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Eagle takes off

Moving into a new marketplace always carries an element of risk but to successfully establish any operation in an emerging market brings with it added challenges.

Launching in any marketplace at the moment can be difficult due to the financial insecurities countries are facing, particularly in Europe. However, from Dennis Eagle’s perspective this latest venture in Ireland came about due to a chain of circumstances that meant we needed to find a new way of supporting existing customers in Ireland - where we already had a strong presence. This came about through a joint venture with Setanta Vehicle Sales in Dublin who in turn set up Dennis Eagle Ireland to focus on the sale of our range of waste collection equipment. We have also appointed Setanta Vehicle Sales as the Irish importer of our chassis and this division will focus on chassis sales and complete Dennis Eagle RCVs.

Setanta has proved to be the perfect partner. They have a vast amount of experience in the commercial truck sector as they are the official Renault truck importer in Ireland. We therefore knew they had good contacts and a strong reputation, something which was vital to the success of this venture, especially in such a turbulent environment.  

There is a synergy between Renault trucks and Dennis Eagle vehicles. Dennis Eagle produces the low entry cab Elite chassis for several export markets with the vehicles branded and marketed as ‘Renault Access’.  The Elite chassis features the same engine as used in the Renault Access so Renault dealers around Ireland were familiar with its capabilities and were able to confidently discuss its performance with customers.  Comprehensive training was organised with the mechanics on the bodies and chassis to ensure they fully understood their workings. This also means that Dennis Eagle vehicles can be serviced throughout the country through the existing network of Renault dealerships Setanta has in place.

But even with experience and expertise, the Irish marketplace is very competitive and ever changing. When the Irish economy collapsed a large part of the refuse collection industry stopped investing in new trucks during the latter part of 2009 and 2010, and the marketplace has grown increasingly competitive over the past few years, since the change in waste management operations.

Two years ago, County Councils decided they would no longer handle the contracts for waste and recycling collection from domestic households but instead opened it up to private contractors. During this period councils across the country have adopted this approach, with Dublin City Council being one of the most recent, putting the work out to tender just six weeks ago.  

This approach to waste management is very similar to the way refuse is collected in Scandinavian countries. But unlike Scandinavia where a street or commune decides together which waste collection company they will use, in Ireland each individual household makes its choice and has a contract directly with that provider.

This method has positives and negatives. The positive is that it gives people choice but on the flipside it has led to market saturation, something which has caused concern for the Irish Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. In some areas of Dublin you can see as many as six different collection companies on the same day, collecting from estates that may only have 50 houses. Also, as in any competitive environment, the price is hotly contested. This is managed through waste being charged by weight which means that all vehicles in operation need to be fitted with a weighing system to the bin lift so customers can be accurately charged.

Waste collection and recycling in Ireland is normally segregated into two different waste streams – domestic, non-recyclable waste and dry, mixed recyclables. However we have noticed a growth in a third stream -food waste and this has been particularly apparent in urban areas.

Due to our long history of innovation, we believe Dennis Eagle has the products needed to meet the requirements of a changing market and provide the industry with vehicles that meet its needs now, but which are also versatile enough to cope with changes in the future. A great example of this is the recently launched Olympus Twin Pack which is now available in the UK and Ireland.

The vehicle can be supplied in a variety of capacities and the body can be split in a number of ways depending on the requirements of the operator. It can also be used to collect any type of waste, including kitchen waste, due to its totally separate bodies and independent operating systems. This process eliminates cross contamination and if a compartment is used to collect food waste, a ‘dam’ - in addition to hopper juice tanks - is installed to prevent liquids spilling over the bulkhead of the body on to the engine area of the chassis.

The other major consideration everyone within the waste management industry has at the moment is associated costs such as fuel, and Ireland is no different. As fuel prices reach record levels, the cost of running trucks for collection companies continues to increase. To help combat this Dennis Eagle has launched its ‘Fuel Saver Pack’ – an add-on pack and training programme that has been proven to cut fuel costs and reduce CO2 emissions.

The pack includes a number of new technologies including improved engine management, soft pack hydraulics which have been designed to help the vehicle improve its flow technology and upgraded transmission technology. In addition, drivers of the vehicle are unable to over-rev the engine as it has been fitted with a dynamic throttle control. It has only just been launched but we are expecting it to gain significant interest over the next few months.

Since launching the joint venture we have experienced positive feedback.  I think this comes down to Dennis Eagle vehicles being considered one of the best in the industry and having established a dominant presence in the low entry waste vehicle sector in Ireland with over 800 trucks in the market to date. We are also in a fortunate position that we have the facilities to keep a well stocked parts department so our customer service is of the highest standard.

Dennis Eagle is also the only company that manufactures a complete refuse vehicle but also has the flexibility to provide the chassis or body on its own. This flexible approach towards customer choice enables us to provide bespoke vehicles that are built to match exacting needs. So when the vehicles arrive in Ireland, they are complete to specification and we just finalise the legislative requirements. 

So far we have experienced some great outcomes including the sale of 30 new Dennis Elite chassis to Dublin based Panda Waste and six Olympus 27 bodies mounted on Volvo 8x4 Globetrotter chassis to AES who are based in County Kildare.

In addition, Cork based Country Clean has ordered a further two high capacity Twin Pack vehicles which are due for delivery in the next couple of months. We have already reached our sales targets within the chassis division with more orders in the pipeline. Going forward, we are looking to maintain this momentum and hopefully as the economy in Ireland and the rest of Europe stabilises we will see confidence rise enabling businesses to look to the future and plan their next steps.”

Dennis Eagle sales and marketing director Richard Taylor reports.

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