The staff at Rand-Air's Durban depot have set themselves ambitious targets. Branch Manager Rudi Devry and his team have recently taken occupation of new premises, a move which will assist in realising their growth objectives.
Devry explains that their former premises were rented and, after six years, the lease had come to an end. "That was part of the reason for the move, but we also wanted to find premises in Durban's South Basin which would be closer to our major customers such as the oil refineries and the motor manufacturers, and which would give us room for future expansion," he adds.
The new premises are going to serve the Durban depot well in its future revenue expansion initiatives. Devry explains that the demand for hire equipment in Durban has been increasing recently and that the new, conveniently situated premises will assist in meeting these elevated levels of demand.
In addition to serving the Durban-based market, Rand-Air is also Richards Bay's preferred supplier of air and power hire equipment, with a depot in Alton.
"Richards Bay not only features a world-class coal terminal but is a thriving industrial hub. We are proud to be able to supply our services to Richards Bay as it is an area that makes a key contribution to South Africa's economy," says Devry.
Meanwhile, the new premises in Transport Drive, Prospecton are a major upgrade for Rand-Air in Durban. The new offices have been adapted to suit staff requirements and a much larger warehouse means that the depot's equipment will now all be kept under cover. "We have always placed a strong emphasis on excellent equipment maintenance, so we are very pleased with the new warehouse, as it allows us to keep our equipment protected," says Devry. The new premises also have much larger wash bays, which can accommodate more machines at any one time.
However, moving the depot from one site to another was not without its challenges. Rand-Air's overarching ethos is one of customer service so, during the move, the Durban depot continued successfully with business as usual.
"At Rand-Air, we need to be available to our customers 24/7, so during the month of the move, we had to plan really carefully to make sure that our customer service remained at its usual high standard. We could not take two or three days off and close our doors during the move," continues Devry.
In addition, before taking occupation, Rand-Air had to carry out many modifications such as building wash bays and painting the warehouse floor to make the premises suitable. "At Rand- Air we set very high standards, and before we opened the doors of our new premises, we wanted to ensure that they would be a showpiece for our company in KwaZulu-Natal," he adds. "Rand-Air stands outside the normal rental company model as we area specialist compressed air and power supplier. However, we are always responsive to our customers' requirements; and for that reason we have been looking at supplying other types of equipment such as trailer- mounted welding sets," he explains.
"With our 45 years of experience in the hire business, we are well suited to serving large companies which have specialised projects such as major plant or refinery shutdowns, where we can partner with customers to assist these projects through to successful completion," continues Devry.
Running an equipment hire business requires a delicate balance. "Ideally, we would like to see our equipment yard completely empty but, in practicality, we need a reserve to ensure that our customers' requirements are catered for.
Among the Durban depot's key customers are the local petrochemical refineries, for whom the convenient availability of hire equipment – for example, during annual shutdowns - is a real value-add. The move has therefore brought Rand-Air’s services even closer to these key target sector customers.
Devry comments that the effort involved in the Durban depot move was really worth it. "We look forward to welcoming our valued customers to our new premises, as these will enable even more excellent Rand-Air service through the improved facilities and the convenience and accessibility of our new location," he concludes.