In the past few years, the industrial equipment industry has not only seen an accelerating trend of consolidation within the supplier community, but also an expansion of the range of products and services offered under one roof. This has created true “one-stop shops” that are able to service customers’ needs from one stable.

Convenience is one of the many reasons why today’s equipment buyers prefer to purchase goods and services from a one-stop-shop. Instead of having to go to multiple businesses, they can just go to one location for all of their needs. Apart from convenience, dealing with a single supplier for a whole range of equipment needs means faster turnaround times for increased uptime.

A one-stop shop supplier can bundle a broad range of services and limit the amount of interfaces necessary for the customer. This approach eliminates the need for the end user to manage a number of different suppliers with different points of contact and different quality management systems.

Our business model at Shumani Industrial Equipment is exactly informed by this. We are the only supplier that, from under one roof, can offer forklifts and material handling equipment; cleaning equipment; access equipment; compact construction equipment; engines, generators and agricultural equipment; as well as compressed air solutions. This has allowed us to serve several sectors, including mining, construction, industrial, warehousing and manufacturing, among others. It is also worthwhile to note that Shumani is the only 51% black-owned and managed business in this market.

A level 2 BBB-EE company, Shumani represents leading international brands in various sectors. For example, through our distributorship agreement with Goscor, we distribute Crown, Doosan, Bendi, Hubtex and Taylor Dunn (forklifts and materials handling equipment); Bobcat (compact & construction); Tennant, Elgin, Maer, Delfin, Kaivac and HighPoint (industrial cleaning equipment); HPower, Weima, Meiwa and Rato (industrial power solutions); Genie (aerial lift equipment); Sullair and Ozen (compressed air solutions), among many others. We are also a distributor of Kalmar Equipment.

These brands are also complementary by their very nature. For example, in a typical warehousing environment, your typical tools of trade are your different types of lift trucks, which we offer from one stable, but there is also need for various types of cleaning equipment, which we also offer in-house. On a construction site, we can also supply anything from an excavator, through to a 58 m access platform for working at height. The list goes on.

Apart from the extensive product range, we also have an extended scope of services, all the way from outright purchases and short and long-term rentals (Bobcat equipment & forklifts), to full maintenance leases and full technical support.

Our business model is informed by the understanding that in today’s operating conditions, suppliers of equipment must be able to offer different solutions to suit different needs of varying groups of customers. For example, the dilemma of buying versus renting often arises when equipment needs are in question. There are pros and cons to each side, and there is no right or wrong in these options, but a one-stop-shop supplier can be able to, not only to advise what suits the customer, but to actually offer the right holistic solution.

Rental is a perfect fit for short-term jobs when companies want to meet unplanned or infrequent equipment needs. If companies need a piece of equipment regularly enough over its estimated useful life, the case to purchase it outright is probably strong. For example, rental fits the bill for contracts of a year or less, while anything beyond that may make a strong case for buying.

In our case, we have actually seen a growing need for our rental services over the four years we have been in business. Companies understand that they need to focus on their core businesses, rather than having capital equipment assets sitting on their balance sheets. In that case, we have seen a growing trend towards renting equipment, rather than buying, more so for blue-chip companies. For this reason, about 90% of our business at this stage is rental, mostly on a long-term basis.

In conclusion, I am of the view that single source alliances when it comes to the procurement of industrial equipment – where one reputable supplier services all these needs – can help customers gain a competitive and cost advantage.