24 July 2019

How to get insights into your global assets’ lifecycle

The importance of having holistic visibility in your operations is on the increase in the equipment rental industry. As part of the equipment rental management team, you need a complete overview of the business to deal with the changing dynamics of the market. You need to be on top of the game and offer multi-industry solutions and adapt to new ways of doing business.

Manage orders
with ease

Meet rental resource 

Enable mobility
for field workforce

Sync with ERP

Forecast and plan
your resource needs

Reduce manual paperwork

Manage orders with ease:

A sound equipment rental solution is the way to go when it comes to managing your orders. While the term managing orders seem to depict a simple notion, it is anything but. What you need in such instances is a graphical dashboard. There are many rental solutions in the market today to help you manage your rental business. One of the solutions that offer many of the features that you require is DynaRent. What you need to know about DynaRent’s plan boards is that it helps you with various aspects.

With the dashboard in place, you can not only view the agendas for a particular period but also get an overview of jobs assigned to different field workers. At any given time, you can search for customer work details or the details of a particular situation, sort the work related to a group of products, and work as per each warehouse.

Service Planboard

Image 1: Graphical planboard in DynaRent for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (and AX)

What is more, with the right solution at your disposal, you can plan complex projects without letting a single detail getting away from you. For instance, you can plan the allocation of multiple assets for one work order. When customers ask for changes in the dates you have planned, you can change the dates and associated resources by merely dragging the required resources across the dashboard. It also becomes easy to add the consumables used for a particular job or keeping tabs on the team working on a task and mark any changes in the work schedule accordingly. All these features would result in the right invoicing and thereby timely receipt of payments.

Managing your equipment rental orders can be a key to your operations and your bottom line. The key to doing this is, of course, by providing quality service to customers. One of the main components of excellent service is timely delivery. You have to figure out how to  maintain on-time and in-time deliveries of rental equipment. With the right equipment rental solution in place, you can take advantage of of-of graphical planning to allocate resources as per the requirement. You can even factor in additional requirements like installation and mobilization if that is part of the service the customer requires. 

In the rental business, you need to go a step further and ensure that you are aware of the trends in the equipment rental market. You need to know about an emerging trend; transportation as a service. The direction we are talking about here is in the leasing sector, and car leasing to be specific. When you look at the changing trends in the rental and lease market, it is essential that you have a solution in place that not only meets current needs but has the capabilities to serve needs that come up with changing trends.

With the market constantly changing and evolving, the equipment rental and lease businesses also need to know the optimal way to run an equipment rental company in 2019 and beyond. This is because no longer is only heavy construction equipment the sole focus of equipment rental companies. Even in the heavy equipment sector, the technology keeps changing as do the requirements of customers. Which means that you need to focus on the upcoming trends and invest in equipment that can advance your business. Another focus area beside the type of equipment for renting out should be how you can ensure that the repairs and maintenance of your equipment happen on time.

The good news for those in the equipment rental business is that the construction business is booming. This, in turn, means that the demand for equipment rental is going to be reliable. However, on the other hand, rental equipment goes beyond the mere delivery of equipment. It means proper tracking, communications, improved equipment usage, and lesser hassles on the whole. One of the aspects that will help you with all this is by learning how telematics and ERP can help the rental industry grow. Telematics is that aspect of IT that supports digital data transmission over long distances. Telematics can play a significant role in improving the equipment rental business operations.

When you are in the rental business, it is always a good idea to introduce an element of dynamism and improvisation in your planning. You can do that only if your operations are in order. For activities to be in order, you need to have a rental solution in place that will help you plan, manage orders, improve customer experience, draw on business intelligence, and leverage mobility. In essence, you should take a more in-depth look at how DynaRent helps you manage your resources for planning with ease.

Meet rental resource requirements:

When you are in the business of renting out complex and often costly equipment to your customers, every aspect of your resources takes on a lot of importance. For instance, while the actual equipment is essential, the person or team you send it with is also important, and so is the condition of the equipment. Once you learn how a solution like DynaRent helps you manage your resources for planning with ease, you will be able to streamline your operations better. One of the ways that you can benefit is by ensuring that you configure your dashboard with the right business objects, which is the equipment you are renting and the resources, which are the people who help with the rental services, you have an excellent overview of what is happening.

