Riwal has signed up with the SmartEquip online parts ordering system, the second large European rental company to do so after Boels Rental.
Norty Turner, Riwal’s CEO, told IRN that it was realistic for the entire operation, including its activities in the Middle East and India, to be covered by the system within 18 months, with implementation starting in Spain very soon.
“We feel that the return on investment – conservatively – will likely be five or six times our investment. We are very confident”, said Mr Turner.
The SmartEquip system provides a single online platform for fleet owners to identify and order parts for machines from subscribing manufacturers, of which there are now 120 in Europe.
It is already well established in the US – with users including United Rentals, Sunbelt Rentals, Herc Rentals and BlueLine Rentals – and in recent years has been moving into Europe, led by Alex Schuessler, SmartEquip’s founder and president of its international division.
Riwal has had the benefit of the cooperation with Boels as it considered the investment. “We have a very good relationship with Boels – we’ve been collaborating from a commercial standpoint but also sharing some things from an IT perspective”, said Mr Turner.
“They feel very good about the system, and it’s helpful when a company you respect has been able to implement the system successfully.”
Virtually the entire Riwal fleet - dominated by JLG and Genie but also with Manitou, Magni, Holland Lift, Teupen and Skyjack machines – will be covered by the system.
Mr Turner said SmartEquip’s technology would allow the company to “increase value added time and reduce non value added time. Moving machines to the rental readly line as quickly and efficiently as possible after thorough checks have been done is one of our main goals.
“For technicians and workshop managers and the parts warehouse, it will reduce the time taken to order parts, reduce errors and put in place a system that makes it easy to follow the group procurement strategy.”
Riwal is in the midst of a project for a new procurement IT system, and the SmartEquip solution will dovetail with that.
Mr Turner said; “It will also help us actually reduce our parts inventory, increase our order accuracy and give better control of parts purchasing.
“It will help reduce back-office costs. Once you make errors, there are all kinds of costs – re-shipment costs, back-office admin. And there are the hidden costs of machines still sitting waiting for parts; that’s harder to quantify, but is very, very important.”
He said the investment should be seen in the context of the company’s ‘Riwal Way’ project to increase its operating efficiency and improve customer service. “That’s been amazing journey over the past four years – it has transformed our company. We see SmartEquip as a natural extension of that journey. The Riwal Way has increased our efficiency and our ability to deliver the best customer experience.”
SmartEquip's Dr Schuessler said of the contract with Riwal; "Riwal is a tremendous global partner on the SmartEquip network, and with the company’s joining, we are continuing to see tremendous growth in the use of our platform among leading equipment rental companies with a strong focus on operational efficiency.
"These companies typically also seek to provide efficiency gains to their suppliers, who in turn are looking for the means to improve the quality and responsiveness of equipment service at a decreased cost.
"The dramatic growth of the supplier footprint on our network in Europe is a strong indication of how the technology has succeeded in providing value to fleet owners and suppliers alike.”
Boels Rental is using the system across its operations in 10 countries at 340 general rental locations and 1800 DIY/tool store locations.
Meanwhile, Riwal's Norty Turner said he was optimistic about the prospects for the wider business in the coming year and a half. The company’s senior managers have just gone through their annual budgeting meeting and Mr Turner said; “I feel very good about how things are going to progress over the next 15 to 18 months…Brexit has largely been a currency impact, and looking at the project pipeline in the UK I’m not too concerned about Brexit fall-out.”
On France – one of Europe’s underperforming economies – he said he felt good about Riwal’s performance and that there were signs of an improving market, although he added that the economy would benefit once the presidential election next April or May had passed.