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Hire & Rental Australia

Billion-dollar fleet investment strategy helps Coates and its customers grow

With a vision to be the market leader in safe, smart and sustainable equipment solutions, Coates consistently invests in growing and innovating its fleet. In 2020, the company committed $1 billion to fleet investment over five years. In FY23, Coates continues to deliver on this commitment, with $190 million of equipment already added to the fleet and another $40 million due to arrive by the end of the financial year.

“There are many ways that Coates can continue to grow and innovate its fleet,” says Peter Davis, Executive General Manager for Fleet at Coates. “We’ve chosen to start by investing in areas with the potential to make the greatest difference to our customers and their performance. Our investment is also focused on equipment where the technology and innovation are suitably advanced, and the infrastructure is in place in Australia, to support it.”

This recent investment brings Coates closer to achieving its target $2 billion fleet, which is almost three times the size of its nearest competitors. It also gives Coates customers:

  • A continuous flow of late model, quality equipment for better customer experience and to participate in the circular economy
  • Access to Australia’s largest equipment fleet for greater choice and flexibility
  • Technologies like telematics and SiteIQ to improve equipment performance and utilisation
  • A dedicated range of sustainable and lower-emission products to support decarbonisation in construction and infrastructure, aligning to federal and state policies and customer net-zero goals
  • Experienced product and solutions specialists to expertly guide customer choice

What is Coates investing in and why?

High-demand equipment and Power & HVAC

“We knew that fleet investment would be critical to achieving our goals regarding growth and customer-focused operations set out in our strategic plan,” says Peter. “To deliver on this strategy, Coates has significantly invested in high-demand products like access equipment, compaction, earthmoving, materials handling, power generation, site accommodation, lighting and traffic management.”

“We also prioritised the purchase of new, custom-built industrial chillers, air conditioning units, hybrid power systems and battery energy storage systems,” Peter continues. “This investment boosts the capacity of these product categories and supports Coates Power & HVAC, our new solutions offering that is due to officially launch later this year.”

Industry trends and innovation

Like Coates, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are focused on developing technologies that improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

“Coates is investing in key areas of market-driven innovation, like telematics, low emission and energy-efficient lighting and appliances, and equipment powered by hybrid, battery electric, solar, biofuels capable and low-pollutant engines,” says Peter. “We’ve also seen progress in hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen-powered combustion engines and renewable fuels like HVO, which are all technologies that Coates is watching closely.”

Meeting customer demand

While the day-to-day impact of Covid has plateaued, supply chain constraints remain. But Coates has been successful in pre-ordering equipment, ensuring both current and future customer demand can be met.

“Since Covid, equipment lead-times have stretched by as much as six to 12 months, so we’ve had to think more strategically about how, when and what we order,” says Peter. “With 90% of equipment now coming in from overseas, understanding supply chains has become more important than ever and we’ve learnt quite a lot over the past three years.”

“Under strong leadership, Coates has the confidence and means to be able to plan ahead,” he continues. “This gives us a consistent and intentional fleet strategy, which benefits both Coates and our customers.”

Helping customers achieve their green goals

Coates’ Greener Choices launched in June 2022 to provide customers with a range of more sustainable equipment and solutions to help them to deliver on their net-zero commitments, and to help Coates meet its own sustainability goals. This range has grown considerably, with $20 million of equipment received and a further $30 million awaiting delivery. Customer interest has also far exceeded Coates’ expectations.

A solar powered battery energy storage system (BESS)

A hybrid power system (HPS) delivering solar, battery and generator power

“To design this range, we consulted with customers to understand their needs and to make sure that our offering would improve their commercial and environmental performance,” says Peter. “Current demand confirms that we’re investing in the right ways to support our customers on this journey.”

Greener Choices: Key innovations in the range

  • New generation rough terrain (RT) access equipment, where previously only diesel-powered equipment could handle these ground conditions
  • Tier 4 and Tier 5 low-pollutant engines, particularly in materials handling, earthmoving and access equipment where emissions standards are currently unregulated in Australia, offering an improved occupational work environment
  • Zero and low-emission lighting towers (solar and hybrid respectively)
  • Low-emission power solutions like battery energy storage systems (BESS) to reduce the reliance on traditional diesel-powered generators, and hybrid power systems (HPS), which combine solar, battery and generator technologies for complete off-grid power solutions.

“With construction activity expected to be strong over the next five years, and a clear strategy to continue to invest in new equipment and technology while growing our solutions businesses and Greener Choices offering, Coates is well positioned to support our customers in 2023 and beyond,” says Peter.


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