THE MHM Group has opened a depot in Airdrie as part of the tool and plant hire specialist’s expansion plans.
The Scottish operation is headed up by regional business development manager Mike Grant, who told Project Plant the investment in physical premises north of the border marks an important milestone for the company.
MHM was founded in 2010. The business has grown from a small family firm to a national UK supplier of power generation, fluid storage, construction site lighting, solar and hybrid technology solutions.
As well as the opening of the firm’s first Scottish depot, MHM also exhibited at ScotPlant this year, further highlighting its ambition to grow its presence here.
“MHM has always dealt with Scottish companies but didn’t have any (physical base) in Scotland before,” Mike explained. “I joined the company about 18 months ago. Along with colleagues from different parts of the country, there was a conscious decision to expand the sales presence countrywide.
“I had a fairly successful year in my first year; I got about and spoke to a lot of people. The plan had always been to open a depot to make life a little bit easier. We can be much more reactive to a company if they are on our doorstep almost, as opposed to an eight or nine-hour drive away.
“That was the driving force behind it. I have stock available in Airdrie. We can supply at very short notice to the hire market. In Scotland, the hire market is very reactive, so they need fast reaction times, which is what we’re trying to achieve.”
Mike revealed that the plan ‘most definitely’ is to have an in-house engineer working out of the Airdrie office to help with servicing equipment and deliveries.
He believes the MHM product range is well suited to the plant and tool hire market generally, so in that respect expanding into Scotland made sense.
“We all need generators; we all need fuel tanks; we all need tower lights,” he added. “Our equipment is what we class as ‘ready to rent’ – it’s all robust and designed to withstand the rigours of the rental market. That goes for the entire country. If we have the right equipment, at the right price, in the right place, at the right time, then it’s suited to the Scottish market.”
MHM, which grew staff numbers by 60% over two years despite the pandemic, has invested heavily recently in bolstering the sustainability credentials of its product offering. The business confirmed earlier this year it had landed a bronze award for its carbon reduction projects at the Green World Awards. The firm also secured a Gold Green Apple award for pollution and emission reduction and is a Green World ambassador.
The eco-friendly solutions include solar hybrid generators and lighting towers. Currently, more than 30% of equipment available from MHM is either solar or hybrid-powered and the firm has set itself ambitious targets to cut its own emissions and be carbon neutral by 2030.
“MHM is striving to be at the forefront of sustainable products,” Mike said. “Some customers are driving forward with the fact they want sustainable equipment. In the next 3-5 years, there will be a huge amount more. MHM as a company is well ahead of the game.
“At the moment, demand is still strong for conventional equipment. If the customer is asking for conventional equipment, that’s what we’ll give them.
“We can demonstrate and offer trials of sustainable equipment. We offer a 6kva and a 10kva generator, which has stop/start technology. It’s not a massive leap for an end user to have the 6 or 10kva generator sitting in the yard.
“On a conventional building site, what happens is the builders arrive at 7.30-8am, switch the generator on, make a cup of tea, then go and get a bag of cement, then go and get something else. By about 9am the generator has been running for an hour-and-a-half before anything has been plugged in to use it. That goes on all day. You have a generator that runs for 50 hours a week and probably only works for 10 or 15 hours. With our power-on-demand solution, you switch the generator on and nothing happens until you plug the tool in. It will run as long as they need it to run. When they stop, it will shut down.”
Despite supply chain challenges and labour shortages impacting the construction sector at present, Mike is confident that exciting opportunities exist to grow the MHM brand further.
That optimism grew following a hugely successful ScotPlant 2022, where the company’s products received positive feedback.
“Construction is still very strong at the moment,” he added. “As a consequence of that, tool and plant hire is still very strong.
“Sustainability is huge. People are upgrading their fleets to make them more economical. There are a lot of opportunities for the fuel tank market. We’re very conscious of the cost of white diesel. Theft is going to be a big problem, so customers are taking steps to make sure their very expensive white diesel is safe and not left on exposed sites at nights and weekends.
“We had very good feedback, some very positive comments (at ScotPlant). We are known in Scotland and have been known for some time. People are pleased to see us in Scotland and are happy with our products. Not only are we in Scotland, we’ve also just opened a depot in the north east of England and another one is about to open in Coventry. The MHM growth is spreading across the country.”