Deborah Friedlander of Caterpillar details the loans and leasing process of Caterpillar Financial Services ahead of the waste sector’s forecast expansion.
With Australia’s forthcoming waste export ban set to commence periodically over the next two years, onshore waste and resource recovery infrastructure will require significant capacity expansion.
As highlighted in the Federal Government’s export ban consultation paper, for instance, 4.4 million tonnes of waste was exported between 2018-19, 1.4 million tonnes of which will fall under export ban legislation.
While 1.4 million tonnes may seem like an overwhelming amount of material to suddenly have onshore, its total declared value, according to the Federal Environment Department, was $291 million, suggesting significant, presently untouched economic potential.
As such, large-scale investment will be essential to enhance collection, recovery and recycling capacity and to develop domestic reuse options, technologies, procurement pathways and markets.
Deborah Friedlander, Managing Director of Caterpillar Financial Australia, says forecast infrastructure growth also demands concurrent investment in new and expanded waste handling equipment.
With over 16 years’ experience working with construction machinery and equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Deborah has watched as industries expanded and contracted alongside global and national shifts in policy and economic environments.
Understanding the cyclical and often unpredictable nature of shifting industries, Deborah says, is a core component of her work and the wider operations of Cat Financial.
Drawing on this experience, and her belief that sustainability represents “the way of the future”, Deborah suggests the waste industry is set for a period of ongoing expansion.
As new facilities develop, be they transfer stations, plastic processing plants or even sustainable landfills, Deborah says operators will require reliable access to equipment and financing.
She adds that through Cat Financial, anyone from smalltime council operators to thousand tonnage resource recovery facilities can access financing.
Cat Financial provides loans and leasing for all Cat equipment, from mini excavators to huge ultra-class mining trucks, she explains, for loan terms usually between three to five years.
Deborah adds that Cat Financial provides competitive fixed term interest rates, as low as two and a half per cent for smaller Cat machines.
“Whether clients need a low introductory rate to get their business started or physical damage insurance to help prepare for the unexpected, we can help,” she says.
“Clients can count on our team of industry experts to help them get the equipment they need and the financial support required to keep operations up and running.”
Given the waste industry is so varied, Deborah says it’s important operators acquire the right machine to support their processes. She highlights that Caterpillar and its dealerships have specialised waste industry experts able to create custom solutions, built to fit unique needs and challenges.
“When a client’s business is demolition, scrap recycling and waste, they put a variety of tools to tough use, every day. And we’re ready to help them get the finance and extended protection support they need,” she says.
“We’re not just selling machinery – we’re operating as solutions providers.”
Cat Financial, Deborah says, aims to provide a fast and effortless customer experience, with credit approvals usually processed within a few hours of receiving the application documentation. She adds that finance documents are short and can be signed online.
“We also don’t require onerous covenants from customers or charge unexpected fees. The funding is ready to go when the machine is, which helps our customers get into their new machines fast and get to work delivering their projects,” Deborah says.
Deborah adds that following the banking royal commission, many customers have felt nervous about approaching lenders for financing.
“No-one should feel nervous about approaching financing with us. We make it easy and have a set criterion that is incredibly straightforward,” she says.
According to Deborah, the Cat Financial customer service team is authorised to provide six months of payment relief with very little administration.
“Unlike a bank, we want Cat customers for life, so we work very hard to build loyalty and preserve it. If one of our customers needs leeway or financial assistance, we are ready and able to support them through that process,” she says.
“For instance, it’s very hard to look past the bushfires right now. We’ve contacted all our customers in affected areas and will be working closely with them over coming months.”
There will be a period of rebuilding ahead, Deborah says, with Cat Financial committed to assisting that process. She adds that Australia’s bushfire crisis has renewed the nation’s focus on sustainability, which is a core value of Cat Financial and the Caterpillar brand at large.
She says that in 2020, Cat Financial is really focused on financing for rebuild and repairs through competitive rates.
“Our customers often just pay for rebuild and repairs with cash flow from their business, but we want to make it easier to match the expense of rebuilding to the cash flow coming from the machines.
“Cat Financial is invested in the waste and resource recovery industry and want to support its economic health. It’s great to see interest growing in the sector.”
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