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How Coates Hire makes it seamless at the coalface with turnkey site solutions

From comprehensive shutdowns to onsite training, tool management and drone-captured 3D modelling, Coates Hire provides turnkey services across a broad range of industrial solutions that go well beyond their market perception.

With over 135 years’ experience and a national footprint of over 160 branches, Coates Hire offers an unrivalled set of skills and services to the mining and resources industries; however, unlike their iconic orange equipment, much of the work they do is not visibly obvious.

“We’re not just that forklift or cement mixer you see driving down the road, we provide a vast number of solutions around the assets on an industrial site, many of which are peripheral,” says Jeff Allen, National Industrial Services Manager for Coates Hire. “We have an extensive footprint and our capacity to provide both equipment and people to manage those assets and enhance efficiencies and safety onsite, is unmatched.”

As the mining and resource industries face increased pressure to financially perform, there is a pressing need to improve efficiencies on site. Meanwhile, safety remains a priority. This is where Coates Hire, who offer a one-stop solution for equipment hire, tooling and consumables management, have been able to make a significant difference.

“Historically, our clients had more resources, but as more focus is on that bottom line and efficiency, many of those resources have been lost to industry. Yet they still need to get the job done,” Jeff explains. “Where Coates Hire is leading the way, is being able to improve those worksite efficiencies – we can apply our experience and capabilities in not only suppling quality, fit for purpose equipment and gear, but also in the planning and scope of what a solution will look like based on the lessons we’ve learned.”

The fact that Coates Hire provides comprehensive industrial services to thousands of clients is testament to their strong track record of successful delivery and customer satisfaction. In October last year, the company signed a $25M supply agreement with BHP’s Nickel West Operations to provide wide-ranging industrial solutions that span equipment hire, tool management and maintenance, shutdowns, and project works.

Securing major contracts such as the BHP contract can partly be attributed to Coates Hire’s reputation as a trusted provider. According to Jeff, this is well-earned.

“The lessons we have learned provide invaluable insights to clients, particularly as we have experience across multiple industries,” he explains. “For example, there are learnings that can be applied from a shutdown at a power station to that of mining or pulp and paper operations.”

National Industrial Services Manager for Coates Hire Jeff Allen.

Jeff notes that there is minimal shared learnings for individual operations to follow when it comes to a shutdown, which again highlights how invaluable Coates Hire’s experience is to customers who are planning one.

“While each site is unique, there are a lot of consistencies across locations – we have an excellent understanding of the tooling needs of tradespeople and engineers and can apply that experience to really help the client with their planning,” says Jeff. “A lot of these events take 12 or 18 months to organise – so there’s plenty of scope upfront to consult with a client and make recommendations.”

Those recommendations often take the form of improving efficiencies around tool use.

“A primary concern among clients is tool time – they want to know how much a tradesperson is using their tools of trade at the coalface, and where they can save on costs,” explains Jeff. “A client doesn’t want to be renting gear for an entire month if it’s only being used three days that month. So, we’re providing solutions that help the client save on costs even though it might technically be taking money out of our own pocket.”

Besides Coates Hire’s market leading experience and expertise, Jeff credits the company’s pioneering commitment to innovation and technology as another reason for its success. In particular, a key focus has been on building their asset management solutions, which includes the employment of drones.

“Our drone technology enables the safe and easy inspection of all assets, including hazardous areas, or confined spaces,” Jeff expands. “From a site planning perspective, it answers a lot of questions at the front end, in a quick and safe manner. Unlike traditional methods, where you would need to build a scaffolding model, or turn off an asset in order to inspect it, we use the drone to provide a 3D model that can be shared with anyone, instantaneously, across the globe.”

The benefits of the drone technology cannot be understated – it’s safer, more cost-effective and time efficient.

“Coates Hire also provide the drone services with Civil Aviation Authority approval and full Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) and Job Safety Analysis (JSA) documentation,” Jeff adds. “The safety implications are huge – by using drones, you’re taking people out of dangerous situations, especially for height inspections where you’d normally need scaffolds or rope access teams to carry these out.”

The company has also been developing its tooling and consumables management system. Not only does Coates Hire supply all types of tools and consumables, they can also track and report on their use.

“The obvious benefits of this is a reduction in lost, stolen or damaged tools, and also accountability and traceability with tool use,” says Jeff. “But then there’s also the other benefits which come from analysing equipment use and wastage, and that helps clients tighten their cost controls and increase productivity.”

Additionally, the company has invested in an upgrade of their CHASE asset management system to improve on their data and insights offering. This is called SiteIQ and will officially be launched later this year.

“This takes the asset management a step further, such as the prediction of tooling required for a certain event and intuitive reports,” explains Jeff. “We’re also moving into areas of productivity, where we’re implementing RFID technology and establishing geosites to monitor activity – we’re excited about the type of efficiencies this kind of technology and insight will bring.”

Their new IT system and technology also complements another part of their Industrial Solutions offering, which is training.

“Coates Hire is a national Registered Training Organisation (RTO) provider – we provide training courses on hundreds of pieces of kit and operations, such as confined space work, operating forklifts and elevated work platforms,” enthuses Jeff. “And not only certified course training, but also training that is associated with learning how to use a specific tool on the job, such as a torque wrench.”

Coates Hire provide the training in a controlled environment such as a Coates workshop but can also arrange onsite training.

Having this RTO capability is yet another example of how the company can provide turnkey industrial solutions, says Jeff.

“The turnkey service isn’t just about tooling and equipment, it’s more holistic. It’s all the peripheral services that go into making sure a project is successful,” expands Jeff. “It could be providing transport to and from a site entrance point or providing a refuelling truck to service diesel vehicles onsite. There are countless examples.”

A recent example of how Coates Hire can provide a turnkey service comes in the form of a solution supplied to EnergyAustralia. Coates Hire was engaged by EnergyAustralia to assist in the equipment and tooling supply and management for their Mt Piper power station shutdown.

To summarise on the turnkey industrial solutions that Coates Hire can deliver, Jeff circles back to the company’s status as a trusted provider.

“With all of our industrial solutions, we can apply the lessons we’ve learned nationally to help clients move their project forward safely and smoothly. It’s important to recognise that we are a trusted provider that has had a solid business in this space for several decades,” he concludes. “A lot of our customers are repeat customers, because they know that when it comes to tooling, equipment, training and all these peripheral services, we’ll simply make it happen for them. We give them peace of mind.”

For more information about Coates Hire Industrial Solutions click here.

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