Diversifying for the Betterment of West Africa
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Arron Rampling
Since inception in Nigeria in 2010, MonuRent Holdings (MonuRent) has strengthened its presence in West Africa’s heavy equipment solutions sector; with initial investments in construction equipment rental, to a strategic move into the mining industry as a result of managerial changes and subsequent experience levels. “Our focus swiftly changed when Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tony Carr, joined the African operation in 2010. From here we were able to begin building meaningful relationships across the mining sector, starting with an equipment rental contract in Sierra Leone which spanned around four years,” explains Chief Operating Officer, Dan Hoppe.
In 2015, a widened geographical business scope across the two aforementioned countries, and Liberia, Botswana and Ghana, has allowed MonuRent to increase its diverse portfolio of work across West Africa as Hoppe further adds: “We have what is called an agnostic equipment supply, which is where a client comes to us with an equipment brief and we work on a rental plan that is best for the client and educate our staff 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. With our strong track record over the years, I am proud to say that we 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 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 the right questions to find the most economical fleet blend tailored for each individual project.
“With the support of both internationally recognised equipment manufacturers - like Komatsu and Caterpillar – combined with some local brands, gives us a full spread of apparatus to work on any project that comes our way,” confirms Hoppe.
Through local purchasing agreements with these companies, MonuRent is able to boost 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 good 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,” he 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. “Liberia has huge potential for us at the moment as we assist with several gold mining projects in the country. In line with this, we have invested in state-of-the-art equipment training simulators for our people which has proved not only valuable for our staff, but also the furtherance of our client’s skills as we provide the opportunity for them to use the simulator as well.
“Moreover, these training tools have proved useful for empowering women in the community, serving as a fantastic entry point for women to get into mining and associated industries,” 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 improvement,” 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 was quick to put in place impressive measures to minimise the virus’ impact on operations at Liberty Gold Mine in Liberia as Hoppe explains: “Right through the Ebola period, we managed to maintain 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,” he concludes.