RFT Services has switched its entire groundscare and arborist machinery fleet to STIHL cordless tools, a move that has not only enhanced the maintenance programme of the entire grounds team, but also offered significant environmental benefits.
RFT Services is part of the Flagship Group and provides facilities and grounds maintenance to over 31,000 homes and 800 communal garden areas across the East of England. To ensure the grounds maintenance programme runs efficiently as possible, it is vital that the team utilise the most reliable, robust and best performing equipment available to meet the needs of any application all year round, even in the toughest weather conditions.
The responsibility of overseeing the 27 strong groundscare and arborist team is led by operations manager Glen Ray, who has been working at RFT Services for more than three years. With the team having used STIHL petrol machines for a number of years, and after a trial period with their local dealer GDC Ltd, Glen decided to switch to a machinery fleet made up entirely of STIHL cordless tools, and it wasn't long until the maintenance team were realising the benefits battery technology has to offer.
Glen said: "Our business is built upon delivering great service to our customers and that means ensuring more than 800 communal areas are maintained to the highest standard. For us to achieve this, it's imperative that we have to implement a rigorous maintenance programme to ensure gardens and parklands are in the best possible condition all year round for tenants to enjoy.
"Although petrol and diesel engine powered equipment is and will continue to be very popular, I was intrigued by the advancement in battery technology and the benefits this could bring to my maintenance team, especially from a noise-sensitive operation point of view.
"Previously, one of the difficulties we had as a team was that we only had certain time frames in which to carry out regular grounds maintenance tasks due to the noise level of petrol tools during operation. When operating landscaping and arborist machinery in residential areas, it's important to conduct this work when it will cause minimum disruption. Add to this that petrol machines are generally more expensive to run and maintain, I was very intrigued by battery technology and how this could potentially enhance our maintenance operations.
"After speaking to GDC Ltd, the team trialled a number of cordless tools, including the STIHL FSA 130R Brush cutter, BGA 100 Blower, HLA 85 Long reach Hedge Trimmer, HTA 85 Pole Saw, HLA 65 Hedge trimmer AR 3000 Battery and fast charger overall and the general consensus was that they were very impressed with not only how quiet the tools were during operation, so much so that they didn't need to wear ear protection, but also their performance, which was on par with petrol equivalents.
"In addition to performance, the battery tools also bring environmental benefits, which is a big plus. The team doesn't need to store costly fuel on site and all we have to do is simply replace the battery if it runs out which is very rare, helping to keep machine downtime to a minimum. We are a community driven business, so it's great that the battery technology allows us to be more sustainable in our maintenance practices.
"Since then, we haven't looked back when it comes to battery tools and have invested in a STIHL cordless machinery fleet that includes pole pruners, hedge trimmers, brushcutters, blowers, mower, and chainsaws to name a few.
"The quiet operation of the cordless tools, as well as being able to handle the toughest jobs, has enabled my team to carry out maintenance tasks at any point during the day, which has ensured we can implement a strict maintenance regime that meets the highest standards. Reliability is also a key consideration to avoid costly downtime, and the tools need to be comfortable and simple to operate so my team can carry out their work efficiently. That's exactly why we chose STIHL equipment.
"As with grounds maintenance teams, we pride ourselves on the work we carry out and strive to do this to the highest standard. The use of battery technology and the reliability of the machinery from STIHL has helped push our maintenance programme onto the next level and we look forward to carrying on our proud tradition of providing tenants with communal areas they can enjoy and relax in."
For more information on STIHL's extensive range of professional battery powered tools, please visit stihl.co.uk.