As part of a series of interviews with rental software manufacturers, RER spoke with Marc Tedeschi, general manager U.S., inspHire about mobile apps, facilitating logistics, improving relationships between businesses and their customers, maintenance and repair efficiencies and more.

RER: Some of the most important capabilities that have developed recently are in the logistics area, such as mobile apps, viewing fleet location in real time, being able to inform customers about the proximity of a delivery. Do you offer these types of features and what else is on the horizon?        

Tedeschi: Every rental company has some operational elements and they can be amongst its most expensive outlay, so it’s important they are managed correctly to enhance the company’s service as well as improve business efficiencies and reduce costs. Optimizing logistics will empower a profitable, reliable and trusted rental business. 

Integrating your logistics management software with a mobile app can be extremely beneficial to a rental business. Having a seamless link between planned deliveries, collections or exchanges and what is happening out on the road can enable companies to give customers much more accurate information about the proximity of a delivery. Seamlessly working together, inspHire Mobile integrating with the logistic planning functionality within the inspHire system allows businesses to stay connected with drivers at all times, sending them real time information to a hand-held device as well as pushing live updates back into the inspHire system. Relaying information to the rental desk staff such as when jobs are completed, a driver arrives on site and the time they left. 

This powerful new feature also makes it incredibly easy to see driver’s availability and amend schedules when necessary. Having the ability to collect equipment as soon as a contract has ended maximizes utilization. If a collection is added to the list of jobs they need to complete that day, they will receive a notification that includes details of where they need to go, what they’re collecting and what they are expected to do. From here they will be able to tap the address within the mobile app and Google Maps integration will provide them with directions to the location.

This unified functionality will dramatically improve how teams communicate. Businesses will no longer need to wait for drivers to come back to the office before they give them instructions. Time can be managed with more efficiency and drivers can be much more productive, helping rental businesses ensure all their equipment is in the right place at the right time, with all the correct documentation needed.

The new route planning functionality also allows businesses to plan, manage and optimize journeys quickly and easily. With integrated web-based mapping, inspHire gives you the tools to set recurring or one-off site visits, flag equipment due for servicing and calculate travel times.

Having a solution that gives you a clear understanding of where your driver is, when they’ve arrived and what jobs have been completed will improve the service you deliver your customers, the dispatch process as well as allow rental businesses to take on more jobs. Delivering a high-quality service and equipment on time, as promised, will in turn mean customers stay loyal to your company and make repeat purchases.

Customers increasingly want to manage their own rentals online, access their accounts, be able to take care of business online, especially using a mobile app. Are you offering these types of services and what new developments will be coming along in this area?

Tedeschi: inspHire has recently re-released its new WebPortal solution that helps businesses provide a better customer experience. inspHire WebPortal gives rental businesses’ customers the ability to self-serve 24/7, no matter where they are, online, using a hand-held device. Customers can access important account information such as the equipment they have on rent, copy of invoices, equipment specifications and certifications as well as a full archive of contract history. Another exciting feature allows customers to request equipment through a product catalog and if circumstances change, they have the ability to either extend or end their contract. Customers can also access key account information and run their own reports, such as; ‘what’s out where’, ‘contract status’ and ‘contracts due to end’ reports giving customer more control and allowing them to regularly inform you if the status of equipment needs to change.

inspHire will continue to develop our WebPortal solution to provide customers further control and power to retrieve almost any information they need. We aim to improve the relationship between businesses and their customer, it is important that they can engage with a company in their own time at their own convenience.

What do you expect will be the most important development/trend in the coming year or so – in rental software in general as well as your company?

Tedeschi: Technology dominates today’s society and that’s mainly down to mobile devices and the internet. Both have made information accessible anytime, anywhere – people are becoming accustomed to having what they want on demand. Therefore, rental businesses want the power to retrieve almost any information and communicate in many ways, all at the click of a button, using a hand-held device. They want information to be easily available and I therefore expect to see some major advancements in both cloud technology and mobile applications this year.

