Business Feature, Earthmoving Industry Insight

Allwest Plant Hire and Komatsu Premium Used machines

Ian Priday and the team at Allwest Plant Hire know the value of keeping costs low, taking advantage of Komatsu Premium Used Machines to ensure affordability and reliability

From humble beginnings in a dirt yard in Kelmscott with half a dozen staff, a donga and a few machines, Allwest Plant Hire has grown significantly since beginning its operations over a decade ago.

The business now boasts a fleet of over 200 machines and more than 50 staff, and operates from a 14,000 square metre state-of-the-art facility in Forrestdale, Western Australia.

Allwest Plant Hire and its associated businesses are now one of the largest privately-owned plant hire and civil contracting companies in Western Australia, and are showing no signs of slowing down.

Flexibility in business has been one of the great assets of Allwest Plant Hire over the last decade.

Not limiting itself to being a one trick pony, along with its substantial rental fleet of machines, the company has stayed true to the business’s original roots – maintaining a number of drainage contracts and local government civil projects – as well as an equipment hire business, which operates numerous smaller assets like access equipment and general site tooling.

Komatsu’s PC210LCi-10 Smart Construction excavator with inbuilt Intelligent Machine Control

Premium Used machines

Ian Priday, Allwest Plant Hire’s managing director and company founder, has managed the growth of the business over the last decade.

His approach to business is pragmatic – keep operating costs low, maintain flexibility and be prepared to ride the highs and lows of the industry as it fluctuates over time. This approach has not only enabled the business to overcome hard times, but also to react quickly and take educated risks to grow the business during the boom periods.

This is where Komatsu’s Premium Used brand has benefitted the company and formed a key component in Allwest’s business flexibility and success, according to Priday.

Allwest Plant Hire purchased its first Premium Used Machines in September 2011. Two low-hour Komatsu HM400-2s were purchased in reaction to the high demand through the Pilbara region in Western Australia for articulated trucks. Nearly 10 years on, it has taken delivery of its 49th Premium Used Komatsu – a PC138US-8 – with the 50th, a HM300-2, already on order.

Priday’s reasoning behind his Premium Used purchases is simple: “If the price significantly less than a new machine, it can mean that, on some of the larger machinery we’ve purchased, we’re outlaying tens of thousands of dollars less – and yet these Premium Used machines come, usually, with only about 2,000 hours on them,” he says

“They are in as-new condition and even though they carry an up to three-year warranty, it’s not something we’ve had to call on to any great degree. This has enabled us to be more flexible, either financing on a shorter term, or we can effectively add four machines to our fleet for the price of three new ones.”

Allwest buys low-hour Premium Used machines from Komatsu

Relationship of trust

According to Priday, the Premium Used program has substantially changed his business model – enabling him to provide clients with seamless service while allowing Allwest to better manage fluctuations in demand and the rise and fall of the industry.

“We have a lot of faith in the Premium Used brand offered by Komatsu, even to the point of recently purchasing machines sight unseen through our long-standing Komatsu business development manager (BDM), Alister Dale,” Priday says.

“Alister’s been with us from the start of our purchasing machines through Komatsu and, through that relationship and understanding, we can trust that what he says he’ll deliver, he will.”

Priday acknowledges the risk he is taking in the hire industry – providing large companies, especially, with the means to utilise machinery without having to mount their own procurement budgets.

“The reason we’re in business is because many of the large companies prefer to work only with construction budgets, which start and end with each job,” he says.

“They prefer not to work to an ongoing machinery ownership model, which is why they hire from us, making it cleaner for them at the successful completion of each project.

“Purchases like our Premium Used machines mean we can keep our operating costs low but still deliver a high-quality asset to our high value customers with faith that the machine will perform for them and us throughout its life.”

Allwest also maintains its policy of turning over machines at defined usage rates ranging from 6,000 hours for smaller excavators and loaders, up to more than 10,000 hours for larger assets like its HM400s, WA500s and PC450s.

“I stay close to Komatsu to always understand what’s coming up in their Premium Used program so I can achieve the best and usually the first choice,” says Priday.

“Our BDM Alister Dale is always onto it if there’s something he thinks might suit our fleet and current demand.”

Around 40 per cent of Allwest Plant Hire’s fleet is made up of Komatsu machinery

Intelligent control

The Komatsu brand now comprises over 40 per cent of Allwest’s diverse heavy machinery fleet and Komatsu Finance is the exclusive provider of lines of credit to assist cashflow.

Late in 2020, Priday and his partnership with Komatsu took another major leap of initiative in the hire-market.

“The first of Komatsu’s PC210LCi-10 Smart Construction excavators with inbuilt Intelligent Machine Control (iMC) became available in the Premium Used program and I grabbed it to help alleviate a growing shortage of skilled final trim operators,” says Priday.

“iMC is the way forward – it helps operators to find trim levels so much easier and it’s a big boost to productivity.

“In my hire model, I would have struggled to have bought it new, but I’m now watching closely for others when they come up on the Premium Used program. I have since added a PC128USi-10 iMC excavator to the fleet.”

Ian Priday (second left), Allwest Plant Hire’s managing director and company founder, says the close relationship with Komatsu has been highly beneficial for his business
Send this to a friend