Participants of the third round table discussion on SME leasing solutions, featuring GRENKE Leasing team and industry leaders, exploring alternative finance and sustainable growth.
THIRD ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION

PARTICIPANTS

David Horton – Managing Director of Sales, GRENKE Leasing – Discussion Chairman

Adam McGuire – Branch Leader Glasgow, GRENKE Leasing – Host

Louise Smith – Regional Sales Manager, GRENKE Leasing

Chris Lowery – Managing Director – NWR Hygiene Group

Brian Kidd – Sales Director– 1Office Equipment Limited

Kenny Friel – Director – Hitech Garage Equipment Limited

Stephen Park Brown   – Group Executive Chairman – NVT Group

Aidan Duffy – Director, Head of Connectivity and Collaboration – Softworx Limited

Jim Kane – Director – Target Communications Group Limited

GRENKE’s Lease of Life Report was created using data gathered from conversations with over 600 SME businesses around the UK about their thoughts on leasing. Alternative finance, and Leasing in particular, plays an important role in SME businesses, but this could be greater still if more businesses were aware of it and how it can help them grow.

 

The GRENKE team continue to analyse and work on key themes and findings from our original research, and also from a series of round tables. At these events, equipment resellers are invited to share their views on Leasing as a means of helping SMEs meet their growth plans. Our third event was held in Edinburgh and was attended by resellers from Scotland and the North-East of England. It was hosted and chaired by the UK’s Managing Director of Sales, David Horton, along with Adam McGuire, Branch Leader of Glasgow. They were joined by business leaders from NWR Hygiene Group, 1Office Equipment Limited, Hitech Garage Equipment Limited, NVT Group, Softworx and Target Communications Group Limited.

 

 

Let’s join the conversation.

 

 

How important is Leasing to your business model and what impact does it make to your customers’ success? Does sustainability play a role in your customers’ buying decisions?

 

 

David Horton, Managing Director of Sales, GRENKE Leasing, kicked off the discussion. “At our previous Round Table events, we focused on the need for greater education and training for our equipment reseller sales teams. Leasing makes a positive contribution to the UK economy, as our research demonstrates, but yet only 4% of the SME businesses that we spoke to are currently using it. Therefore, at GRENKE UK we are making it our mission to provide our equipment resellers with the support and service that they need to make it an even more integrated part of their sales model. The benefits of Leasing are far reaching for both equipment resellers and their customers with both parties using it to help their businesses grow in a sustainable way.

 

And so, we ask: To what extent is having a Leasing solution an important part of equipment resellers’ sales model and how do customers perceive the benefits of Leasing for their own business?”

 

Chris Lowery, NWR Hygiene Group: We provide washroom solutions, and Leasing works well for our customers. At the end of the day, they want to know how much is coming out of their bank account every month for the equipment they’re getting. But not only are they happy because they’ve got the products they need straight away, it can also give them the opportunity to consider a more expensive, higher quality option that they might not have done if they’d had to pay the entire cost at the outset.

 

Jim Kane, Target Communications Group Limited: Most of our business is done using a lease facility. It makes more sense, especially for higher value products, for a business to hang on to their working capital for more important things, so why would they lay out their hard cash when they can lease it?

 

Brian Kidd - 1Office Equipment Limited: Like Jim said, historically in the copier industry you have to provide Leasing, and so we’ve always done it. One of the positives is that it provides a great upgrade path for businesses. Customers know that, at the end of the contract they can upgrade and they’re already used to paying the monthly cost.

 

Kenny Friel, Hitech Garage Equipment Limited: I find GRENKE’s software very good. If a customer is on a three-year or a five-year deal, the software helps me to see when they’re due for a renewal and I can keep them up to date.

 

Brian Kidd: But, customers seem to prefer to own IT hardware such as laptops, because they often come with a one-year warranty, and they’d rather lease other items like VoIP systems, printers and photocopiers.

 

Adam McGuire, GRENKE Leasing: We need to keep reminding resellers about the range of equipment you can lease. Like office furniture, equipment for washrooms, garages and so on.

