RER talked with Wayne Harris, CEO of Point of Rental Software, about the company’s new software offerings, integration with telematics, online reservations, its new integration with TrackUnit, and more.
RER: What are the new developments in your software during the past year?
Harris: We’ve got hundreds of developments that have been added to all of our software platforms over the past year - most of them are tweaks here and there to enhance features or create new functionality. Our bigger developments are a CRM feature for Elite that allows sales teams to see not only CRM basics like customer, history, and inventory data, but map integration so when a sales rep is out on a site, he’s able to pull up any nearby leads and see if he can make a site visit while he’s already in the neighborhood.
We’ve also been integrating with other key software platforms that help rental companies get more efficient - most recently, we’ve integrated with EquipmentWatch and TrackUnit to get customers better, more accessible information on the equipment they own.
Finally, UnlockIt was released in 2018. That allows people to rent and receive equipment 24/7, whether it’s in lockers at a store or on-site.
What new capabilities and functions have you added in regard to e-commerce?
While we’ve helped people build websites that are integrated with our software for years, we recently added an API that allows customers to create their own integrated website or connect their existing website to Point of Rental to get prices, availability, etc.
Can you give an example of how integration between telematics and your software have benefited your rental customers?
Point of Rental users are able to use telematics with two main interfaces: Equipment and Delivery/Service trucks. Businesses are integrating their delivery/service truck information with our Dispatch Center and Mobile Workforce features. That allows them to see their vehicles’ location and speed in real-time and automatically update delivery status as the driver goes through their route, all within a single software. Dispatchers can see who is ahead of schedule or behind schedule and adjust routes accordingly, as well as add priority deliveries or pickups.
On the equipment tracking side, integrations allow for up-to-date hour meter and mile readings as well as GPS locations for integrated equipment. Up-to-date readings allow rental stores to bill accurately based on usage and see extra shift hours quickly.
When equipment reaches maintenance thresholds, in-store staff can see this and send maintenance staff to perform routine maintenance on-site or switch equipment out, saving the company much larger repair and replacement costs. This also helps avoid equipment breakdowns and increases customer satisfaction. GPS location tracking, also integrated, can be used on pickup to accurately find equipment on a job site, which makes the whole transaction fast and simple.
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?
The biggest wave of adoption has already passed, as people have realized it’s a necessity to have a website for their business. What we’re seeing now is that the people who wanted to wait for the technology to prove itself are getting on board. So yes, more stores are implementing online reservations and communications, and their customers are using that technology to manage their accounts.
Our software allows for rental customers to see what they need to see, like their rental history, what items they have on rent and how much they owe. It also allows them to take action - call items off-rent, make reservations, and more. With our new TrackUnit integration, they’ll be even more in-tune with what’s happening with their equipment. They’ll be able to see equipment hours, mileage, alerts -- notifications that help them take proper care of the equipment.
What kind of support do you offer rental companies that use your software, i.e., call-in helpdesks, online chats, instruction for users, etc.
Because we’re partners with the people that use our software, we provide support in every way we can - from thorough documentation to email and online chat to phone support and in-person training. Hundreds of customers also visit us in Fort Worth for our International Conference each November to get additional training, one-on-one troubleshooting assistance, and to pick the brains of industry innovators.
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?
Right now, every aspect of a company is able to use an app of some type that connects with Point of Rental. Inspection App allows maintenance to update items that are ready to rent or need further repair. Mobile Workforce allows drivers to check in at locations, send route updates to dispatchers and customers. Fulfillment sends updated contracts directly to the warehouse for easy order fulfillment and staging. All this information flows in real time.
By the end of the year, we’ll be unifying our apps into one, which will allow companies to bring all of their employees into the same system, allowing for easy communication throughout a company as everyone works to accomplish a goal.
What kind of dashboards does your software have and what information do they offer?
Standard dashboards in Point of Rental are based on job functionality: salesperson, dispatcher, mechanic, customer service rep, etc. Everything is designed to make operations more efficient by giving each person the information they need on one screen so they can act on it quickly. In our Elite product, the dashboards are customizable via widgets - managers and individual users can determine which priorities are most important for them or their teams and display that information at a glance.
What information can your customers access through your online portal, and how “user-friendly” is it?
Harris: Our online portal provides access to a customer’s record - their addresses, their current rentals, their rental history including items on-hand, billing history, payments made, and more. They can also call items off rent, make additional reservations, or submit service requests.
With the upcoming integration with TrackUnit, the customer portal will also provide valuable insight like mapped locations, meter readings, equipment alerts - basically, they can see what’s going on inside their equipment to ensure they’re abiding by the terms of the rental agreement.
What kind of automated notifications do your send to your customers, i.e., “reservation confirmed”, “the delivery is on its way”, “the equipment is due to be returned or you will be billed for another cycle”; “the machine is due for servicing”, billing notifications, etc.?
Automatic notifications are controlled by our customers, but it’s possible to set up notifications via text or email for just about anything, from opening quotes to closing a contract, to modified work orders, overdrawn credit, payments made, and notifications on delivery - even if an item exits a geofenced area. It’s just a matter of checking a box.
What would you say are the reports your customers use the most, that they find most beneficial?
Rental companies are focused on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help them determine how to manage their fleet and labor costs most efficiently. They’re looking at their ROI, utilization reports, maintenance reports, revenue and customer income trends, service profits and trends...the numbers that tell them how they’re doing and how they can improve.
How can your software help a rental company determine a profitable rate structure?
By using the data provided in your ROI and utilization reports, you see which items are bringing in the most money, which items are rented most often, and can figure out what makes the most sense for your fleet in the future - either adjust rates or adjust your quantities to maximize your profit.
Are there any particular software features you are working on that you are planning [that you are comfortable talking about]?
A big one that we’re excited about is the integration with TrackUnit, which is going to help customers go beyond AEMP integrations to get to full real-time data accessibility.
Otherwise, the POR ONE app is going to take our apps that already exist for people in each section of a business and bring it all under one app, connecting entire rental companies to not just their software, but one another.