13 January 2017

Why flexible automation and insight are so important


If your company works with equipment-driven rental, leasing and services. You’re constantly balancing the need for speedy delivery with changing requirements and timelines. Customers expect you’ll fulfill demand for equipment, resources, and services whether you’re dealing with a simple drop-off or complex project.

There’s no difference in their minds between small tools and heavy equipment that requires manpower and regular maintenance. The same goes for special orders for spare parts, emergency service, and fulfillment from across multiple locations. This industry market trend puts great pressure on planners and their graphical planning dashboards. Even when they have great skills at juggling all angles to schedule and execute equipment driven rental, leasing, and service scenarios. They need tools that let them make the best use of their skills. But also protect them from having to make “monitoring” a full-time job.

Some examples

Graphical planning dashboards that integrate with ERP can bring innovation to traditional planning methods and software. For example, a robust visual planning dashboard can offer:

  • A single-screen visual overview that shows equipment and resource requirements for projects
  • Single-click insight into resource availability and capacity
  • Intuitive access to specific but ad-hoc information 24/7: can we execute the task? Do we have sufficient spare parts? Are qualified resources available?
  • Quick planning intervention that lets you change reservations and orders. While you keep all elements aligned for rental, leasing, and service scenarios
  • Real-time planning are processed directly within the dashboard. And ranges from coordinating logistics and transport to sending work orders to resources


What can make the capabilities just mentioned so valuable is flexibility. While planning dashboards should be based on centralized data and standard processes, they should not turn planning into a robotics exercise. What you’re looking for is “smart” automation. Planners can access, filter, and view complex information with full control and ease. Rather than chasing down information, they’re presented with options that let them make quick and smart decisions, and initiate workflow-driven processes. They can manage by exception. Thanks to alerts and visual cues that let them know if there’s an interruption or issue that requires manual attention. The best dashboards will be future-facing. They already have standard processes that make it easier to work with turbulent customer demand.

Key Takeaway: Planners benefits from graphical planning dashboards which get more from ERP

As we noted earlier, your goal shouldn’t be to rip and replace current project management tools that your planners may rely on for managing equipment-driven projects. Graphical planning tools enrich your ERP and project management platform by enabling employees to complete and execute planning more efficiently. Most important, this visual, yet data-rich approach to planning ensures people have real-time insight and cues. It lets them respond quickly to changing customer needs.

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

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