25 September 2018

How blockchain can improve asset lifecycle management

Blockchain equipment rental industry

Blockchains has been around for years now to mine and store cryptocurrencies. Why is that exciting for  equipment rental and leasing? Because blockchain technologies are becoming feasible innovation for all areas of business. Both the public and private sector industries see blockchains as bringing a new level of accuracy, trust, and ease to the ways government and businesses deal with data transactions and storage. The advertising industry plans to use it to track its ads all over the internet. Banks and mortgage companies want to use it to track the deeds of homes and the complicated process of tracking all the documentation. Shipping companies are investing in blockchain technology to track bills of lading. In addition, the pharmaceutical industry wants to use the technology to verify the drug supply chain. Government sectors around the globe are catching the wave as well.

Asset lifecycle management

The blockchains we’re discussing might or might not involve cryptocurrency. What’s most important is that they are a reliable way to store and manipulate vast amounts of data. For our discussion, which is about using blockchain to manage asset lifecycles for equipment rental and leasing, think of a blockchain as a virtual database that is shared and maintained by a group of people and institutions. This is different than a centralized database, mind you—no one person or entity “owns” the blockchain. Data exists in a matrix of nodes, entered, accessed, and modified by users with appropriate rights. While there isn’t a central database, there is a trusted, traceable record of all changes. It’s a new age of the “single version of the truth.”

Let’s focus on asset lifecycle management for equipment rental leasing. If you’re using a solution such as DynaRent or DynaLease with Microsoft Dynamics 365, you’re already working with a streamlined flow for rental and lease management. Information transfer is mediated via interfaces with entities spanning government, banks, manufacturers, dealerships, service providers, customers, etc. There are workflows, smart contracts and leases, mobility, automated document packaging and versioning, role-based security, and more.

Blockchain equipment rental industry

Blockchain disruption

At their best, current solutions like these turn a very complex matrix of activities into a user-friendly experience with minimal error, paper trails, and security breaches. For the average user, a blockchain experience will not be a huge disruption—it will feel simpler, faster, and like the many parties involved are all on the same playing field. There will be less need to connect with other companies via interfaces. Furthermore, there will be a big improvement in the ability to track equipment lifecycles across different company fleets, renters, and leaseholders. From initial assembly through final scrap, the blockchain can hold every byte of information about the equipment.

That includes manufacturing data, original and subsequent sales of the equipment, regulatory agreements, service and maintenance records, all rental and leasing contracts, and more. There’s a true version of the actual lifecycle with no missing gaps, ever. You might say the blockchain itself owns the template for the lifecycle. Everyone involved in the equipment over its lifecycle contributes to asset lifecycle management.

The future of blockchain technology

This communal approach helps ensure transparency and good business practices without forcing companies to reveal privileged information. Regulatory compliance and service and maintenance integrity can be continuously upheld. At the same time, businesses can protect their specific financial, marketing, and customer data with access restrictions. Indeed, companies can use blockchains and still maintain a centralized database in the cloud or on premise. What’s crucial, however, is that blockchain data is bulletproof. That goes beyond a database disaster or hacking.
If a manufacturer or dealership closes its doors, all the historical data they have about the car still lives in the blockchain.

The future looks bright for blockchain technology. We’re seeing lots of opportunity for blockchain innovation within equipment rental as well as leasing sectors. It’s a logical next step for information management in our DynaRent and DynaLease solutions, a step that will feel intuitive and organic as it’s incorporated. Contact us if you want to know more about our rental solutions.

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Digital transformation in the equipment rental industry

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Michiel Toppers
Michiel Toppers,
Michiel Toppers,
Senior Director of Product Management

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