Ryan Helmeid, product marketing specialist, Wynne Systems, talks with RER about logistics and dispatching, job costing, finding the right rental rate, improving productivity by tracking historical trends, and more.
RER: What have been the most important new developments in your software in recent times?
Helmeid: We are always working with our customers to provide the enterprise platform tools that they need to get more revenue out of their fleet. Recently, we have focused on:
- Automated Service Prioritization: Our customers run complex businesses that require advanced, high-powered logic to help them have the right equipment ready at the right time. We’ve built a platform that proactively plans and prioritizes the service department’s tasks based on utilization, existing reservations, estimated return dates, and availability. Staying ahead of the curve by planning for the future allows RentalMan users to outpace their competition by leveraging the equipment they have on-hand and reducing the burden on the fleet department.
- Logistics/Dispatching Prioritization: How well you move your fleet has a direct effect on your utilization and overhead. Back in 2018, Wynne acquired DSI to fit this exact role. Since then, we’ve brought a new Logistics Solution to market that’s fully integrated into our RentalMan ERP. The integration provides a perfect segue between rental and logistics operations. Dispatchers, drivers, and rental operations now have the solutions they need to ensure that deliveries and pickups are made efficiently. Managers also have better visibility into KPIs, so they can make the right decisions down the road.
- Mobile operation expansion: Everything is going or has gone mobile; the rental industry is no exception. Many people involved in rental operations aren’t always able to be behind a desk with a computer in front of them. This creates a lot of time spent walking around the branch and mountains of paperwork to print, sort, and store away. MobileLink, Logistics Solution, and Service Solution are just a few examples of how we continue to untether workers from their computer allowing them to be more fluid in their day-to-day operations.
- ·Job costing: RentalMan users often rent to complex jobsites requiring large amounts of equipment, labor, parts, and services for various project phases. Our Job Management solution helps users solve the complexities of these projects. Providing granular cost-tracking and billing features that organize and track specialty rental scenarios help ensure profitability.
RER: What are likely to be the most important new developments in your software in the foreseeable future?
Some developments that we’re looking forward to in the future include:
- Dynamic Rental Rate Engine: Finding the right rental rate for a piece of equipment can require a lot of time and research. At times it might seem like you need a crystal ball to find the sweet spot. Charge too much and you’ll lose the customer to a competitor. Charge too little and you’re leaving money on the table. Amplify this dilemma to hundreds or even thousands of pieces of equipment and you have a real challenge on your hands. We’re developing an answer to that challenge. This new engine will take dollar utilization, time utilization, supply, demands, market data, and more into account, giving users the perfect rental rate. Ultimately, this keeps your customers happy, gives you confidence that you’re offering the right rates, and maximizes the revenue you can drive from your fleet.
- Fleet Distribution Engine: Strategically placing fleet where it is most likely to be rented is a skill that often boils down to the knowledge and foresight of experienced individuals inside a rental company. While those individuals are great at what they do, it’s hard for them to take advantage of every opportunity to distribute equipment to the right place and time. The time and effort needed for someone to train for this level of knowledge presents a monumental challenge as well, since much of it can’t be learned immediately. The answer to these challenges sits in historic data. We’re developing a new solution that will highlight historical trends and shed light on potential opportunities for the right fleet distribution. Ultimately, this will maximize the availability and utilization of your equipment, increasing revenue.
- Task List & Suggestion Engines: The success of a rental business depends on many little tasks and decisions that are made across the company on a daily basis. The right tasks and decisions are there but aren’t always picked correctly. Our existing and future solutions will help guide your team to make the right decisions and complete the right tasks. An existing example of this can be found in Service Solution where the auto-prioritization feature helps service managers prioritize the work that needs to be done on equipment coming off rent. This feature considers things like future reservations, demand, and more to let the manager know what he should have his technicians work on next. These developments will lower the barrier to entry for roles that require years or even decades of experience and improve the productivity of your teams across the rental organization.
RER: The past couple of years we heard a lot about rental companies adopting e-commerce as a far more important part of their business and software manufacturers offering more capabilities. Enhanced customer portals have been a big part of it as well. Now that people are returning back to more “normal” lifestyles and work methods, are e-commerce and enhanced customer portals continuing to be just as popular?
E-Commerce continues to be popular with our customer base, and, as a result, we continue to enhance our portals to meet the demand. There is an overwhelming trend of ordering and doing business online. Many of us do this every day for food, event tickets, or the next greatest thing on Amazon. Our industry is no different. Our customers have addressed this need in the market with the Customer Portal and RenterLink products. Both products come together to form a complete online experience for rental customers. From ordering equipment to managing invoices, they provide a simplified way for rental companies and customers to do business.
RER: Rental companies are now receiving a lot of data through telematics communications. How is your software helping rental companies to process and most effectively utilize this information?
IoT is a major focus for Wynne’s development teams. In the rental industry, increasing the amount of digital connections throughout operations can dramatically improve efficiency and productivity. It also provides a method to tap into a massive wealth of data that can be used to improve the business. A prime example of our development in this area is our Logistics Solution. We track the transportation of equipment to and from job sites in real time. ETA, equipment status (on/off), GPS, and more all come together to help customers make sure pick ups and deliveries happen on time with cost-efficiency in mind. This is just one of many areas where we are continuing to build in telematics.
RER: How does your software help sales staff and service personnel on the road?
Mobile solutions are a key driver in this area. We know mobile capabilities are a necessity in today’s environment. Our MobileLink and Service Solution address this current need. MobileLink gives sales, service, and yard teams the ability to directly quote customer-specific rates, create reservations, and check-in/check-out equipment from the palm of their hand. Service Solution enables service prioritization, maintenance, and work order management remotely as well. Wynne continues to invest heavily in this area as the market demands more from it.
RER: What are some of your long-range thoughts about where software is going a few years down the road?
From sports to weather to the stock market, humans naturally want to be able to predict what is going to happen in the future. It gives us the ability to plan ahead and take advantage of new opportunities. All the better if it can be done automatically, bringing you reliable answers without the need for manual work. The rental industry is no different from other industries in this sense.
Automation based on trend-analysis will be an exciting step forward in software development for the rental industry. It will introduce a new potential for companies to stay competitive by squeezing every ounce of value out of their equipment through improved availability and utilization. For many in the industry, this is already being done, just without the software.
Experienced rental people know when they will see a hike in demand and plan accordingly. You can see this down south during hurricane season or up north when summer construction season kicks off. However, it’s impossible for people to predict absolutely every opportunity and provide the absolute best rental rates in every contract, especially when that equipment is spread across hundreds of locations. That’s where software with automated prediction capabilities can help.