We all appreciate that one of the most expensive overheads in your business walks on two legs and arrives every day at 9am and leaves at 5pm. I am of course talking about your labour costs.

An Financial Director’s view on LOBO and the cost savings it can bring:


So, when a product comes along that suggests it can save your labour costs and provide a more flexible way of working; it might just be worth investigating. Scaffolding is not normally a subject I would get exited about; however analysis of the data suggests this particular product requires deeper scrutiny.

I would have my knuckles wrapped by the manufacturer if I did not dispel immediately the image which is conjured up by the word scaffolding. There are significant differences between scaffolding and the LOBO Work Platform System, the subject of this article. The differences are technical and commercial, hence the excitement.

Firstly we are unlikely to see this product on a building site, so can we dismiss straight away the concept of traditional scaffolding with heavy tubes and planks of timber. Think more of an adult’s version of Meccano that can be assembled without the need for any tools and is used by manufacturing companies for production and maintenance. Enough said about the product, let us look at the all important cost benefit that may very well save your company thousands of pounds.

The people at LOBO have supplied me countless incidents of companies who use the LOBO System in preference to calling in the expensive and inflexible scaffolding contractor. It needs to be said up front that the LOBO System is not the answer to all your scaffolding requirements, but certainly any internal, facilities, plant or machinery applications are a strong possibility.

On meeting the brains behind LOBO, great pains are taken to explain how it all works, citing that some of the largest companies on the planet have taken the plunge and now use the system. We all accept that the way data is presented can have different interpretations, but looking closely at the figures they do appear to stack up.

LOBO have documented a number of case studies that clearly show the cost saving advantages, which reveal impressive results with only a minimal investment. The customers studied are not all from the same sector and range from double-glazing installers to huge manufacturing multinationals. Whilst they come from a diverse industrial base, they all appear to have similar cost issues, which may be resolved by using a LOBO System.


LOBO sights NASA, Boeing, Airbus, Miller Brewing, Anheuser Busch and Sainsburys as only some of their best known customers.

The actual use may differ due to the versatile nature of the product but the cost saving benefit applies to all.
All these companies, and many more besides, have to employ externally based (outsourced) scaffolding companies. They have to comply with the working at height regulations, sometimes for reasonably simple maintenance tasks.

This can be expensive, as it takes time to erect a system, which is where the cost is, and then it stays up for pre-agreed minimum rental time.
Often this can be a week or longer and costs more and more each day which may be counter productive. LOBO points out that their system can be assembled by anyone, who has been trained, quickly and easily and then packed away when not in use.

The additional benefit of having your own system is that it is available 7 days a week and deployed whenever you want, quicker that traditional scaffolding. The knock on effect could mean greater production uptime, with the obvious cost saving ramifications.

The case studies I looked at revealed a payback time of between 1 to 9 months with a capital spend of between 10% and 40% of the existing scaffolding budget, this only applies to the first year, as once you have made the investment it is plain sailing from the pay back date onwards.

Below are three worked examples of real companies

Chemical Plant
Annual spend on scaffolding services £35,000
Total spend on Lobo System £12,000
Annual on going on Lobo System £1,000
Annual Cost Saving

International Brewer
Annual spend on scaffolding services (1 site)
Total spend on Lobo System £15,000
Annual on going on Lobo System £1,000
Annual Cost Saving

There are on going annual operational costs which amount to no more than 5%, but looking at the big picture these figures make impressive reading.

A conclusion can therefore be drawn on a cost saving basis alone.

It might be that you are able to cut your scaffolding costs in half or even reduce it down to zero. Big budget holders, for example oil and chemical companies, spend millions each year and may feel resigned to paying these huge sums year after year.

Now perhaps there is an alternative, where the cost benefit analysis adds up and your reliance on outsourced scaffolding companies can be reduced into the bargain!