David Horton, Managing Director of Sales at GRENKE Leasing, leading the third round table discussion on SME leasing solutions and alternative finance.
Brian Kidd, Sales Director at 1Office Equipment Limited, sharing insights on the impact of leasing for SMEs during GRENKE's third round table discussion.
Participants of GRENKE's third round table discussion at Edinburgh’s iconic Caledonian Hotel, exploring leasing solutions, SME growth, and sustainable business practices.

Aidan Duffy, Softworx Limited: We have a Leasing cost in the proposal for all the IT hardware that we do. The education sector is interesting though because I always think that they should lease more than they do. My business partner, Alan, and I always push Leasing.

 

Kenny Friel: There’s a lot of competition in garage equipment and the internet has made it more challenging. There is definitely room to lease more. A lot of my work is with businesses that are under three years old and more needs to be done to help them. New businesses might not have an established trading history that Leasing companies want.

 

Stephen Park Brown, NVT Group: Yes, because a lot of these new businesses actually make it and don’t go bust. The alternative is buying equipment using bank finance. But then, the directors are being asked for personal guarantees, which, when they’ve already invested heavily in their business, can be a big ask. Generally speaking, people don’t have the cash right now in their businesses to buy what they need. But they do have the credit. The appetite’s different.

 

Brian Kidd: Sometimes if we’re providing kit to a new organisation, we’ll offer refurbished equipment and we’ll do it in-house. It’s a catch-22 for new businesses if they can’t Lease because they need to build up their credit history.

 

David Horton: The problem for Leasing companies with new businesses is that the underwriting process can take longer while we gather information.

 

Chris Lowery:  That’s where we can help though and we can share what we know. I had one recently that looked like a brand new start-up company. But, I sent GRENKE an email to say that the guy behind it had been a sole trader for 10 years. So I think we should work together more as a partnership on these cases.

 

Brian Kidd: Yes, because we’re on the ground within the industry and you hear what’s going on. Also, whether customers are making their regular payments or not.

 

Adam McGuire: Yes, there could be stages to this. First, working as a partnership to get the information from the customer about their investment in their business. The second part might be about altering the terms of the contract and the third part could be the support we get from you, our resellers.

 

Aidan Duffy: We do predominantly IT, mostly cloud-based services, but also audio-visual equipment and cyber security. We’ve never had anything declined in terms of new business. We take them on give them service and if they don’t pay, we switch them off. But we’ve noticed a change in the industry with some people selling month-to-month contracts.

 

David Horton: The month-to-month approach ties in with the way some office accommodation costs are going. For example, WeWork and so on. If you’re paying month-to-month, you’re reducing your risks and managing your cash flow more efficiently.

 

Aidan Duffy: Yes, now we’re through the pandemic, people are realising they don’t need all this office space. A laptop or a mobile phone works anywhere.

 

Chris Lowery: Everyone being back in the offices is helping the whole economy though.

 

Stephen Park Brown: One area that I think Leasing companies should look at is the useful economic life of kit. Computer kit doesn’t seem to be leased over a particularly long period of time. And if the customer is a well-established business and it’s making a profit, then wouldn’t you actually finance equipment over a longer period?

Kenny Friel, Director at Hitech Garage Equipment Limited, discussing the benefits of leasing solutions for SMEs during GRENKE's third round table event.
Adam McGuire, Branch Leader at GRENKE Leasing Glasgow, hosting the third round table discussion on SME leasing, alternative finance, and sustainable growth.
David Horton of GRENKE Leasing, Jim Kane of Target Communications Group Limited, and Chris Lowery of NWR Hygiene Group participating in a round table discussion on leasing solutions for SMEs.

David Horton: But supposing a deal does go pop in the meantime, what would you do with the asset? Would you go and collect it from the location where it’s kept?

 

Brian Kidd: Yes, we did have a client recently go pop and we brought the equipment back to our office.

 

David Horton: This feeds into the green economy and the recycling of kit. We don’t want warehouses full of kit because it costs us money and not selling it also costs us money. If you can get a reseller to buy kit back at a fair market value then that helps us because it changes our appetite for credit and risk. All of a sudden I’m not looking at a full loss after a year because by Leasing it a second time, we’ve got the opportunity to make some money back. Additionally, if the kit has a warranty then that’s even better. One of the main reasons customers stop paying us is when the kit stops working. But, if the manufacturer is saying it’s going to work for x number of years, then we’ll match the term with the Lease.

