Plant and machinery leasing eyes digital future

In recent months, plant and machinery leasing has seen a range of technological and financial developments, including autonomous ‘smart’ equipment, intelligent machines, battery powered equipment and more. Athena Chrysanthou speaks to industry experts to find out more… 

These developments over time have been designed to improve efficiency in the industry, speeding up processes and preserving resources.

Richard Gendreau, head of markets and partnerships, equipment and logistics at BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions, believes that the introduction of smart farming will change the market landscape over time with improved efficiency and a reduction in water and fertiliser usage. Elsewhere, smart excavators and bulldozers have a built-in ability for greater accuracy of digging or grading in, further improving farming practices.

The introduction of digital services will also serve to benefit the equipment finance market, as client journeys will benefit from a smoother feel, said Gendreau. He adds: “These combine automated decisions, electronic documentations and e-signatures.”

Meanwhile, Andy Sagar, managing director at Close Brothers Asset Finance observed that smaller plant equipment has moved to a more battery-based system, at the expense of diesel. The greener solution includes solar generators to recharge the batteries.

“We have a customer who’s working in rail and they recharge their generators during the day for the night shift,” Sagar noted. “We’re also seeing solar night lights that are changed during the day to allow for overnight work.”

A similar power-saving trial occurred in Sheffield where a local waste collecting firm converted two diesel lorries into electrically powered vehicles, according to Sagar.

“The scheme will repurpose existing waste lorries and turn them into electric vehicles powered by energy made by burning the rubbish they can’t recycle. Household waste collected by these new lorries will be taken to the Energy Recovery Facility and here the waste will be burnt in the incinerator situated underneath a large boiler which generates steam to power a turbine.”

The digital age

Kevin Bovington, vendor relationship director at Société Générale Equipment Finance (SGEF), said ‘intelligent’ machines are driving the leasing world into the digital age.

Suppliers now have state-of-the-art machines that provide data on performance, location, maintenance and serving requirements, Bovington explained. “Similarly the finance industry has developed a range of digital tools to improve efficiency, to enhance point of sale delivery, to quote, to credit score, to approve and to finalise the document with e-signatures.”

Though political shifts and Brexit uncertainty may be causing ripples in the plant and machine leasing industry, technological leaps are working towards a better future for the sector.

The most exciting prospects of the industry are not only making it more efficient, but the reduction of carbon footprint and fuel dependency will aid the ever growing climate crisis.


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