Andrew Auns
Vice-President and General Manager
Williams Scotsman
View from the Top

Modular Buildings Still Meet Rigorous Standards

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 11:56

Q: As the modular construction space includes important national and international players, what is Williams Scotsman doing to stay ahead of its competitors?

A: We are focusing on investing in our organization and asset base to ensure we provide the best customer service in the industry. We know that the timeframe between when a customer is awarded a project and when it needs our products is short, so we are expanding our fleet and product offering to ensure we have the right products available to service our customers’ needs as they emerge. We are also excited about the introduction of new products like Moduflex to the Mexican market. Finally, we continue to be a full solution provider. We are not just offering the space our customers need but also the products that go into that space, such as furniture. These products serve as an added value since they allow the company to provide a turnkey solution.

Q: How can Williams Scotsman help its customers make their operations more efficient?

A: Ultimately, the best way we can help our customers be more efficient is by being a full-solution provider. We leverage our scale to provide solutions for projects that could require something as small as five units up to hundreds of units in a very short period of time. This means that customers will not fall behind in their project timeline. Finally, we are starting to leverage the expertise of a sister company called Target Logistics in North America, which is an expert in workforce accommodations for the oil and gas and mining industries. In Mexico, we are looking to grow in this market to become a true turnkey provider. We feel we are experts in assets and in space solutions, but we can also become an expert in 360° customer services within that space. If a mining company needs to set up a camp in six weeks, we can come in and operate it almost like a hotel. We have the experience of doing so in very large projects in Canada, in Australia, and in the US, as well as some smaller projects in Mexico.

Q: What enables Williams Scotsman to be highly efficient in terms of logistics and transportation?

A: We have 13 locations throughout Mexico, which is something unique. In terms of size, our fleet is bigger than some of our close competitors. Our best advantage is our ability to identify demands in the market and to utilize our capacity to transform our units by modifying and refurbishing them to our customer’s needs in a short period of time. We can also provide mobile products across multiple solutions in hard to reach places. For example, we introduced Moduflex to Mexico last year, which has been successful in providing new options to our clients’ traditional construction needs.

Q: What solutions does Williams Scotsman provide in order to optimize the use of scarce resources such as electricity or water without affecting comfort?

A: An environmental advantage of modular and temporary space solutions is that we provide options that can be dismantled and removed after use. This allows for locations to be restored to their original form without leaving residual buildings that can cause environmental damage or violate environmental legislation. Secondly, as we upgrade and expand our fleet, we continue to specify the best and most efficient materials while working with our customers to identify any special needs, such as double tank toilets that can help save on water.

Q: What are the advantages of renting Williams Scotsman products instead of buying them?

A: This really depends on the nature of the project and the needs of our customer. If the product is only going to be used for a short period of time, such as six months to a few years, it makes more sense to rent. Companies go through different phases. In the exploratory phase, a company may only need a few small and nimble units for a short period of time. It will then switch to larger units and add different products as the production site is constructed, before transitioning to a more semi-permanent solution after the site is established. We can provide various rental options to support each phase and help the customer determine the best long-term solution as their needs become more permanent. There are also certain situations where we provide both rentals and sales. Our core competency is leasing but it all comes down to how long clients intend to use our units, whether they want to capitalize on a purchase option or have us do it for them, if further uses for our units will be found, and whether it is worth investing in relocating those units. However, we really try not to influence a client’s final decision, we provide options for them to choose from and highlight the benefits of each.