ERA President Stéphane Hénon on the achievements of the first ‘European Rental Week’
08 November 2023
As president of the European Rental Association and managing director of Loxam, Stéphane Hénon is no stranger to the challenges and opportunities facing the European rental industry, so we asked him to elaborate on some of the most critical issues
The European rental industry celebrated its very first European Rental Week, Oct. 9-15, with the theme “Investing in People.” The goal was to highlight the important role personnel plays in the industry’s mission to provide solutions.
In line with theme, the industry also promoted the opportunities, careers and training available to people from all backgrounds.
To find out more about the event and the achievement of its goals, we spoke to Stéphane Hénon, president of the European Rental Association and managing director of Loxam.
Rental Briefing: Why was the theme “Investing in People” chosen for the first-ever European Rental Week?
Henon: We decided for the first European Rental Week to take the theme from the ERA Convention, which was “Investing in People.” This is because it is a key topic for our industry, as well as a core component of ERA’s strategy. We have great people in our industry and we will always need great people because, as a service industry, it is our people who bring us success and drive us forward.
Rental Briefing: How was this theme demonstrated throughout the week?
Henon: There was a lot of activity on social media and a lot of videos, especially in profiling the great people we have in the industry and showcasing the careers that are available. It was really good to see a lot of companies from across Europe embracing this topic, but it isn’t entirely surprising as we all really value our people.
We also hosted the ERA webinar on the topic at Loxam in Paris, which discussed some of the challenges and opportunities for the industry when it comes to attracting and retaining people, and there were other events, both online and within communities, to raise awareness of the industry, although we don’t have the full picture of this yet.
Rental Briefing: How does the ERA feel the event came off? Did it achieve its goals?
Henon: ERA is very happy with how the week went, with the level of participation and the enthusiasm with which the industry across the continent, and even beyond Europe, embraced the idea. Considering that it still isn’t a year since the idea was first discussed and only around six months since the European Rental Week was formally approved by the ERA Board, the level of activity during the week is remarkable. We have achieved a lot in a short space of time, which gives us hope that next year’s European Rental Week will be even bigger and even better.
Rental Briefing: What was the primary takeaway for rental businesses?
Henon: Celebrate yourselves, celebrate your people and celebrate your industry, whether you’re a big company or a small company. The rental industry is everywhere. It provides opportunities for people of all backgrounds, as well as essential solutions to businesses and communities. We should celebrate these things, make more people aware of the great things
that we accomplish and we can have a bigger impact if we do it together.
Rental Briefing: Besides the topic of personnel, what other issues does the ERA believe to be critical for the rental industry right now?
Henon: ERA’s main strategic goal in the coming years is to improve the attractiveness of the rental industry. A key part of this, as we have discussed, is people, but the other main aspects are sustainability and finance. Equipment is changing and technology is changing.
The green transition brings many opportunities, and we need to keep raising awareness of the sustainability benefits that our industry provides, but there are also challenges in terms of electrification and greening fleets, as well as new reporting requirements that are coming in at EU level.
On the financial side, we need to make sure our industry remains profitable. The recent difficulties with inflation, rising equipment costs and supply chain problems have not gone away, so the challenge is to remain resilient to these pressures and for companies to find opportunities within a difficult economic environment.
Rental Briefing: What is planned for next year’s European Rental Week? Has a theme been chosen?
Henon: The goal for next year’s European Rental Week (October 14-20, 2024) is very much to build on the success of this year, for more activities and more involvement from the industry. The theme for next year is an open question for now and we’re always open to suggestions, but it will be discussed soon within ERA and hopefully we’ll have an announcement in good time. Whatever it is, the aim will still be to give as much visibility to the rental industry as possible.