Core values and a strong brand promise underpin Grenke’s success

Justin Twiddy, managing director of the business equipment leasing firm, says SMEs need to embrace sustainability to remain competitive and profitable

Justin Twiddy, managing director, Grenke: ‘We are friendly, open, fast and personable – these attributes are already at the core of Grenke’s philosophy and we will continue to rely on them in to the future.’ Picture: Orla Murray/Coalesce

“Grenke foresees new ways of doing business and engaging in Ireland, and sees leasing as a business model that contributes to the circular economy with opportunities for expansion, giving our industry further impetus,” Justin Twiddy, managing director of Grenke, said.

The transformation of traditional industries through technology has proved to be a disruptive force, but it also presents opportunities for companies to understand – and respond to – customer needs, as they move away from ownership and towards demand-based subscription models. Beyond this, there is a clear role for leasing to play in creating and supporting a more sustainable economy.

SMEs are bouncing back, said Twiddy. “At Grenke, we continue to be here to support their growth as they face the challenge of the post-pandemic era and focus on achieving their sustainability goals too.”

Grenke began as a one-man business founded in Baden-Baden in West Germany in 1978. It now operates globally in over 30 countries – as well as in Ireland. Twiddy is the managing director of Grenke Ltd, which specialises in leasing business equipment to the SME sector.

“For more than 15 years in Ireland, we have been a reliable leasing and finance partner for SMEs that want to lease their infrastructure cost-effectively, rather than tying up capital with purchases,” said Twiddy.

SMEs are the backbone of the Irish economy. “Our brand promise is: fast, forward, finance. Our core values: simple, fast, personal and entrepreneurial underpin our success,” said Twiddy.

The biggest challenge facing SMEs is protecting their cashflow. Twiddy commented that in the last couple of years SMEs were faced with a pandemic – the size and impact of which we could never have imagined or predicted.

“Now we are operating in economic uncertainty, with inflation challenges that look to continue for some time,” he said. “Grenke Limited is proud to have accompanied their customers and partners not only through their own ups and downs but also through the external challenges they face.”

Grenke’s departments include Sales/Account Management and Customer Support and a number of other support functions including Human Resources, Compliance and Quality Management. “We finance more than you think: all types of business equipment from as little as €500 to €500,000 and beyond,” shared Twiddy.

Sustainability has become critical for every company, whether large or small, and SMEs account for a significant percentage of employment and turnover.

They are incredibly important for our economic growth, Twiddy said. “If we are to effect change on a scale that really makes an impact, SMEs need to proactively get on board the sustainability train,” he said.

Everyone is under increasing pressure in this space, and we have a collective responsibility. “At Grenke, we can actively help fund our customers and partners to invest in assets that support a more sustainable future,” Twiddy said.

“Leasing lends itself by its very nature to the circular economy: the value of an asset is in its use rather than its ownership. Asset Finance as an industry can play an integral role as an enabler for SMEs towards a more sustainable future through asset life extension, secondary rental, recovery, recycling and ethical disposal of products.”

Twiddy explained that Grenke is actively funding any number of energy-efficient assets. “There are more and more products that are helping all sectors to reduce carbon emissions whilst at the same time in many cases saving costs. Energy-efficient equipment reduces a company’s carbon footprint through reduced energy consumption.”

“Some of the green assets Grenke Limited currently funds include, lighting, heating, refrigeration and cooling systems, catering equipment, electric charging stations and electric bikes and recycling/waste management systems.”

Twiddy holds the view that SMEs need to embrace sustainability to remain competitive and profitable, to ensure a more sustainable future for all and simply for survival.

“It is a business opportunity and source of competitive advantage that they cannot afford to ignore. Sustainability offers SMEs the opportunity to be more energy efficient and to reduce costs whilst at the same time being kinder to our planet.

“There are so many benefits for SMEs in pursing sustainability including, improved financial performance, reduced cost of capital, enhanced brand and increased competitive advantage, customer loyalty, improved compliance/risk management, the ability to attract, retain and purposefully engage talent.”

Twiddy believes that those SMEs who commit to the transition to net zero emissions will future proof their business. “Grenke allows companies to preserve cash flow and upgrade business equipment to the latest and most energy-efficient generation,” he said

“What separates Grenke is simple; we finance 100 per cent of the asset. We have fast turnaround times on credit decisions, payment within 24 hours of asset delivery, local and personal teams and vendor independence. Our platforms were digitalised early on, and we conclude nearly 100 per cent of our contracts electronically.”

Grenke has always aimed for sustainable business operations and is supporting the transition with financial solutions that encourage clean energy and the circular economy.

“Locally the team are proud of the small steps we are taking internally,” Twiddy said. "We have moved to a successful hybrid working model and transitioned our external sales teams to fully electric cars which has allowed us to reduce our carbon footprint. We have always looked for opportunities in the office, and with our staff, to reduce negative impacts on the environment.

“We are focused on leveraging digital technology to reduce our use of paper and heavily promote the use of our e-contracts and e-signatures. This has resulted in nearly 100 per cent e- contracts. Our branches and offices have said no to plastic providing staff with refillable water bottles and thermal mugs for morning coffee runs instead. Our stationary is sustainable too.”

Community is important to Grenke. “We are part of a bigger family that includes our parent company Grenke AG,” Twiddy said. “Alongside this, we place significant value on ties with the local communities in which we work, and staff always have ideas and initiatives on ways we can pay it forward.

“We support personal and social development in a variety of ways. Whether in learning, sport or social activities, business or cultural events – the objective is always to come up with fresh thinking and then to put it into practice. The development of our apprentice program is something that is particularly close to our heart, and we pledge to do more.

“We are friendly, open, fast and personable – these attributes are already at the core of Grenke’s philosophy and will continue to rely on them in to the future.”