When your planning team can manage changes in the orders, has an overview to do so, maintain long-term tasks with simplicity, and can capitalize on the ease of use, you have a better grip on operations. Your team will then agree on 4 reasons why you need to use DynaRent’s service planboard. But meeting rental resource requirements is not only about the planning of resource and business object allocation; it also about scheduling the maintenance of your equipment.

A solution like DynaRent also has the maintenance capability built-in so that you can easily do so. You will soon learn how to use ERP rental software to manage the maintenance of your equipment. You can create different tasks with specific capabilities that will allow you to assign it to a resource who is qualified to carry it out. You can once again use the graphical dashboard to do this and keep track of the maintenance activities that you have assigned.

In the rental equipment business, one of the main aspects that help or hinder the company is the ability to plan logistics and transport well. If you want to plan real-time transport and streamline workflows, then your rental solution should have robust IoT and mobility support. But that is not all; your transport planning has to consider the asset location and schedule, operators and technicians’ schedules, transportation and logistics, spare parts inventory, invoicing and billing, customer requirement changes, and maintenance logs to do it well.

However, before you take any further steps on working on the operational aspects of your rental business, we suggest that you look at the top 3 elements to look for in equipment rental software. While many aspects are starting with the price right down to the way your team feels about the solution are all elements that you have to consider, some are hygiene factors that overarch all the features. These are price or yield management, speed of reaction and strategy, and the rate of utilization.

One of the common threads that you can see in many industries is one of servitization  where products are sold as service. This starts with pay-per-use as a concept. When you look at pay-per-use, the challenges and software solutions are part of the considerations. In the pay-per-use idea, you have to consider how to provide flexible options, track usage, configure payments, and get an overview of assets and obtain reports. All these factors are, however, only the first step in this model. You will need to look at many other factors to ensure that you have the right support before you launch into this model.

Equipment rental by its nature is based on the equipment portfolio that you are renting out. And in such a scenario, you need to be sure that your equipment is in good condition and for this to happen, not only should your investment be in proper quality equipment, but also ensure that you maintain it. However, maintenance of the equipment in the rental business would mean downtime, which then means that you need to plan well. To be able to do this, you need to figure out how to use ERP rental software to manage the maintenance of your equipment.

Since this section has been all about managing rental resource requirements, we also want you to know what else you need to look at. Here is why IoT should be part of your asset management strategy. IoT or internet of things will let you track the movement of the equipment and the usage in without depending on the people handling it. Using IoT, your asset and resource management planning will become more focused and accurate. IoT can also help you improve revenues and detect misuse.

Enable mobility for field workforce:

While we can all agree that running an equipment rental business can be challenging, it is sometimes the person on the field who can be a catalyst in changing this. The reason for this is because the workforce on the field is the one that faces the customer and their team. They are the ones who move, deliver, and collect the rented equipment. The way to ensure that they can go about delivering, servicing, and in some instances, even operating the equipment while still updating the systems is through mobility. You can easily manage your on-the-go processes with ease when your rental solution offers you the mobility option.

There is no question why the demand for mobility solutions is increasing. The benefits are numerous, and the cost in comparison is not huge. Some of the main benefits that you can derive from the mobility features that are part of the solution include:

• The apps are available on iOS, Android, and Windows. Consequently, the field staff can use the device they are comfortable with and use them to update their work details on the go.
• When you add the mobility aspect, many of the processes are simplified. It is effortless to record hours of work, materials used, and add costs
• The fact that the team on the field has continuous access means that the flow of information is two-way, transparent, and always updated
• The data exchange with Dynamics 365 is instant. Which means that the update is seamless within your ERP and this can reduce a lot of confusion, rework, and enable better planning

If you are wondering about the features of mobility; this is how mobility field service can help you be paper-free:

• Real-time updates on time and materials
• Signature capture electronically
• Mobile scanning to capture data
• Invoices and communications formatted
• The capture of task and customer related information

Utilization reports can become an added responsibility for the team on the field unless you make provisions to automate it. It goes without saying that mobility can add to the convenience and ensure that reports are on real-time rather than at the end of day or week. The concern about how to obtain coherent reporting on equipment and utilization has been one that rental equipment companies have faced for a long time. The information could range from the usage of equipment, the financial aspects, service, and maintenance, or even the changes that the customer wants to be made to a particular arrangement they have with the rental company.

