ERA president warns of ‘erratic’ recovery

By Helen Wright08 June 2011

Gérard Déprez, president of the European Rental Association, at the annual convention in Amsterdam.

Gérard Déprez, president of the European Rental Association, at the annual convention in Amsterdam.

Gérard Déprez, president of the European Rental Association (ERA), has warned that a return to growth in the rental industry after the deep financial crisis is not guaranteed.

Speaking at the ERA convention at the International Rental Exhibition (IRE), Mr Déprez said the industry needed to share ideas both formally and informally and embrace changes in order to succeed in the future.

"We all thought that 2010 should have signalled the end of the crisis. But we are only just coming out, and the recovery will be lengthy and erratic," Mr Déprez said, adding, "We are not experiencing a genuine recovery yet, but the indicators for 2012 show that rental investment will rise."

Indeed, managing the recovery will be a special challenge for the rental industry."Current rental rates may not allow the revenues necessary for fleet renewal without financial backing, and who would invest in a company with an ageing fleet?" he warned.

Addressing the industry's approach to profitability should be a key focus for the future, Mr Déprez said. He highlighted the introduction of anti-theft technology and new fleet management software as well as innovative devices such as iPads as potentially transforming efficiency in the rental industry.

Mr Déprez added that rental companies had made advancements in terms of forecasting in the wake of the crisis. "There has been progress made with statistics and economics - more companies have found a major advantage in being able to forecast orders. Statistically, rental companies were far superior to manufacturers in terms of accurately predicting fleet sizes this year," he said.

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