“From a Coronavirus point of view we are seen as a critical supplier, particularly in aerospace, emergency services and telecoms, “ said Nigel Lawton, vice president of sales, northern territories for test equipment rental firm Electro Rent. The company has completed the integration of European brands Microlease and Livingstone Hire.
Some companies are looking to alter their existing deals as they reduce staff while other are looking for more equipment to ramp up production, particularly for medical equipment such as ventilators.
“It’s not about deferring rentals, they can return the equipment and when the crisis is over they can re-start the deal,” said Lawton. “Ironically we are having a stormer this month on the basis that there are companies dealing with emergencies, particularly in telecoms.”
“We have been asked for additional test equipment by two or three companies in UK but we need to figure out exactly what they need as the requests are rather vague,” said Reinier Treur, Electro Rent's VP of EMEA Product Management & Sourcing. “This is something that has become very visible. If there’s a telecom cable cut then that is an emergency too so for a lot of the test equipment requirements there’s always an emergency.”
This means delivery is key. “There is next day delivery if it is urgent, depending on transport. If its Northern Italy it will be quite a challenge," he said. "We have 80 per cent of our European stock in a warehouse in Harrow, the other 20 per cent is in Belgium, and we have special transportation systems for the equipment.”
“For a customer with a large rental, they will have an open ended agreement with flexibility and can send everything back,” he added. “If they had been invested that’s still depreciating. We look at the exact situation of the customer, if they reduce staff by 50% or 80% then they can return the equipment.”