He highlights: “For the older units, the parts are more expensive, and the bigger equipment is more expensive than the smaller units. We have maintenance contracts with the main suppliers, but now, after a year-and-a-half or two years, we change our fleet: we buy new ones and sell the old ones.”
Asked if RAK PWSD ever keeps equipment now for its full working life, Al Hammadi notes: “We used to do that in the past, but not anymore; now three to four years is the maximum. Out in the market you may find 10 or 20 operators that still do that. People used to do the same thing with cars — they would use the car until the end of its life. But we now certainly sell the old ones and buy new ones.”
RAK PWSD’s other resource is its people, and another way in which it is working to improve its fleet is in the training of its drivers.
Activities like the plot levelling are also intensive in terms of manpower, and RAK PWSD has a special work group that works day and night in three shifts to finish each successive levelling in the required time.
Al Hammadi notes: “If you train your drivers and watch their behaviour, this affects how they manage your maintenance. When they feel they are patrolled, they will go more for the preventative maintenance — they’ll make sure that they see the necessary signs.
“I think it helps a lot when people think: ‘Okay, there is a control room — somebody is calculating the distance I’m doing and how hard I’m having to push the pedal.’ I have no doubt that this has already clicked.”
One of the next steps in the development of his fleet capabilities will be to hire a dedicated fleet manager. Al Hammadi adds: “We are still developing. We have a target, within three to four years, to be number one in the UAE — though if we can’t be the best, that’s okay.”
On the subject of being the best, Iveco is viewed at RAK PWSD as part of the trend. Al Hammadi notes: “We now have experience with Iveco since I don’t know when, but since I joined it has been Scania and Iveco. They have their spare parts, maintenance, training — so many things — and they have been the best.”
Paraphrasing HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, he notes: “You don’t have to compare yourselves to others; you have to overcome yourself and your problems. If you are busy with others you will get lost — so set your own targets, and if you can compete against yourself, you will be successful.”
As for Al Hammadi’s plans for RAK PWSD, he wouldn’t mind it looking something like the RTA in the not-too-distant future.