RER interviews Lars Podszuweit, director of product management, and Larry Miller, vice president, business development rental and service industry, Sycor Americas about predictive maintenance, online reservations and more.
RER: What are the new developments in your software during the past year?
Podszuweit, Miller: In the past year we have introduced “global fleet” capabilities, predictive maintenance based on IoT (The Internet of Things), and the ability to leverage Machine Learning for up- and cross-selling.
What new capabilities and functions have you added in regard to e-commerce?
While there is nothing new, Dynamics 365 has several proven world-class e-commerce solutions to choose from that are easily deployed with Sycor.Rental.
Can you give an example of how integration between telematics and your software have benefited your rental customers?
By building an interface to telematic providers’ portals, our customers are able to detect usage data in order to automatically bill them to the customers even when they use equipment before or after the contractual agreed time frame.
To your knowledge are online reservations and communication of a piece of equipment being called off-rent increasing among your rental customers? How is your software making it easier?
We see a slight increase here. Since our software is html-based on the front end, end customers can be offered respective forms for their needs. These forms can offer unique input and custom workflows that can match the customers’ requirements.
What kind of support do you offer rental companies that use your software, i.e., call-in helpdesks, online chats, instruction for users, etc.
We offer our customers training, videos, support via telephone and email, and In-Product Help. There are currently more than 500 videos available on YouTube for Dynamics 365.
In the day-to-day operation of a rental business communication is essential between the shop, sales staff, yard people, counter people and delivery drivers. How does this communication function in real time in terms of determining the immediate location and status of an asset?
Through IoT integration with the telematics device, you know where equipment is currently located (on or off rent) as well as its operating conditions. This allows you to respond immediately to such conditions manually or build out AI workflows to respond with an immediate service event or change prescribed maintenance plans.
What kind of dashboards does your software have and what information do they offer?
Our dashboards show the most common menu items for the daily work of an average in-house rental-sales/ dispatching employee. This includes, for example, quotes, orders, rentals, returns, customers, assets etc. as well as BI analyses for utilization and revenue. These dashboards are easily configurable to the customer’s specific requirements.
What information can your customers access through your online portal, and how “user-friendly” is it?
Workflows can be created to send automatic notifications to customers of reservation confirmation, impending equipment delivery or completion of delivery. These workflow notifications can be built for any equipment status or condition.
What would you say are the reports your customers use the most, that they find most beneficial?
The utilization and revenue Power BI analysis cubes.
How can your software help a rental company determine a profitable rate structure?
- Looking back: By offering out-of-the-box analyses for utilization, thus recognizing relevant price implications
- Looking ahead: Offering utilization forecasts and thus a means to change prices accordingly
Are there any particular software features you are working on that you are planning [that you are comfortable talking about]?
We are working on implementing mobility. Currently, our solution is accessible from any device or location from a browser if there is an internet connection. However, we would like to make the solution even more user friendly.