GAP Group

“Right from the start, we created a team of
operations and salespeople to review each step
of the
PHALANX process.”

“Their goal was to ensure there were no unnecessary
steps, no clunkiness and that the solution flowed. We
rolled out slowly at first and built up to two and three
depots per week.” 

Mark Anderson, Northern Managing Director, GAP Group

Protecting 50 Years of Growth

Gordon Anderson bought his first excavators in 1969, the year of the moon landings and the launch of ARPANET (an early version of the internet) by the US military.

In the 50 years since GAP Hire Solutions (GAP), now led by Gordon’s sons Douglas and Iain, grew to 175 depots in the UK. GAP now services over one million assets ranging from fencing to 13-tonne excavators across 10 Divisions.

Douglas & Iain Anderson - GAP Group
Douglas & Iain Anderson

Gordon’s grandson Mark Anderson is the Northern Managing Director. Mark is also responsible for the National Pump Services Division and Group Procurement.

Mark recognised a problem with his growing network of equipment maintenance workshops. Managing the volume of equipment service paperwork was forcing Mark and his team to ask some difficult questions:

How can we manage the paperwork generated by millions of service work orders completed annually?

How much is it costing us to run the equipment? Are we buying the right equipment?

How can we ensure technicians service the same way, with the same checklists, across the wide range of GAP equipment?

What happens when safety regulations change and checklists have to be quickly updated?

And what about our staff? Do we have enough people at each depot to turnaround high demand equipment on time? And how will we attract and retain the best engineering talent if our workshops depend on outdated paper technology?

The paper forms that had been in place since Neil Armstrong’s first moonwalk needed updated for smartphones and tablets.



Mark and his team started searching for a Digital Workshop solution that was proven in the equipment rental market.

Mark said, “We ran a competitive tender with several providers of paperless solutions.”

“Based on our site visits with other PHALANX customers, we felt safe and secure and were happy Spartan Solutions could do what was presented.”

Mark Anderson - GAP Group
Mark Anderson

Mark asked Spartan to prove the solution by running a pilot in the Falkirk depot in central Scotland. The pilot was successfully delivered in eight weeks, and the workshop technicians were delighted with the system’s usability.

Stuart Murie, GAP Regional Operations Director, was impressed with the PHALANX solution’s flexibility.

Stuart said, “We can change the steps and the data we capture based on the user type, division and equipment type. We can then take this data and generate digital versions of the paperwork our customers are already used to.”

The GAP leadership team decided to roll out PHALANX across eight divisions, totalling 175 GAP depot workshops.

Three Lessons to Reduce Rollout Road Bumps

But how do you standardise the way over 800 technicians work across the UK when they are so used to paper forms? And what about the different forms used to inspect hundreds of equipment types? And how can you scale up a rollout to replace paper with digital apps to an aggressive eight-month target?

We had to work with the GAP team to find answers quickly to build on the pilot’s momentum.

1. Copy existing forms.
The workshop technicians asked if the solution could mimic the flow of the existing paperwork as closely as possible while removing any ‘clunky’ steps built up over 50 years. Spartan achieved this using the PHALANX Dynamic Data Form engine to deliver over 70 Forms that look and feel like the original paperwork.

Digital forms are better in other ways, for example, allowing technicians to take photographs and mark up areas of damage – no more illegible handwriting!

2. Stick to core workshop process.
All GAP equipment follows a similar path. Equipment is returned, inspected, repaired if necessary and then made available to hire. This path is the same for a cordless drill in the Plant and Tools division as for a portable toilet in the Welfare division.

3. Stand your ground.
Mark and Stuart made a simple rule: No changes to the core process will be allowed during the rollout.

Divisions could configure only the data capture forms and customer reports unique to them. This pragmatic approach simplified the rollout process and removed any costly debates on what should and should not be in scope for the Digital Workshops.

Smarter Working, Safer Equipment

Hundreds of GAP’s workshop technicians, from time-served veterans to teenage apprentices, are successfully using PHALANX.

GAP procurement can track equipment utilisation and costs to make better buying decisions.

The GAP leadership team has full visibility of workshop performance and compliance across all GAP depots.

And Mark can confidently plan new depots, divisions and equipment ranges, knowing that his workshops are running safe and smart.