Mark Sawyer, Commercial Director of CPL, talks to LAPV about the importance of getting the right cherry picker for the job in a changing regulatory landscape.

Last October, Dudley City Council were celebrating the installation of more than 1,000 LEDs in the borough in the first month of a three-year replacement programme. The local authority aims to install around 24,000 of these energy efficient street lights by the end of what it describes as an ‘invest to save project’.

The work was carried out by the specialist street lighting installation and maintenance providers, Hilton Main, with the help of two CPL K38p Van Platforms. The K38p is a 13.8m platform with a maximum outreach of 8.2m. Its two-man basket can hold up to 200kg making it perfect for an operator, tools and discarded larger street lamps. In other words, it is the ideal tool for the job.

CPL’s cherry pickers or access platforms have been used to help drive change in local authority areas across the country. A product of post-war Italy, invented to help pick grapes and olives in the sun-kissed Mediterranean countryside, access platforms are now used by councils to complete multiple tasks up and down the UK. From tree trimming and fixing street lights to facilities and estate management—they are an essential bit of kit for all manner of jobs.

CPL has been on the scene since 2011. ‘We came in almost as a little bit of a disruptor and we came into the market with a slightly different ethos, which is built around having the right machine at the right time, and the right price to do the job,’ explains Mark Sawyer, Commercial Director of CPL.

A relative newcomer, CPL specialises in the conversion of various vehicles into access platforms. The lift system is mounted on these vehicles, which is a safer option and facilitates professionals working at height. The question of safety is of paramount importance to Mark. ‘Thirteen metres doesn’t sound very high, but I tell you what, if I take you 13 metres in the air and it gets a bit blowy, you soon recognise it!’

He continues: 'As we move into a more health and safety conscious environment, we have to protect our workforce and we have to give them the right tools so that they can do the job safely. We have built a portfolio which is designed to help people work safely and more efficiently at heights.’

As well as health and safety, local authorities are conscious of their carbon emissions and CPL are all set to support the often-complex decarbonisation journey. As well as diesel conversions, they offer a large range of electric and hybrid access platforms that can help councils reach net zero.

As Mark explains, ‘We were one of the first to come to market with an electrified cherry picker, an electric vehicle powered by another set of batteries for the boom operation and that’s going down very well.’

CPL are particularly interested in supporting the public sector. They have supplied the National Health Service (NHS) in Northern Ireland, six local authorities in Wales, and various London boroughs either directly or indirectly through rental companies.

A crucial factor local authorities have to bear in mind when it comes to their access platforms is the impact of recent changes in regulation, particularly in the area of health and safety. If a local authority has an ageing fleet of cherry pickers, according to Mark, they won’t be able to simply replace them with the same machines. ’Legislation has changed making it so it’s not as simple just to use the same equipment,’ he says.

This means education is key. One thing CPL are focussing on at the moment is talking to local authorities one-on-one or at shows to find out what they require. ‘We’ve created a customer journey which involves doing a deep dive into what people use cherry pickers for, how they use them and how often they use them,’ he says. This process of listening allows CPL to find the right tool for the job. ‘I’ve even sat on some calls with customers and said: You know what? Don’t buy it; go and rent it.’

Essentially, CPL want happy customers. ‘We want people to buy it, to be happy with what they’ve bought, and to feel like they’ve bought the right machine for them,’ Mark says. ‘We want them to trust us when they come back for another piece of kit.'

This article first appeared in the Spring issue of LAPV. To subscribe for free click here.