IRN looks at the latest developments in rental software and IT.
By Murray Pollok28 September 2010
Result Group says the new ‘Rules Engine' function now being introduced for its rental software will "cut costs and deliver massive productivity gains."
The system provides automatic prompts and questions for rental depot staff to ask when taking orders and in many other routine rental tasks. Result says it will "drive absolutely consistent behaviour across the enterprise and ensure that the rules set by management are actually being realised on the ground."
The genesis of the Rules Engine came when one of its big US rental customers approached it for a solution to the problem of having complex product and non-expert staff. The problem was "leading to slow and inaccurate quotations for their customers and restricting their growth potential", says Result.
Result's development team, working with the customer, created a system that
allows a salesperson to offer the best product to the customer based on the
answers to a logical question flow. The software company says the system "de-skills the quotation process and maximises the technical knowledge held by a few individuals."
Having been initially developed for staff taking orders, the Rules Engine has now been extended to cover a wide range of applications, including CRM script manager, customer service call, asset pricing optimisation, free days rules, customer service call creation, geographical rules engine and campaign management rules.
"This means a client could control employee workflow for every interaction they are likely to have...whether it's with a customer, chasing a debt, managing an asset etc.", says Result, "This is beyond workflow, KPIs, dashboards etc. It's about driving absolutely consistent behaviour across the enterprise and ensuring that the rules set by management are actually being realized on the ground.
The Rules Engine is available when existing customers upgrade their software.
Meanwhile, Result Group reports that German rental company MVS Zeppelin is now planning to implement the rentalresult solution at its depots in Austria having completed implementation in Germany.
The latest addition to Wynne Systems' RentalMan software is the Asset Adviser, a web-based application that allows equipment rental companies to plan, document and manage fleet sales and purchases.
"Asset Adviser enables users to make informed decisions about the purchase, sale and transfer of equipment in future time periods, using detailed analysis of the rental fleet", says the California-based company, "An additional benefit is the ability to extract fleet planning and performance information from RentalMan and integrate it with an external business tool such as InfoManager."
Meanwhile, the company says Loxam is now moving forward with a full-scale implementation of RentalMan in all their locations "following a successful pilot of the system in Belgium." See also page XX for new appointments at the company.
Orion Software offers
Montreal based Orion Software has added a new ‘Distribution module" for its Sirius Pro product to make it easier for multi-depot rental companies manage re-rentals, branch transfers and purchases of new fleet.
"The idea", says Orion's president, Andre Gilbert, "is to empower operation and purchase managers in order to efficiently fulfill customer needs using different equipment sources. Branch transfers, sub-rentals and purchases will be facilitated and prioritised in order to satisfy the rental center's customers' expectations."
Mr Gilbert reports that one of Orion's most recent contract wins is with Link Attempt Ltd, a Hong Kong based powered access rental company.
Alias gets ready for
Rental2k global launch
Italian rental software firm Alias is launching its Rental2k software system in Europe and worldwide, with ‘Equipment' and ‘Vehicle' versions being offered initially.
Rental2k, which is offered exclusively as SaaS (software as a solution) with web access over a secure connection, has become a well-established system in Italy over the past six years. Alias says it is now ready to promote the product outside its home market.
"Fees start from €50 per month for rental companies, regardless of the number of users", says the company, "This covers the use of the software, storage of data, and continuous updates. The software, used extensively today by many users, is available online so can be accessed from any PC or navigation device with internet connection. No installation is necessary, and so problems associated with malfunctioning software or company hardware are excluded."
The system can be used with phones that have an internet connection. Alias says it is now identifying partners who will be able to offer service outside Italy.
Solutions takes on
new look as SBC
Solutions by Computer in the US has moved to a new brand focusing on the initials SBC and simultaneously launched a new website offering additional information for customers.
SBC says the new brand offers fresh visuals and new company slogan, ‘Experience Matters', which aims to communicate SBC's almost 30 years of rental experience and its commitment to providing software that helps rental businesses better service their customers.
