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Interview with Wynne System’s Robert Gray: Contactless and Mobile Rental

Aug. 8, 2020
Robert Gray, vice president of sales and marketing, Wynne Systems, talks with RER about Wynne’s new service solution; the benefits of proforma invoices; mobile apps; virtual site visits; reducing paper; increasing mechanics’ wrench time; and more.

Robert Gray, vice president of sales and marketing, Wynne Systems, talks with RER about Wynne’s new service solution; the benefits of proforma invoices; mobile apps; virtual site visits; reducing paper; increasing mechanics’ wrench time; and more.

What are some of the products and capabilities you have added in the past year approximately?

Gray: We’ve launched the Wynne Service Solution — an all-in-one service application that prioritizes work orders so service departments are working on the right thing at the right time. When you’re able to focus on what needs attention most, you improve equipment utilization and reduce the need for re-rents, all while increasing the productivity of the entire service department.

For service managers, Wynne Service Solutions prioritizes work orders based on upcoming reservations and equipment utilization, regardless of the work order type (major repair, scheduled maintenance, recapitalization, etc.). Managers then drag and drop assignments onto a technician’s schedule and add more techs if needed. The dashboard display gives managers a complete view of their department: who’s working on what right now, scheduled assignments in the future, and work still needed to be assigned.  

The mobile app allows technicians to spend more time servicing equipment than handling administrative tasks. In addition to getting a real-time view of their assignments, the app digitizes what used to be handled by forms: adding labor and parts to work orders, completing steps, tracking time per job and day overall. Speech-to-text greatly reduces the time needed to add lengthy internal and external notes. 

What are customers asking you for now, or what are some of the trends in what they’re asking for?

Recent global events have ignited a serious interest in contactless rental and mobile rental. The demand is how to utilize technology and infrastructure to protect the health and safety of essential workers and customers alike. We’ve had quite a few inquiries about integrations into RFID systems to enable more rapid handling of equipment and potentially after-hours pickup and drop-off, which not only speeds up the process, but allows users to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Third party integrations to all manner of systems such as CRMs, advanced payment systems and a variety of web applications is also top of mind, because it provides even more flexibility on how our customers are able to provide contactless, yet superior, customer service. 

What are some the capabilities of your software that are under-utilized that you wish more companies would pick up on?

One under-utilized feature that we encourage our customers to take note of is proforma invoices, which improve accuracy in billing. Our customers who use it really like it, but a majority of customers have only recently started to check this feature out.

Proforma invoicing is a critical tool for your customers who want one accurate invoice per month instead of multiple invoices. It consolidates transactions like rental returns, sales invoices and customer work orders into one simulation of an invoice. A user can make adjustments as necessary (with the exception to equipment and rental in/out dates) and the invoice will only make entries into the general ledger once the user has finalized the invoice.

Another feature we would encourage would be held returns. Normally, if a branch has equipment that has been returned, it needs to be processed in both the system and the contract before it can begin the scheduled maintenance forms (SMF) procedure. This could make the post-return process take a significant amount of time.

Withheld returns, the system, SMF processes, and the contract are independent of each other. So even if the returned equipment has not been processed in the system or updated in the contract, the equipment can begin the SMF process — the system and the contract no longer hold this back.

A lot of things have changed in the world because of the pandemic. What has changed in the rental industry, and how has your approach to software changed? Greater emphasis in e-commerce capabilities? Other changes?

The pandemic has created a huge need for contactless rentals and required us to look at the software we have through a different lens. How can we take our existing functionality and use them to create a safe environment for not only our customers’ essential employees, but their customers as well? And through that, we found that contactless rentals can be achieved with little to no disruption to the typical operations workflow.

Our customer can make this possible using MobileLink and Customer Portal. MobileLink is our mobile app that can be used to perform check-in and check-out, amongst other things. Customer Portal is the online site where your customers can view contracts, quotes, invoices and schedule pickups.

