Aberdeen based, Bear Handling Ltd specialise in handling equipment across Scotland and the oil & gas industry – the company has recently been appointed as a Hyundai forklift distributor for the region.
One of Bear Handling’s largest customers is RAM Tubulars, who is a provider of multi-recycling services to the oil, gas and construction industries. RAM has recently taken delivery of its very first Hyundai forklift from Bear Handling – the mighty 130D-9 model, which is a 13,000kg load capacity diesel machine.
Explaining about the business, Managing Director of RAM Tubulars, Jim Stewart said, “We are one of the bigger businesses in the UK which service the oil and gas industry for the disposal of used and surplus tubing and casing, which we then sell worldwide to the construction and piling industries.”
Jim added, “We also have another division that deals with certified and new OCTG which goes back into the oil field market. We probably turn over between three and four thousand tonnes per month. Our main business is in England where there is much more high-volume requirement for the construction pipes. But we are not limited to the UK – we also have a facility in Houston and in Norway.”
RAM Tubulars have been working with Bear Handling for around 10-years. The company came across the equipment handling specialists when they first started to grow the business. Jim said, “At that time we used to buy forklifts outright from various vendors. We then got involved with Bear who were able to offer purchase lease deals with all the maintenance thrown in. We started with one forklift originally and now we have six including the new Hyundai 130D-9.
Bear were able to provide three, five-year packages for the Forklifts with the full maintenance included in the deal – we much prefer this business model. We have a high volume of turnover, so we need reliable equipment.”
Being an unfamiliar brand to RAM Tubular – it took some time to convince the company to take on the Hyundai product. Jim reported, “Bear took us through the benefits they believed that Hyundai would bring. Ironically, one of the benefits of the Hyundai machine was air-conditioning in the cab, which we thought we would never need in Aberdeen, however with the weather we have been having in the last month since we got the new machine – the air-con has been running flat out and the operator is very grateful of that feature!”
Jim added, “The reversing camera is also an excellent feature of the machine, which is excellent from a H&S point of view. Also, weight load indicators are very helpful for operators for judging weights going into trucks.
Other benefits included the lifting capacity against the size of other machines and the 130D-9 machine fitted in very well.”
Jim was not the only one involved in the whole aspect of choosing the Hyundai machine, he said, “We had two or three guys that work on the site having their input into selecting a new machine as well. If they are happy with the existing machines, it’s always difficult to change to another brand they are unfamiliar with. However, they trust Bear and the recommendations they make. We have changed brands a number of times and Bear have always been proved right. So, we are quite happy to go with their recommendation of the Hyundai machines over other brands they represent – it was the right machine for us.”
“It really does not come down to price at the end of the day,” added Jim, “It’s getting the satisfaction from our supplier that the machines are reliable and that they can maintain them, and the quality of machines don’t let us down – that’s what we get from Bear.
On the maintenance side Bear are very quick to respond – even down to the small things like broken mirrors, which is not a major issue, but they are still there the following day all the same. It might not be high priority, but Bear will endeavour to be there very quickly, especially if the operator is not happy about something – so our relationship with the company works very well.”
The new Hyundai forklift is in a highly critical position and is working a minimum of eight-hours per day. Jim said, “The new machine works at the coalface of our business and we expect it to turn up every day and work – so reliability is key!
The machines on site tend to be one machine one operator – and the early feedback from the Hyundai’s operator is very good – but it will take a few months of operation for some solid feedback – but initial reports indicate that it’s a success and performing well. The tighter turning space is a big advantage. The speed limiter is also something our H&S team are very keen on. It’s all the small details that add up to make a more useful tool for us to use.”
RAM Tubular as business is continuing to grow – the company will be reviewing its business this coming October. Jim concluded, “This is when we consider renewing our equipment after year end – market conditions will dictate like everyone else. We are just in the process of extending and putting in new facilities – which is likely to put more strain on our existing fleet – so it’s possible we would need to add to our fleet and we would consider Hyundai based on operator feedback.”
John McLaren, Managing Director, Bear Handling Ltd commented on the partnership with RAM and the Hyundai brand he said, “It is fitting that one of our long-standing clients, RAM Tubulars, are the first to take delivery of our impressive new heavy duty range from Hyundai. RAM is a progressive company who require robust equipment and a quality service to back it up. We are appreciative they continue to choose Bear Handling and look forward to continuing our long and mutually beneficial business relationship with RAM.”