A simple solution would be to ensure that you equip field resources with mobility solutions. While this sounds simple enough, many companies hesitate to do so because of the costs involved. However, in rental solutions like DynaRent, you will find that the field team can use the device they are familiar with and already own. Which means that the expense is restricted and the need for additional training also comes down. When you equip your field staff with mobility, then the paperwork comes down, data is immediate, and errors are reduced.

Another way to empower your field staff is with the intelligence that you gather from various sources. A rental solution provider who has a deep understanding of the way the rental market works would be able to help you with BI or business intelligence. Click here if you want to know the top 9 advantages of BI integration in Dynamics 365 and how it helps your team leverage insights and information to become more strategic in their way of working.

Sync the back office with field personnel:

If you are part of a rental business, you may spend a lot of time looking for ways how to increase efficiency for equipment-driven companies. In the equipment rental business, you are often required to transport sophisticated machinery (many times in parts), and this can expect a lot of record keeping and coordination. Even in smaller deliveries and pickups, there could be many factors that you need to consider.

What is more, there is the return and the repairs & maintenance aspect that you need to keep in mind. You need to equip your team with scanning and documentation options that enable them to process all aspects of the transaction smoothly. They need to be able to determine which of the equipment they have collected from a customer needs to go directly to another, brought back, or taken for servicing.

Your rental solution needs to enable:

• Transport and logistical support
• Adaptable mobile processes to suit your company’s needs
• The ability to collaborate within departments to plan strategically
• Smoother process and documentation for processing returns
• Advanced planning dashboard information

It is only when your rental solution supports different scenarios will you be able to concentrate on taking the rental operations forward in a strategic manner. One of the best ways forward is to go for a rental solution on the cloud. And in case your management has doubts about a solution on the cloud, then you should explain to them what does cloud mean to your rental business. To provide you an overview, this would mean that your solution would always be upgraded, newer functionalities are less costly, industry best practices are accessible to you, and it can result in overall efficiency improvement.

When it comes to a cloud-based rental based on Dynamics 365, you will find that many of the features that you require are enabled in the solution. The ability to oversee and maintain the entire transaction from lead to quote. You can even offer customers the virtual experience of what they are looking for letting them get a look at the equipment that they are renting. Details like automatic alerts for various dates about client delivery, locations, and maintenance logs.

At any point in your rental business, you need to know how ERP and business applications can affect your business. In a nutshell, the effect is on all the three main aspects of your business. It would change the human resources, the technical issue, and have an impact on financial factors as well. If you want to have a clearer picture, it is like picking out a partner. Which means it has to be reliable, robust, and flexible.

While you are considering and evaluating all the aspects of your cloud-based rental solution, there is a chance that will come across the benefits you did not know about cloud computing. Cloud computing can help reduce friction between departments, makes the team more social, offer you the advantage of Big Data, and the possibility of machine learning. What is more, there is a lot of research happening in the field which means that there could be more benefits from this technology.

Another vital aspect of a rental solution that you have to consider is customer relationship management. What you need to is consider is whether it is a seamless fit between ERP and CRM. What a seamless integration means in terms of usage is that users can use both the rental solution, as well as CRM, would have all the integrated data in both of them. This can make operations more straightforward.

Forecast and plan your resource needs:

Can you imagine how much better you can plan the future of your business if you can forecast what is going to happen in the industry? While this may seem a tad ambitious not to mention fantastic, the fact is that some factors can help you do that. You can indeed predict upcoming trends in the rental industry to remain competitive.

