continually assessing the amount of works in the pipeline and based on market feedback and the requests we are receiving from our customers, we will be increasing our fleet in both size, and capacity. I will have more to say about this soon.

“In terms of my expectations for Preston Hire’s SuperCrane business, I think the old saying “the sky’s the limit” is very apt. With an identified pipeline of works Australia wide and in different sectors, I can see Preston Hire not only being the leader but also the benchmark in the tele-crawler market.

“Recently, Preston Hire has been investing in larger crawler cranes which is a result of customer demand. The addition of the two 80t capacity SANY hydraulic telescopic crawlers has been very positive, and the cranes have successfully completed a number of projects. The feedback from our customers and operators has also been positive which is very encouraging.

“Demand for the cranes has been constant and both cranes are averaging over 80% utilisation since the date of purchase. We have great success for both cranes on projects in Victoria and West Australia. New projects are due to start in New South Wales shortly. The SANY brand has proved to be reliable and efficient, and the cranes are performing well. This will give Preston Hire the confidence to look at other SANY cranes to extend the capabilities of our fleet,” said Becherand.

The Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) has an important role to play within the industry says Becherand and he is more than prepared to invest his time in the industry body.

“CICA continues to work hard for the greater good of the industry and I am more than happy to play my part. We are all faced with the same challenges of working in a high-risk industry and we have a responsibility to make our work environments as safe as possible. I recently joined the CICA Technical Steering Committee for NSW/ACT and I intend to make a contribution to the greater good for our amazing industry,” he said.


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