 

Adam McGuire: We’re seeing a huge drive within our company to go down the sustainable green tech route. Solar panels, EV chargers, anything that’s good for the environment. Are you seeing demand for this from your customers?

 

Brian Kidd: Anyone under a certain value turnover isn’t interested. If it’s the larger corporates, they’ll have a conversation, but it’s more of a tick box exercise.

 

Chris Lowery: Well at NWR Hygiene, customers want energy efficient hand dryers for example and then you go to the facilities managers and they want them hot because people complain. In terms of costs, the smaller companies just want the cheap kit. But, the bigger corporations are happier to pay for greener equipment.

 

Aidan Duffy: We push it back on the manufacturers. Prices etc.

 

Chris Lowery: That’s the biggest problem with green equipment, it’s too expensive.

 

David Horton: That brings me to what’s changing in other people’s industries.

 

Stephen Park Brown: We’re doing different products now. We are selling one called Omniflow, which GRENKE finances. It’s an intelligent energy platform. And the equipment lasts a long time – may be 25 years – which is why I think you need to be able to finance kit over a longer period of time.

 

Aidan Duffy: We’re doing more and more contact centre business at the moment. Not just the traditional agents sat at desks, but for businesses like law firms who have clients communicating with them by any means. They’ve realised that they’re losing money because they weren’t billing for the different media streams that their clients are using.

 

Kenny Friel: For me, I would probably say electric vehicles - changing batteries and safety systems.

 

Jim Kane: For us, it’s hosted voice platforms because everything’s in the cloud now. But, we still do franking machines! They’ve morphed a bit and have turned into shipping systems which access the courier companies’ systems. They print out the shipping tags etc.

 

Adam McGuire: And lockers. You see them in petrol stations now.

 

Aidan Duffy: They’re big in student accommodations. The postman comes in, scans the parcels and puts them in the lockers.

 

David Horton: How are you seeing the future for print?

Aidan Duffy, Director and Head of Connectivity and Collaboration at Softworx Limited, contributing to GRENKE's third round table discussion on SME leasing and IT solutions.
Stephen Park Brown, Group Executive Chairman at NVT Group, sharing insights on sustainable business growth and leasing solutions at GRENKE's third round table event.
Jim Kane of Target Communications Group Limited and Chris Lowery of NWR Hygiene Group discussing the benefits and challenges of leasing for SMEs at GRENKE's third round table discussion.

Brian Kidd: We’ve got three routes to market – IT, phones and copiers. We’re getting more opportunities as a number of companies – the weaker ones as well as some of the big ones - have pulled out of managed print.

 

Jim Kane: The cloud and the Internet of Things lends itself to all kinds of things – cameras, CCTVs – it’s all online. We’re doing door entry now because it works on your phone.

 

Stephen Park Brown: We’re also winning work from other parts of the UK. I call it “north-shoring” which means bringing it to Scotland from say London or Aberdeen because it’s more expensive there and cheaper in places like Glasgow.

 

Brian Kidd: Yes, we’re doing the same. We just won a new customer based in Essex and we can proactively manage the account without an engineer having to travel there. The client is happy because we’re responding more quickly and we’re reducing costs.

 

David Horton: Well that’s been a very interesting and useful discussion today. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and contribution. We’ve noted down a number of action points and we’ll be working on those. In the meantime, I’d like to close by reiterating that Leasing is available for more kit than people think and it is an efficient and effective way for businesses to manage cash flow and ultimately growth.

 

 

GRENKE Leasing provides the financial means and the flexibility to enable businesses to access the equipment at the time they need it. By opting to lease over asset ownership, businesses have the flexibility to upgrade when it best works for them whilst managing their cash flow and liquidity.

 

You can read the GRENKE Report – Lease of Life - about the impact of Leasing on the UK here. Let us know if you would like to learn more about what GRENKE can do to support your business.

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