Where does Kiloutou come from? How long has the company existed?
Pierre Knoche: The Kiloutou group was founded in 1980 by Franky Mulliez with the desire to become the leading French chain for the rental of small equipment and tools. It all started with 3 agencies in the North, today there are 564 in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and recently in Denmark and Portugal. Today the company has grown considerably with an expansion of its range of earthmoving, elevation and vehicle equipment and international expansion. The equipment park currently has 265.000 equipment.
What is Kiloutou's place on the market? How would you describe the evolution of the equipment rental market?
Pierre Knoche: Kiloutou is currently the 3rd European equipment rental company and 95% of customers are professionals (both major players in the construction industry, craftsmen and industrialists).
The evolution of the equipment rental market is now oriented towards the fight against global warming:
We know that 20% of the CO2 emissions of a construction site are linked to the operation of the equipment (Carbon 4 study for the FNTP - France scope). From its manufacture to its end of life, including its use and maintenance, equipment with electric motorization recharged on the network, with green hydrogen or biogas, allows up to 60% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to a thermal model.
Our main concern is therefore to be able to offer materials that are more respectful of the environment and less CO2 emitters, without compromising on their performance. Now we have to deal with an energy mix (electric, hybrid, H2 and biofuels, each of which has its limits). These new technologies are still immature (lack of charging infrastructure near construction sites, for example), but we cannot ignore them given the advantages they bring: reduction of CO2 and fine particle emissions, but also noise pollution for local residents or vibrations for companions.
These major developments also assume that we support our team members: our sales force, trained to analyze each site to determine the perfect use/performance mix; and in our workshops, our technical teams who will guarantee the sustainability of this fleet.
What innovations do you think you have brought to the sector?
Pierre Knoche: In 2007, Kiloutou formalized a major CSR strategy and in 2012 became the first lessor to establish the carbon footprint of its rentals. In 2012 we signed the Global Compact, which commits us to aligning our strategy with 10 principles relating to human rights, labor standards, the environment and the fight against corruption.
More recently, in 2021, Kiloutou launched the iMPAKT range which brings together more than 3500 electric or hybrid equipment, all listed in the Guide to Alternative Equipment, which allows customers to compare each equipment with its thermal equivalent and thus report on the savings. fuel savings and CO2 and noise emissions avoided.
At the same time, the Group launched the first edition of the Sustainable Material Meetings (RMD), which brings together manufacturers, customers and professional federations to discuss and imagine solutions for tomorrow's construction sites. Because it is obvious that to achieve our objectives of reducing carbon emissions for all, it is together that we must work.
Thanks to the studies commissioned by Kiloutou from the firms Carbone 4 and Arthur D.Little, the participants were able to weigh the pros and cons of the various alternative energies and have an overview of the energy mix projected for 2030 according to two scenarios: one conservative, the other more aggressive. They also discussed several proposals that will be made to the Government. Appointment is already given next February for the 4th edition.
And because CSR obviously includes the environment, but also people, Kiloutou has had a range of equipment dedicated to safety and ergonomics on construction sites called Kare for several years. In particular, we find the ergoskeleton - which relieves the shoulders in a high arms posture, the laser template - which creates an invisible border to avoid intrusion on risky sites, the connected vest - which prevents the risk of collision pedestrian machine, and the 0 gravity arm - which supports the weight of a tool (up to 15kg) without altering the user's dexterity. These devices are imagined and designed by partner companies and we provide our customers with all the advice and their implementation directly on the sites and construction sites.
What is Kiloutou's strategic direction in the years to come? In particular, do you have any ongoing projects in terms of digitization?
Pierre Knoche: Kiloutou launched its first showcase website in 2000. Today, it allows you to obtain a quote and reserve your equipment online. It is enhanced with video tutorials to allow users to be as independent as possible. The objective today is to make it ever more personalized for the client and to make it a real business contributor for our agencies.
In the work in progress, we are currently finalizing projects that had been put on stand-by during the health crisis, in particular Youse: an equipment sharing system that mainly targets industrial customers. The objective is to allow them, through a digital interface, to make available all the equipment owned or rented to their teams and service providers and to organize a reservation system. This makes it possible to amortize the investment, to limit the number of materials (and the emissions which accompany them) on one and the same site and to lock the responsibility of each user.
We are also continuing our partnership with Apizee for video assistance. The objective is to have our technicians intervene remotely in order to answer operational questions or minor breakdowns. Without an application to download, it allows 80% resolution in less than 4 hours and saves travel.