Horizon Platforms targets digital transformation through £1.5million investment
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Launching this month its solutions portal HireHub puts Horizon’s clients, who include DHL and Airbus, in control of getting the machinery they need on time.
This ensures their supply operations keep flowing smoothly, while rental quotes, bookings and management of multiple orders and sites become far easier.
For Wakefield-based Horizon, a rising star driving up standards in the powered access sector, going digital speeds up processing, will increase capacity by up to 20 per cent this year and also slash its admin burden.
Chief executive Ben Hirst, who cofounded the business 23 years ago after seeing a gap in the market for a reliable, quality equipment supplier, says: “Our teams can concentrate on the human element delivering our expertise, ensuring customers get correct health and safety advice and what machine is right for them. Our hub is a seamless solution with investment spread over three years, that’s built to handle the complex demands.
“Clients can be proactive in what is often reactive or time critical situations.”
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The online retail transition, accelerated by the pandemic, has seen demand increase for equipment in a market where Horizon’s main clients are in manufacturing, warehousing and logistics and food retail.
Horizon’s turnover rose to £18million last year and annual growth is expected to be 15 per cent for the next five years as it pursues a strategy with collaboration at its heart.
Seeing expansion would be best achieved through strength in numbers, Horizon, which has an equipment pool of 1,000 platforms, also leads a partner network of 29 independent suppliers with 16,000 more machines.
“We are not a broker but a conduit,” says Hirst. “The cheapest price does not necessarily deliver best value. We have four per cent of the UK market, there’s plenty of scope.”
Technology offers further potential too, such as a phone app that platform drivers can use to control equipment from a distance. Horizon is also working with a racking manufacturer on attachments that improve installation safety in warehouses. In a groundbreaking move last year the company, which has a team of 75, became an employee-owned business, with Hirst and director Rory Duggan majority shareholders.
“All companies in our industry source the same machines, it is our people and customer service that make the difference. We wanted to keep our real family ethos culture and build something for our grandchildren,” says Hirst. “It cost half of what a commercial sale might have been and it’s a wonderful incentive.”
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