The world’s largest Caterpillar dealer, Finning UK is getting up close and personal with its customers at its Cat Compact Store. Construction Plant News reports on a new concept in plant sales.

The automotive sector has long learned that it is customer service that keeps its clients coming back, and operates some of the slickest retail propositions our economy can boast as a consequence. For small businesses in particular a piece of construction plant might well be the largest single investment that business owner ever makes in their firm, which is why Finning UK is looking to emulate the culture of car sales with its Ready2Go and Cat Compact Store initiatives.

“The Ready2Go concept centres on a very clear and transparent offering to the customer,” explains the Cannock-based company’s Janine Turner. “They’re prepped and available next day, supplied with a two year service and maintenance guarantee, as well as a two year warranty, and flexible finance that can be tailored to a customer’s circumstances.”

Ready2Go was unveiled to the machinery-buying public at Plantworx and is an idea that’s since been warmly received by the industry, but it was at that event that Finning realised it could do even more to connect with new and existing clients, especially from the SME sector, as Janine explains. “A show like Plantworx gives us the opportunity to showcase our compact plant, but it also allows potential buyers to experience what they can do for themselves in the demonstration area. Not only that but they can talk to experts about just what they want from a piece of plant, and even get an overview of finance options, all in a comfortable environment. That’s exactly what we’re looking to translate to the Cat Compact Store, with a try before you buy approach a fundamental principle. We want the likes of landscapers, groundworkers and owner/operators to make use of this facility because that’s an audience that this concept lends itself very well towards.”

Whilst Finning UK’s head office is the location for the first of these new concepts in plant showrooms, the company envisages that there could be four or five more of its existing sites that will eventually accommodate a Cat Compact Store. Strategically, located around the country Glasgow, Cardiff, and Winsford in Cheshire have already been earmarked, with the potential for more if it is demonstrated that demand can sustain them. Both around and within the compound, all the units currently included in the retail proposition are displayed. Each of the machines is clearly marked with a price, whilst used equipment under the Ready2Go Again banner also features information on hours of usage and age. Not only that but there are product managers and a dedicated external sales team on site to answer any questions.

Today, it is easier than ever to own a piece of plant, a fact reflected in the sales of mini excavators in particular. These compact machines have seen some of the biggest increases in sales in recent years, and Ready2Go now offers four options – the Cat 301.4C, 301.7D CR, 302.7D CR, 305E CR and 308E CR, with operating weights from 1,470kg up to 8,400kg. The whole Cat concept is designed to make that purchase even easier, allowing the contractor to break free from rental.

“The ambition is to be as flexible as possible,” continues Janine, “and to help the customer acquire a solution that’s right for their business. “That’s why we can organise for one of the machines here to be sent out to site for longer, week long trials to ensure it’s fit for purpose.” Everything in the Ready2Go stable is at least next day delivery but Finning UK can also sell trailers with its compact excavators, allowing customers to tow purchased machinery away behind their own pick up truck.”

Clearly there is significant room for growth and there seems little reason why the consistency of the specification that the current Ready2Go machines demonstrate could not be applied to larger excavators up to 13 tonne, whilst there are other products that could be brought into the portfolio. Already the Cannock Cat Compact Store has found its place in the market, having already played host to 10 customer demonstrations in its first three weeks of opening.

These days, thanks to the internet, even the very smallest contractors are able to approach a potential purchase with a wealth of information and make savvy decisions on what they require from a construction plant purchase in the process. Moreover, if a contractor is winning new work, and is in need of additional machinery as a consequence, then the flexible finance options within the Finning solution allows them to make that expansion through owning rather than hiring. What Ready2Go, supported by the Cat Compact Store, allows is for that whole journey to be completed quicker than ever before. “The message to SME customers is that the Cat Compact Store is a resource for them to utilise,” enthuses Janine, “and we can deliver machines to any timescale our customers require.”

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