RER speaks with Matt Hopp, general manager, InTempo, about the power of telematics, about tracking the profitability of each piece of equipment, capturing information on a jobsite level, and why usage of customer portals will grow in the future.
As telematics grows in importance in the rental industry, the relationship between telematics and rental software is important. Can you talk about the integration between your software and telematics systems?
Hopp: Telematics has been a game changer for a growing number of businesses. We’ve heard some amazing stories from our customers about the transformative power of this technology. One of them, a director of fleet operations at a heavy equipment rental business in the Southeast, told us that thanks to telematics, he knew there was an engine overheat on a machine before his customer called in to report it. InTempo Enterprise integrates with the leading telematics companies. Generally, the data is “pushed” from the telematics provider to InTempo Enterprise. Our customers can then track usage and ensure equipment is being used properly according to each contract.
One of the challenges rental companies face is figuring out how the level of profitability of each piece of equipment, and each cat-class or equipment segment. How can your software help with that challenge?
Hopp: What differentiates InTempo Enterprise from many other solutions is that it is an end-to-end ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. This means Enterprise provides insights into the full lifecycle of each asset from purchase to disposal. Within our work order system, you can track every touch to the asset from preventive maintenance to labor to recapitalization. You can also see any purchase orders, rentals, and disposition of every asset. In Enterprise, everything is organized by cat-class so you can drill into look at utilization and ROI on each asset. Above that you can look at equipment groups, bringing all of your boom lifts together and continue to roll up into the groupings that make sense in your business. These are all available as standard reports.
Another challenge for rental companies is the profitability of bidding on a job, and what type of rate makes sense for them in terms of the kind of ROIC they require. How can your software help rental companies to bid on particular jobs or determine the type of rate that makes sense?
Hopp: In InTempo Enterprise, you can capture information at a job level as well as a project level. Let’s look at an example with a factory. Say you are renting separately to an electrician and a plumber at the job site. You can put a project over a job so that it crosses over customers. This makes it simple to analyze ROI and other key metrics, and gives you the insight you need to set appropriate rates.
Increasingly, rental customers want as much access as possible to manage their accounts online. Are you finding this to be a growing trend and how are you improving your ability to facilitate these functions?
Hopp: It’s no surprise that in today’s world, customers expect to be able to get the information they need, 24/7, without having to pick up the phone. Customer Portal for InTempo Enterprise is designed to solve that problem. The Portal not only enhances the renter’s experience, but also translates into less busy work for employees. Our Customer Portal enables renters to view and pay invoices, see equipment on rent and create pickup requests, pull trend analysis and job costing reports, and more. In the future, I expect use of Customer Portal by end users to increase, especially as the next generation enters the workforce.
Mobility has been a major topic in recent years, being able to do just about everything on a smartphone that can be done on a laptop or desktop. Any new developments in that area in the past year?
Hopp: We offer a powerful mobile app that comes with stunning dashboards, equipment rates and availability, and more. In the past year, we’ve added an equipment condition reporting module that enables drivers and yard staff to check equipment in and out, take notes, capture pictures, and email reports. The future of mobile should go one step further in creating efficiencies. Most rental businesses use post-it notes or whiteboards to write down notes and reminders because their customers are moving so quickly. Our vision is an app that will facilitate the entire rental process from the initial contact through putting the equipment on the truck and getting it to your customer.
For example, if a customer calls your salesperson and asks for a piece of equipment, the salesperson can use our app to see what’s available and what is coming back in the next couple of days. But let’s say the requested equipment will be returned in the morning. How do you use mobile to make sure it gets returned and cleaned up and turned around? The idea is to connect the responsibilities of the yard, the shop, the rental coordinator -- everything that needs to happen with each particular unit -- and make it seamless. This way, you not only have a record of the entire rental cycle, you’ve made it easier for your staff to ensure the best experience for your customers.