"At SBC we are focused on helping rental businesses provide a seamless, stress-free and enjoyable rental experience for their customers," says Jack Shea, SBC chief executive officer. "That starts with our award-winning software but goes beyond to help rental operators get the advice they are looking for to optimise their business and grow. Our new brand and website reflects this focus."
Visitors to www.solutionsbycomputer.com will meanwhile find a "user-friendly and content-rich site, with the ability to draw on SBC's...experience via a knowledge blog and white papers."
Lawson Software has launched release 10.1 of its M3 Enterprise Management System and says it is the "most significant" update yet for M3 with more than 100 enhancements and 600 detailed functional changes, including features for the Equipment Service Management & Rental version.
Enhancements include improved links to Microsoft Outlook tools; a new ‘Internet-like' search tool for users to find data quickly and easily; a rental equipment planning board; and an automatic "inventory levelling' tool to balance inventories across a dispersed network.
Henrik Billgren, vice president of M3 Industries and Application Product Management for Lawson, says; "We're focused on further simplifying the Lawson M3 system to help drive down the total cost of ownership for our customers by bringing new technology, simpler operation and user interaction - and an easier path for upgrades."
Lawson is introducing the latest version of M3 in 39 countries, including five new markets: Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina and South Africa.
Software specialist inspHire launched digital pen technology for the rental industry at the UK's Executive Hire Show (EHS) in early February.
The system uses a digital pen that captures written information and transmits it via a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone to a rental company's rental management system. InspHire says a perfect image of the document, including all handwritten additions, is stored and can be reprinted at any time, removing the need to file hard copies of documents such as proof of delivery sheets.
"We are really excited about this Digital Pen Technology", says Graham Dobbs, inspHire's managing director, "Not only can our customers save time and money on both filing and retrieving signed documents, they get a confirmation of delivery or collection in the system almost immediately, knowing what time equipment was delivered or collected." (Chris Branson, former inspHire managing director, is now chief executive officer and director of development at the company, focused on longer term projects and business strategy.)
At the same time, inspHire now offers a scan to PDF function that allows users to print documents, add written comments, notes or signatures, and then scan and automatically file the document and attach it to the original contract, sales order or workshop job. The documents can be accessed by the customer using inspHire's WebPortal.
InspHire reports that it has recently won software orders from Height for Hire (Ireland, UK and Slovakia), ITT Water & Wastewater (for its pump-re-rental business, with the software initially being used in the US), Industrial Supplies Development Co Ltd (ISDC, heavy equipment in Saudi Arabia), Atlas Plant Hire (South Africa) and Liftrite (access and forklift rental in western Australia).
The new Smart ‘Alerts system' now being offered by MCS for its MCS-rm software go "much further" than conventional business alerts, says the company.
Smart Alerts continually checks a wide range of parameters, data criteria and events to keep managers aware of how a business is functioning. MCS says managers can define what they want Smart Alerts to check, along with the specified circumstances and time intervals.
The company gives the example of customer retention, where Smart Alerts can tell a manager if a particular company's level of business drops below a pre-set value or volume.
"We recognise the highly competitive nature of today's market place and the need for hire managers to have control of even the smallest aspect of their operation", says MCS sales manager, Nick Thomson, "As a result, we developed Smart Alerts to equip them with the ability to become more proactive and better informed - making their business less vulnerable to market and competitive forces."
The new system has been tested at several customer sites in the UK and is now ready for its full launch. The company is also now offering simplified business intelligence dashboards using InfoCaptor, a tool developed by RudraSoft in the US.
Higher Concept Software in the UK has signed up several new customers in the Middle East with both Johnson Arabia and Byrne Equipment Rentals having invested in the company's Syrinx software. Johnson Arabia rents cranes and aerial platforms from offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi while Byrne Equipment Rentals is a general equipment and events rental firm based in Dubai but with operations also in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. The software firm has expanded functionality of Syrinx, adding a document scanner option, allowing companies to scan time sheets, invoices and other documents directly into the system. Syrinx was first launched in 1999 and there are now 500 users of the system, including as many as 80 rental firms in Australia, where Syrinx is sold by Melbourne-based Software Link Pty Ltd.