While GSE Plant Ltd has enjoyed strong commercial growth since its formation in 1999, the south-east-based company has perhaps been guilty of hiding its light under a bushel by not putting itself forward for any awards. This all changed recently after it was named Plant Hire Company of the Year – South East England at the Southern Enterprise Awards 2021. We caught up with Brendan Minter, Plant Director, to see how the success was achieved and find out what it means to the business.
“Traditionally we’ve not been very proactive on the award front, but we now have our own marketing manager who has been keen to promote ourselves in this area,” explains Mr Minter. “As it was the first year we’ve entered these types of awards, we were absolutely delighted to have won one at the first time of asking. It’s always nice to get positive feedback and it’s a real pat on the back for all of our 25-strong workforce. It’s great recognition of their efforts and hard work; day in, day out.”
Although awards are always welcome, the fact that GSE Plant enjoys a high degree of repeat business and has secured a substantial amount of work via word of mouth also tells a story about the high standards it adheres to. This has only been made possible by having competent and well trained employees.
“Receiving such a high proportion of work via recommendations indicates that we are doing something right and our level of repeat business is fantastic,” adds Mr Minter. “What sets us apart from many of our competitors is that as a small private family-run business we treat people as a name rather than a number. We’ve therefore built really good relationships with our customers and have have developed an excellent reputation for our service and reliability.”
Mirroring its strong relationships with its customers, GSE Plant also has close links with its own supply chain, particularly Hitachi, which supplies all its excavators. “We have been with them since the very start and they look after us extremely well. They’re not only very reliable when it comes to providing us with any parts we need, but they also have their own engineers if we ever need additional external support.”
GSE Plant Ltd began life in 1999 when it was created to support its sister business, GSE Building & Civil Engineering Ltd, before evolving to the extent that it started providing plant for third party companies. It has gone from strength-to-strength ever since. Part of this success has been due to the company not overstretching itself geographically, preferring instead to focus on Kent, Sussex, Essex and Surrey, which allows it to offer high levels of customer support from its base in Ashford.
The ongoing growth and award recognition that GSE Plant Ltd has enjoyed is an even greater achievement given that it has come at a time when the Covid pandemic has brought so many different challenges. “It was a difficult time, just like it was for everyone, and we worked really hard to come through it by making the necessary investment and implementing the appropriate safety measures,” explains Mr Minter. “Having overcome the challenges, we have recovered well and have been really busy as the construction industry works through the backlog of projects that had been paused during lockdown. There continue to be issues regarding the sourcing of parts as a result of the pandemic, but we’ve taken parts from our own machines when necessary to minimise disruption to customers.”
As it looks to make the most of the construction industry’s recovery, GSE Plant is now working to make the most of the growing list of opportunities that are coming through. Its client base encompasses everything from small independent builders through to main tier one contractors, and it is currently aiming to expand its fleet to better service its broad range of customers. It is particularly proactive when it comes to replacing plant and no equipment is kept for longer than five years, not only to keep its fleet as reliable as possible but also to ensure it is environmentally efficient too.
“We hold the FORS silver accreditation for our transport lorries, while we are also looking at electric vehicles and equipment,” concludes Mr Minter.” Sustainability is an area that we’re keen to explore as we continue to build the business further.”
This forward-thinking approach gives an indication of how GSE Plant Ltd has been able to amass over 20 years of operation. As it continues to build on this history and strengthen its reputation, further award recognition cannot be ruled out either.