Geesink restructures to react faster and smarter

Geoff Rigg now heads Geesink Norba in the UK, and he is been preparing to meet the challenges that lie ahead for the RCV sector. He tells LAWR what is in store

The increased focus on the waste and recycling industry is creating opportunities. Our customers face new challenges and, as the market changes rapidly, doors are being opened to us that were previously closed. But to make sure we were in a position to take advantage of this, the company has had to make changes.

To set the scene, here are a few facts: Geesink Norba employs around 180 people - 80 at our South Wales headquarters and 100 in service roles around the country. We are the second biggest in the UK RCV market and, as part of the Oshkosh Corporation, are the largest in the world. And we've been around in one guise or another for a long time - we marked our 70th anniversary in the UK in 2006.

Our biggest strengths lie in the fact we have a good reputation for great after-sales service, and we also offer what is probably the biggest range of products in the industry. But we haven't always capitalised on these, so we've made significant changes to the way we run our business.

The two key developments are the introduction of a flat management structure that will help us make faster decisions to benefit our customers. And we're also developing our regional sales managers, giving them broader and more dynamic roles to become regional business managers.

Our policy of giving ownership of the business to those involved in it is already paying dividends. I've worked in many roles, and our new management team is similarly made up of very practical, hands-on people with a wealth of experience. They are very enthusiastic, and this wave of optimism and a positive thinking is trickling down throughout the company.

Of course, these changes are worthless unless they benefit our customers. We always have been very committed to customers, but we are still looking to improve on this. Specifically, we want faster lead-in times and improved customer care. At the same time, we've strengthened the engineering side of the business.

As well as strengthening our management team and services, we're also adding to our RCV range, with vehicles from 7.5-32 tonnes, including several established market leaders. The new products include the GCB 1000 Split Lift which, integrated with the popular GPM III vehicle, provides greater efficiency than can be offered by third-party lifts. The new split-lift has an improved control system that will be introduced to other products.

It has already been incorporated into Geesink's smallest RCV, the highly manoeuverable GPM Mini rear loader, which can be mounted on some of the smallest chassis available for highly efficient, domestic refuse collection. The system allows greatly enhanced control of bin lift speeds and operating parameters and much greater user control of packing pressure and payload.

The Norba MF300 multifraction rear loader is also attracting a lot of attention as increased emphasis is put on recycling and efficiency. The two sealed compartments each have their own compaction and ejector plates for efficient, independent loading and discharge of recycling material.

They use the Smart Pack System - exclusive to Norba - which enables control of bin lift speed and other functions to be independent of the loading weight. By automatically sensing how much pressure is needed to lift and pack, the
system has produced the industry's fastest packing cycles. It has the potential for impressive fuel savings, which is of increasing importance to customers.

The MF300 can be combined with an MF50 multifraction pod - a rugged and flexible side-loading collector that fits between the cab and the body to provide a three-fraction collection vehicle. The vertical bin lift and two-piece roof are PLC controlled. The watertight body enables the collection of wet materials and the high discharge position (1.75m) makes unloading much simpler.

And perhaps the most talked about development is the Geesink Norba hybrid diesel electric vehicle. We'll start trials with this early in the new year. It is an exciting time for the industry. With the public more aware than ever of waste and recycling issues, our customers and potential customers are looking closely at the products they buy and the service they get.

Geoff Rigg is UK business director at Geesink Norba

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