Fri, 31/07/2015 - 12:35
Current Issue 58
MonuRent has developed a total equipment rental and services solution for mining, construction and agriculture companies wishing to operate in challenging environments
Listening to Clients
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Arron Rampling
MonuRent was founded in 2010 by a group of seasoned international and African Investors who recognised a distinct gap in the market when it came to delivering world-class equipment and services to the developing markets in Africa.
“Whilst our business was initially focused on the Nigerian construction sector MonuRent has quickly grown to become a sector leader in the rental of large mining equipment, delivering equipment and services in Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Botswana and Nigeria with further expansion plans unfolding year on year as the MonuRent story gathers momentum,” explains MonuRent Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dan Hoppe.
The MonuRent model is all about listening to client’s requirements, and working together to offer a tailored solution that delivers value and certainty with guaranteed uptime of equipment, assisting clients to deliver projects on time and on budget, whilst freeing up capital to enable clients to focus on their core business.
This value proposition stretches beyond equipment rental, with an offering of engineering services to assist clients in the development of feasibility studies and project plans; complete with equipment optimisation schedules that enable clients to select and change designated fleets to deliver the most economical option for any given project, without the duplication of costly resources.
Aureus Mining - A step Change
The supply and support of a total fleet and project solution worth $44 million for Aureus Mining in Liberia was a pivotal point in the MonuRent development story, having worked with the Aureus team in the early exploration and construction phases, delivering in a geography with extremely limited infrastructure.
Hoppe explains the confidence shown by Aureus in selecting MonuRent as a partner was the result of hard won gains in very challenging environments: “Soon after the award and mobilisation we were hit with the Ebola virus in Liberia which threatened to derail MonuRent’s expansion plans and our client’s project.
“Working closely with the Aureus team we were able to dig in and develop project plans that enabled us to collectively keep the wheels turning when many around us had ground to a halt. The challenges don’t come any greater than developing a business in the environment we have experienced in the last 18 months, and we are extremely proud of our achievements alongside our clients.”
David Reading, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aureus Mining adds: “Although the fleet rental model in mining is an established global concept, this is the first example on such a scale of its implementation in West Africa.
“MonuRent have been involved in the New Liberty project throughout the construction stage and have shown its commitment to the project by continuing to deliver during difficult conditions. We were pleased to be able to build upon the successful relationship that has developed between the two companies whilst moving into the production and operational phase.”
From this beginning to 2015, a widened geographical business scope across the two aforementioned countries - as well as Liberia, Botswana and Ghana - has allowed MonuRent to increase its diverse portfolio of work across West Africa as Hoppe further adds: “We have an agnostic approach to equipment supply and support, which begins when a client comes to us with a project brief and we work on a plan that is best for the client, regardless of brand, and our staff execute accordingly.
“Our interoperability across mining, quarrying, construction, infrastructure and agriculture works is just one of our unique selling points.”
Boasting 350 rental assets across Africa at present, predominantly serving the mining industry via long-term projects, MonuRent is demonstrating its ability to diversify its offering with the future of West Africa’s economy in mind.
A key advantage of doing business with MonuRent is the Company’s ability to offer an end-to-end rental service, including front-end management services which is something Hoppe is particularly proud of: “Our reliable, safe and efficient equipment is complemented by an all-inclusive service offering including aspects such as application management and maintenance engineering.
“With our strong track record over the years, I am proud to say that we also have the financial ability to fund large scale projects, which consequently benefit from comprehensive training opportunities, availability guarantees and a cost-effective maintenance service,” he says.
In West Africa, maintenance of machinery is sometimes still considered a cost-heavy aspect of mining. However, MonuRent provides this service for a fixed cost to its customers via the MonuRent Fleet Option, “taking away some of the business and logistics headaches to let clients focus on what they are best at”.
Influenced by equipment trends in the global mining and construction sectors, MonuRent utilises enormous depth of experience, capabilities, skills and resources to provide clients with leading integrated equipment solutions.
“We like to get involved with a project as early as possible; ideally in the pre-feasibility stages, where we ask questions to find the most economical fleet blend and support options tailored for each individual project,” confirms Hoppe.
“With the support of both internationally recognised equipment manufacturers - like Komatsu and Caterpillar – combined with some local brands, we have a full spread of apparatus to work on any project that comes our way.”
Through local purchasing agreements with these companies, MonuRent is able to boost is local content levels, proudly maintaining a 92 percent local staff level itself.
Further to this, all aspects of financing are dealt with by African banks, which Hoppe added that their attitude towards business has resulted in fantastic support levels.
“For us, it is about searching for the right suppliers locally who can demonstrate that they can provide the right stock levels and quality before joining our supply chain. From here it is then an education process to bring them in line with our company ethos and fulfil expectations,” the CEO highlights.
Comprising just shy of 300 people, with key seniors within the organisation being of African origin, MonuRent is committed to investing in the industry trends which serve to drive the necessary training initiatives forward.
“West Africa has huge potential for us at the moment as we assist with several gold mining projects in the region. In line with this, we have invested in state-of-the-art equipment training simulators for our clients which has proved not only valuable for our staff, but also the furtherance of our clients’ efficiencies and reduction in their overall cost base.
“Moreover, these training tools have proved useful for empowering women in the community, serving as a fantastic entry point for women to get into the mining and associated industries, an initiative we have worked on very closely with our major clients,” details Hoppe.
By integrating various levels of technology into its training processes, MonuRent is making an active and easily scalable contribution to skills development in West Africa. “And you can’t take your finger off the pulse in Africa; through front line mentoring, skills transfer and external training policies, we are culturally empowering people towards self-management,” he adds.
Particularly in Liberia, this has not come without challenge as the recent outbreak of Ebola has plagued the country and the surrounding West Africa region. However, MonuRent, as a founding member of the Ebola private sector working group, was quick to put in place impressive measures to minimise the virus’ impact on operations at New Liberty Gold Mine in Liberia as Hoppe explains: “Right through the Ebola period, in conjunction with our client, we managed to maintain more than 170 staff free of the virus, including all expats in the country throughout this period as well.
“This can be attributed to our high standard and adherence to health and safety practices, making sure to filter this message right through our workforce.”
For MonuRent, it has become second nature to tackle any cultural challenges when integrating into communities; and the Company has been able to show the areas in which it operates that initiatives for the betterment of local people have become second nature.
“It became quickly apparent that you cannot move into a developing country without recognising in some way that you are a guest in the country. West Africa is not the easiest of places to do business given the fluctuating social and political environments, but it is very satisfying when things go right as you get a great sense of achievement and a feeling of real value,” emphasises Hoppe.
Going forward, MonuRent will continue to move sustainably from project to project, maintaining its corporate culture and firm client focus.
“In such a relationship-driven environment, it has taken considerable attention to detail and hard work to make sure our value proposition differentiates us from the competition in the mining space, both now and into the future,” the CEO concludes.