The word innovate comes from the Latin word innovare, which means to renew. Webster's New World College Dictionary defines it as “to introduce new methods or devices.” When RER launched the Innovative Product Award, that's what we wanted to celebrate — renewal, new methods and devices.
That's what the rental industry is all about — continually offering new methods and devices, new ways for customers to do their jobs more efficiently. We at RER decided to honor the most innovative products, chosen by our readers, as a way of honoring all the continually developing new products that make jobs easier for end users. The suppliers of those products enable this industry to continually evolve and improve.
It was most important to us that you, the companies that actually rent out this equipment, choose what you thought was most innovative. We decided early on that we wanted you, our readers, to be the voters. We wanted to make sure that we, the RER staff, wouldn't be influenced by whether or not a manufacturer advertises with us, or if we might have personal friendships with the personnel of particular manufacturers. No candidates called us up and asked us to influence the voting in their favor. It was entirely chosen by our readers and we asked them to choose products based on what was most useful to them and their customers and not because they might have a relationship with particular suppliers. The voting was entirely anonymous and we aren't publicizing the names of the voters.
We want, by this award that we will present annually, to honor all suppliers who continually work to improve their products and come up with easier, more efficient and effective ways of getting jobs done. We honor the winner of the Innovative Product Award; we honor the runner-ups, also profiled in this month's cover story; and we honor all of the participants, to be covered in detail in these pages over the next couple of months. And we honor the spirit of innovation of all the industry suppliers.
I have personally visited so many of the manufacturers that make this industry great. I have visited their research and development facilities and seen the effort and expense given to the constant development of new methodologies. I have heard so many of their stories about how they consulted with end users and dealers and rental companies attempting to find out how to make their products better, to satisfy the needs of end users and the distribution channel alike. I have toured their factories and seen the continual updating to make those facilities state-of-the-art, efficient and responsive to the needs of their customers. On these visits I have always marveled at the creativity and dedication that go into product development on a regular basis. It's one of the reasons this industry is great and always advancing.
I am personally looking forward to walking the floors at the AED, World of Concrete and ARA shows to see all of the several dozen products that were entered into our Innovative Product Award competition.
To those companies that rank among the winners or runner-ups or honorable mentions, we hope you will be proud of this award, and not just for the obvious reason that you can incorporate it into your marketing campaigns. We believe you will be proud of it because RER's readership, the rental industry, is not easy to satisfy. Their standards are — as if you don't know this already — extremely high. Rental companies need equipment that is extremely durable because it is used in the harshest environments and conditions, by people who want maximum use out of the product, knowing they can bang it up and return it because it is “a rental.” Because rental equipment is used under those conditions, rental personnel will quickly find out what is effective and what is not, what is durable and what is not, and they will not hesitate to let the manufacturers know.
Rental people are constantly listening to their customers and finding out from them what works, and they are continually analyzing products from the service angle. They know what is effective, efficient and durable, and they know what is cosmetic and superficial. When there is true innovation, they will be the first to notice.
If you can get the approval of this audience, your product really is a winner.