In a case where a customer wanted to pick up equipment rather than have it delivered, a user at the branch can perform the check-out via MobileLink. Once completed, the customer is notified by email that their equipment is ready and when they arrive at the branch, the reservation can be converted to a contract. The customer can sign the contract through their own device via Customer Portal, without ever having left their car, making the entire process completely contactless.

For deliveries or equipment pick-up, the same process would apply in reverse: Customer scheduled pick-up via Customer Portal, pickup is scheduled and when the equipment returns to the branch, a user can perform check-in and the contract can be closed out and invoiced. 

In terms of the pandemic, presumably visits to your software users have decreased? Have you improved or enhanced your online training capabilities?

We’ve begun to incorporate virtual site visits as a way of replacing the traditional on-sites with customers. Having this capability to connect with our customers to best understand their operations and workflows has been instrumental during these times.

While not a reaction to the pandemic but certainly an enhancement to online training, we’ve released a new Service Desk portal to provide our customers a more robust knowledge base and customer service tool. Some how-to articles we’ve published recently have been written to educate our customers on “how to” utilize system functions to address some challenges they might be facing during these uncertain times.

How has your software improved in making service personnel more efficient?

The newly launched Wynne Service Solution dramatically streamlines how service managers and technicians approach their work. By eliminating cumbersome, paper-reliant processes and facilitating cross-departmental communication, the app increases wrench time to drive productivity.

Without complete visibility over their work orders and the schedules of their technicians, it's often difficult for service managers to maximize their capacity for work. Wynne Service Solution remedies this problem by automatically categorizing work orders by their degree of urgency. This saves managers considerable amounts of time while ensuring that high priority items don't go unseen. What's more, to accelerate the process of delegating assignments, Wynne Service Solution features a drag-and-drop screen where managers can place tasks along timelines corresponding to each of their mechanics. Once assigned a work order, technicians are automatically notified, eliminating any form of manual communication.

On the technician side of things, Wynne Service Solution allows mechanics to conduct many of their non-wrench related tasks solely with their phone. Everything from tracking punching in their attendance to ordering parts can be performed through the app. What's more, convenient functionalities like speech-to-text notes, the ability to view take and view photos, and real-time status updates eliminate distractions that previously forced techs to leave the service bay. 

How has your CRM program improved? How does it make your sales or rental sales personnel more efficient or productive?

Wynne's Customer Portal product has received a number of enhancements this year, with most centering around the concept of expanding and improving customer-initiated processes.

Conveniently from their computer or smart device, Customer Portal users can now sign a variety of different contracts. This process is 100-percent e-sign compliant and automatically stores signatures into our customers' RentalMan ERP database. What's more, giving the option for customers to sign documents from anywhere allows rental companies to reduce in-person interactions between their staff and their customers. As rental companies adjust their practices in light of the current pandemic, we foresee this functionality proving especially useful.

We’ve also recently enhanced how Customer Portal can be modified in terms of look and feel. By uploading a single file, administrators can tailor the appearance of their Customer Portal instance to align with their corporate brand guidelines. Through this personalization, rental companies can enhance the user experience of their customers whenever they log in to Customer Portal.

By empowering our customers' customers with the ability to independently handle many transactions that previously required the involvement of rental staff, Customer Portal grants sales personnel more time to devote towards revenue-generating tasks. 

Any other areas of importance?

One area we also invested heavily in was improving the dispatching and transportation component of the rental process. It’s one area where rental companies can make significant changes towards lowering costs. By making use of TMS, companies have seen up to 30-percent reduction in fuel costs, increase of truck utilization by 30 percent and a 50-percent reduction in overtime pay for drivers. These are all thanks to TMS’ ability to schedule, manage and track all transportation needs. TMS allows dispatchers to best route multiple scheduled delivery and pickups to reduce the number of necessary trucks or utilizing third parties due to inefficiencies in process. Features like ELD (electronic logging devices) being managed within TMS not only keep companies compliant with federal mandates, but also tracks idle time, speeding and hard braking—all which can contribute to wasteful fuel usage and higher maintenance costs for trucks. And with the driver shortage many companies are facing, optimizing logistics means fewer trips, drivers and the need for overtime from your already strained resources.