Q&A with Sean Clemens of Atlas Copco Rental UK

Industry Insights

Q&A with Sean Clemens of Atlas Copco Rental UK

14th September 2021

Atlas Copco Rental UK, part of Atlas Copco Group, specialises in the provision of state-of-the-art temporary compressed air, nitrogen, power modules, industrial boilers, and services. A total solution provider, Atlas Copco Rental UK operates nationwide across a breadth of industries including oil and gas, manufacturing, power, chemicals, and food and beverage.

Sean Clemens, UK Sales and Business Development Manager for Atlas Copco Rental UK, joined the company in 2016 as Sales Engineer for the South East prior to being promoted to his current role in 2020.

Here Sean talks to Horizon Works about how the company has maintained its growth plans, as well as its high-quality customer service, throughout the pandemic.

How has your business been impacted over the pandemic?

As with most businesses, we of course have been impacted by the pandemic over the past 18 months. We have had to adapt the way in which we work whilst maintaining our high standards of customer service and support. Microsoft Teams has been critical to how we have adapted to the pandemic, as it allowed us to work from home whilst maintaining effective communication. It has been a great tool to host internal meetings, as well as customer meetings which would have typically been face to face. As we are a close-knit team, it enabled us to keep in touch and have the everyday interaction we would have had prior to the pandemic, albeit on a virtual platform.

This aside, the number of projects and customers we have supported has not been negatively impacted, as most of our customers are classed as key business sectors and have maintained production throughout the pandemic.

Have you diversified or launched anything new as a result?

In the height of the pandemic, Atlas Copco Rental launched a virtual event called ‘Power to Choose’. This was a virtual event where customers could speak to our sales and marketing teams, learn more about our services and solutions, and to discover more about our current and upcoming product range. The event was very successful with thousands of customers and potential customers in attendance. The event remains online so customers can log back in at a time that suits them to browse the content and get in touch with us. Visit: http://www.powertochoose.eu/ if you would like to check this out for yourself.

Where have you seen most growth across the business and where do you see future growth?

Thankfully, we have seen growth in most of our business areas, in particular we have seen increased growth in pharmaceutical and chemical applications.

As we are ever expanding throughout the UK, it is natural that we need to increase the workforce to support this growth. We have recruited a new Rental Sales Engineer for the South East, and an additional Rental Desk Co-Ordinator within the past few months. We are also currently recruiting for a Specialist Steam Rental Sales Engineer to support our steam business.

There are multiple areas of growth for Atlas Copco Rental in the coming years. In the offshore industry there is a shift toward more renewable energy. From Class Zero certified oil-free compressors to compact power generators, we offer a breadth of innovative and robust rental solutions for the offshore wind sector, so there is potential for further growth in this sector.

Onshore, I believe people are becoming more focussed on electrically powered equipment and even in the coming years, hydrogen powered equipment will begin to be more prevalent in all areas, I believe. Atlas Copco is already ahead of the curve with both technologies as we are committed to providing the most efficient and sustainable solutions on the market.

Trade shows are coming back – how has this impacted over the past year / how do you see them operating differently in the future?

We have been impacted in the sense that we have not been able to physically attend or exhibit at any show which has been a great shame. We are engaged with several industry networks throughout the UK such as RenewableUK, NEPIC, Chemicals Northwest and Decom North Sea, and where appropriate we did maximise on the virtual events held by some of these networks.

We are exhibiting at the upcoming CHEMUK, 15-16 September at the NEC, Birmingham, and Global Offshore Wind, 29-30 September at ExCeL London. We are looking forward to being able to connect with fellow industry professionals, in a face-to-face capacity once again.

In the future I don’t envisage there being a drastic change to trade shows as people still see the value of the physical events and exhibitions. That said, I do think we will see an increase in virtual events such as our ‘Power to Choose’, however overall, I believe trade shows will be business as usual in the coming years.

How has the company innovated to meet changing customer demands?

As well as our ‘Power to Choose’ event, we have supported customers virtually in other areas too. During the pandemic there were occasions when our engineers were not permitted on customer sites due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, however the installation of equipment was still required. To overcome this, we offered virtual installs. In these circumstances, our engineers prepared a detailed step by step guide explaining how to install the equipment, including supporting pictures. The customer was then assigned a dedicated engineer who would video call the customer and talk them through every step to ensure the equipment was set up and installed correctly. Of course, it was not ideal but for such unprecedented times, it was a great way of giving the customer confidence in the installation in the absence of our engineers being able to attend the site in person.

What role does marketing have in engaging with new customers and prospects?

I am a big believer in marketing and its importance to business development. We are always looking at new ways to keep our customers and prospects up to date with our solutions and services to ensure we are ‘first in mind, first in choice’.

What’s been your biggest success over the past year?

Our biggest success over the past year, in my eyes, has been that we have been able to keep such a high morale in the team throughout such a difficult time. Our entire team from sales engineers and rental desk staff, to accounts and service engineers, to name but a few, have been fully engaged and committed throughout the past year which is a credit to the amazing staff we have here at Atlas Copco Rental.

What are you looking forward to over the next year?

Normality! I think I speak for the majority of people when I say I am looking forward to a sense of normality again. COVID has brought its challenges and out of which some positives have been gained such as the way we now work with Microsoft Teams. I am however ready to go back to more face-to-face meetings with both colleagues and customers, whilst integrating Teams into our ‘normal’ way of working.

Horizon Works supports Atlas Copco Rental UK with a full marketing suite of activity including public relations, content marketing and design. Read our case study here >