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August 12, 2015 at 6:58 by Leach Lewis

- Working with GAP Hire Solutions -

Leach Lewis Rubber Tracks can rightly claim to be the UK’s #1 for replacement rubber tracks. As a leading Kubota dealer back in the late 1980’s Leach Lewis Plant’s parts team were amongst the first to realize the potential of the rubber track aftermarket. Their early entry into the market and their expertise has stood them in good stead and helped them maintain a competitive advantage in terms of the product itself, in sourcing and supply logistics and in being able to deliver exceptional value.

To date Leach Lewis has supplied over 130,000 rubber tracks to a wide range of customers from the largest national plant hirers to ‘one man bands’ with a single machine. The market for replacement rubber tracks in the UK is large, complex and competitive. Leach Lewis’s current product range includes replacement tracks for over 4,000 models comprised of excavators from 0.5 to 8 tonnes, tracked skid-steer loaders and tracked dumpers.

Most replacement tracks are bought after the failure of an existing track on a machine and so delivery time is a key factor in any customer’s purchasing decision. Leach Lewis hold a substantial stock of replacement tracks at any one time. Their current stock of over 3,000 units is held in three strategically located warehouses in Essex, Hampshire and North Yorkshire, allowing Leach Lewis, uniquely in the market, to offer their customers in the majority of the UK a same day delivery option. Around 10-15% of customer orders are placed on this basis. Customers who can live with next day delivery have until 4 p.m. (Monday to Friday) to confirm an order that will be delivered the next working day across the UK mainland.

Orders can be placed on-line at any time of the day or night or the ‘order telephone hotline’ can be used where experienced and knowledgeable ‘in-house’ staff guide a customer through the complexities of ensuring that the right track is supplied.

With a broad product range, a large stock giving high availability and an efficient distributed logistics operation it’s not surprising that large plant hirers, to whom machine down time is anathema, rely on Leach Lewis for all their rubber track requirements. One of Leach Lewis’s longest and closest working relationships is with the leading hirer GAP Hire Solutions (GAP).

GAP was started by Gordon Anderson in 1969 and the company is still an independently owned family-run business. Douglas and Iain Anderson, Gordon’s sons, are the business’s Joint Managing Directors and under their stewardship the business has grown substantially over the past 4 decades whilst other more famous names have dropped by the wayside. Now organised into 8 divisions, and with 120 branches, GAP Hire Solutions, the UK’s largest independent equipment hirer, hire everything from small power tools to a 6 man welfare unit. The Plant Hire division operates a broad fleet of compact and mid-sized construction equipment that ranges from 1 tonne site dumpers to 13 tonne excavators. Inevitably, as mini excavators are the now most common type of construction equipment in the UK the GAP fleet includes a large number of minis and midis in the 1 to 8 tonnes range, the bulk of which are equipped with rubber tracks. Even with a relatively young fleet several rubber tracks need replacing each week, often through site damage when the need for a quick replacement is paramount.

Ken Stewart, Head of Procurement at GAP, comments, ‘Leach Lewis has been a preferred track supplier since 2013. Quite often a track fails whilst a machine is on-site with a customer and so it’s vital that we have confidence in a quick delivery to minimise customer downtime. Product quality and reliability is paramount to us and must be able to withstand the rigours of the hire industry. A heavy duty track supplied by Leach Lewis meets the above criteria. Equally important to us is Leach Lewis’s ability to recycle our used tracks, improving our sustainable waste management, which forms part of our Green Action Plan.’


GAP Nottingham buy all their replacement rubber tracks from Leach Lewis and this year, with a busy 150 plus excavator fleet working across the East Midlands, they have averaged one replacement track per month. Branch Manager Chris Ireland comments, ‘Tracks typically fail on site and so our prime concern is getting the customer’s machine back up and running. We use Leach Lewis because they hold the stock and they’ve never let us down on next day delivery. The warranty is an added bonus, but the speed of service is the key as far as I’m concerned’.