To do this, you have to understand that while it is possible to predict some trends using specific information, you cannot pin these down exactly. What you can do is have a general direction in mind. But even this can go a long way to provide you with some insights that you can leverage to plan your resource needs.

To do that, you need to:

Keep an eye out on the trends related to the rental industry: You need to be not only be cognizant about your operations but also be aware of what is happening in the industry on the whole. It also makes sense to keep tabs on related industries to be able to be holistic in your thinking.

Gain in-depth knowledge of your sector: You would be surprised at how many companies are not aware of what is happening in their industry because they are stuck in minutiae of their operations. For example, IoT can play a pivotal role in the rental industry.

Do not forget to look at empirical data: History has a lot of lessons to provide only if you delve deeper and analyze the events in the proper context. Make sure that you learn all about the past stages that your industry has passed through before evolving into its current avatar.

Big data and Business Intelligence can help: Ensure that your rental solutions can help you with this aspect and that you use them in the best way possible. Study of trends and analysis of data can help you prepare for the future.

One of the best ways to manage resources is to ensure that you are aware of the customer pipeline that you have. To do that, you need to learn to  leverage your customer engagement to convert leads to orders. When you can this, you will be able to bypass problems like the information in silos, lack of information, not meeting customer needs, and critical platforms not being able to provide the right kind of support.

Another aspect of resource management is that you need to know what equipment you have and the condition it is in. In effect, this means that not only do you need to invest in material for renting out but also put in efforts to ensure that your equipment is in good condition. Which is why preventive maintenance is essential for rental companies. With the optimum support, you can not only plan maintenance but also ensure that spares and the required personnel are made available as per requirements.

Today, equipment rental companies are learning how to use IoT in the equipment rental industry as it can help in many aspects. IoT can work by providing vital data to your rental solution about the condition, movement, and usage of your equipment, which can help in resource planning. You can even assess why the construction equipment rental market is still going strong and how you can leverage this to expand your business.

You will also realize that predictive maintenance is essential and how to combine it with IoT to increase efficiency. You can improve resource utilization and ensure that your equipment is in excellent condition by taking a data-driven approach to equipment maintenance.

Reduce paperwork and improve operations:

It is the dream of most organizations to become increasingly efficient. Who among us would not want that? And more so in the rental sector. You can work paperless and manage your workload with DynaRent workspaces. A rental solution like DynaRent comes with a deep understanding of the requirements of the industry. Consequently, they have the concept of workspaces that offer adaptability and ease of use.

Here are some aspects that this feature can help improve:

• Offer users a complete understanding of the current situation in terms of activity enabling them to make smart decisions and plans
• Provides users the means to dive deeper into specific data and saves the time spent tediously going through spaces with no data
• Getting the chance to perform some simple tasks without going too deep into the pages where it is warranted
• Complete tasks without stepping away from your work station and also reduce numerous levels of navigation
• Enable visual that shows the impact of specific actions clearly. This enables users to take note of best practices that help improve efficiency on the whole

Many of you may be wondering at this stage how to reduce your workload with the ultimate ERP system. Here are some ways to do so:

• Automate reports
• Easy track of equipment
• A ready reckoner of rental rates and prices
• Automatic billing

When it comes to going paperless in the rental industry, you need to start by analyzing the key challenges to digital transformation in the rental industry. This could span a host of problems, but you can encapsulate it in three broad categories—legacy systems, lack of collaboration, and data analysis. The way to move ahead would involve the company to understand customer behavior, change company culture, and ensure that you have the ROI calculations so that you can justify the cost of the digital transformation.

Once you do this, you will realize how ERP can fuel digital transformation in the rental industry. You need to start by defining what digital transformation means to your business and industry. The next step is to identify what processes in your business would benefit the most from digital transformation. Then the next level, which can be tough is to create a culture where information technology is the moving force of your business. Then all you need to do is initiate the changes and ensure that the whole team moves with it.

Digital Transformation in the Rental Industry

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

Also interesting