Coventry-based Clements is one of the West Midlands' largest independent plant hire firms, with over 40 years' experience in the hire business. With mini excavators forming an increasingly popular part of the company’s portfolio, and a growing business base, Clements needed to expand its machine fleet but was faced with a difficult decision.
Issues relating to its existing mini excavator brands and suppliers – including manufacturing faults, after-care problems and pricing factors – led Clements managing director Jim Longstaff to research other machine options available on the market. Top of the list was Kubota, whose reputation Jim was well aware of given his long-term association with Ben Elliott, boss of local Kubota distributor BTE Plant Sales Ltd.
"I've known Ben for last 25 years, and we’ve worked together in the past, but until recently we've had no need to employ BTE’s services," explained Jim. "Failures elsewhere in our supply chain opened the door, and BTE underlined its excellent reputation by helping us out."
BTE provided Clements with a trial machine, which proved to be ideal for the firm’s purposes. In particular, Clements valued Kubota's commitment to integrating customer-friendly features into its range, perhaps most notably the extra machine security and peace of mind provided by its unique 'ANTI-THEFT' system and their industry-leading three year warranty as standard.
Fitted as standard equipment, the Kubota 'ANTI-THEFT' device uses encoded keys to ensure that only authorised drivers can access and operate the vehicle. Having suffered incidents of theft in the past, Clements is well aware of the inconvenience and cost of having to replace stolen equipment.
"It might seem a small thing, but the fact that this is a supplier trying to do things for the benefit of its customers is something in Kubota's favour. It’d be easy to have the attitude that, if the machine was stolen, we’d have to buy another – but Kubota want us to get long-term usage, and that's a really attractive quality in a manufacturer."
Clements purchased five Kubota machines initially, comprising three 1.5 tonne KX36-3 models and two 2.5 tonne U25-3 machines.
The compact KX36-3 model has been developed to deliver efficient handling and performance over the broadest range of jobs. Versatility across all construction applications is achieved via a powerful bucket digging force, a long arm for increased dig depth and digging radius, and a well-protected boom cylinder.
For bigger jobs, the powerful U25-3 model adds further power with a travelling system designed for rough terrain, zero tail swing for working in even the tightest situations, and simultaneous operation of boom, arm, bucket and swivel.
Clements has been so impressed with the performance of the Kubota minis that it has since acquired a fourth KX36-3. Between them, the six models now account for around 25% of Clements’ mini excavator fleet.
"There’s a good reason why Kubota is No.1 in the market," confirmed Jim Longstaff. "Overall, this was the best deal, both in terms of machine quality, cost-effectiveness and standard of after-sales service. Their machines tick all the boxes."
Jim was also keen to underline the exceptional service it received from BTE. "Ben delivered everything he said they would and more. When we needed to make a small warranty claim, it was resolved immediately.
"It has been an extremely positive decision to opt for BTE. Subsequently, we’ve bought several other machines from BTE in classes not available from Kubota and they are now a preferred supplier."
BTE, with its headquarters in Markfield, Leicester, prides itself on the quality and reliability of brands offered, together with unbeatable customer service. The official Kubota distributor for Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Wirral and South/West/North Yorkshire, BTE won the Kubota Gold Service Award in 2008-9.
"I've been telling Jim how good we were for years, and I'm delighted he’s given us the opportunity to prove it!" stated Ben Elliott. "We look forward to a long and successful partnership between BTE and Clements."
Richard Harrison, Kubota (UK) Ltd – Construction Equipment sales & marketing manager, said: "This deal underlines the importance of providing mini excavator solutions that represents exceptional value for money. There must be a balance between the initial purchase and subsequent residual costs, long-term machine performance and reliability, and a robust after-care service and support package.
"BTE's reputation for taking care of its customers complements Kubota's own commitment to providing world-beating machines and offering added value to customers with standard features such as the ‘ANTI-THEFT’ system and our three year warranty," he added.
The UK, European and world leader in mini excavators, with 19 models spanning the weight range from 980kg to 8 tonnes, Kubota provides the widest choice of machines from a single manufacturer and the largest selection of increasingly popular zero tail swing minis.
Kubota excavators are well known and respected for their quality, performance, versatility, excellent residual values and exceptional dealer support, together with legendary reliability and durability.