Automation will continue to be a huge trend in 2017. Companies that are able to automate processes will save both time and money. inspHire already offers tools to automate many parts of the rental process so that there is minimal to no human intervention needed. Solutions include workflows for Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) which enable a fast, efficient and reliable process on a mass scale, creating and sending key documentation automatically.

Mobile technology has become incredibly important to many rental businesses, with some even moving to become a paperless operation. inspHire Mobile provides businesses with the features they need to better manage rental, sales and service, when they’re away from the rental desk, out on site, or in the yard, online or offline. Whether its allocating equipment to a contract, counting inventory, servicing and repairing equipment or carrying out tests and inspections, inspHire Mobile does it all.

Have you made any further developments in CRM-related software? How can your software help customers with this important area?

Tedeschi: We have seen a huge increase in the number of companies using our CRM solution. Rental businesses recognize that the service they deliver plays a fundamental role in their success and that customers are essential to their future growth. A powerful CRM system that brings together sales, service and marketing, creating a hub of information will allow companies to focus their attention on certain customers, maintain long-term relationships and address the current and future requirements of the industry.

New integration with Mailchimp, innovative email marketing tool lets businesses: build highly targeted email lists, send tailored email marketing campaigns and evaluate campaign performance. Joining the dots, inspHire CRM and Mailchimp aligns your sales and marketing teams to ensure you're contacting the right people at the right time with all the necessary information needed to close the deal. Being prepared and having the information to connect with prospects faster, means you can fill your pipeline with quality leads and make the most of every customer interaction.

Built-in reports allow sales teams to analyze open, click, bounce and unsubscribe rates, giving them the knowledge needed to prioritize calls, cleanse data and make informed sales decisions.

Rental companies are more interested in using analytics to improve their businesses. Are there any particular ways you are able to help in this area – any particular new reports or capabilities?

Tedeschi: It’s important that businesses have the data they need to learn, refine and optimize everything they do. They want to run reports whenever they need to and customize them to show the information required to make important decisions that will positively impact their business.

With numerous reports built in as standard from operational, financial to business critical and powerful business intelligence dashboards displaying real-time data in an easy to digest format, inspHire lets businesses see at a glance how they are performing on a weekly, monthly or annual basis – they have access to more data than ever before. Key analytics reports including income, future invoiced, ROI and asset analysis highlight trends, helping businesses identify patterns and forecast opportunities.

How can your software help with fleet management, i.e., knowing how long equipment should be kept or knowing when it is more economic to replace equipment?

Tedeschi: We understand that having access to insightful data about how your equipment is performing is also important. It helps rental businesses make educated decisions about what equipment should be kept or replaced. inspHire captures all the important information needed to analyze the performance of equipment including the cost of services and repairs. Utilizing inspHire’s asset analysis report will highlight what equipment is making or costing businesses the most, what the average turnaround is for a service or breakdown and when it is more economic to replace equipment.

How is your software updating and simplifying the rental transaction?

Tedeschi: In a busy rental company efficiency is key, so rental management software that allows you to seamlessly convert more quotes to orders with less effort is crucial. Rapid data entry screens in inspHire mean you can quickly enter customer information and allocate items to an order in seconds. Combined with full visibility of where equipment is, when it will be returned and what is available helps users fulfill customer request as quickly as possible.

inspHire WebPortal can also simplify the rental transaction process. Integrating directly with the inspHire system, customers can request equipment and raise partial orders, meaning rental desk staff just need to confirm the request thus, reducing the time they spend entering customer information. When logged in, customers can be shown specific rates and / or equipment availability to make the process even easier and more accurate.

How is your software helping rental companies to run maintenance and repair more efficiently?

Tedeschi: Complete Workshop functionality within the inspHire system allows rental businesses to manage, the service, maintenance and repair of owned equipment as well as customer’s own equipment. Flag fleet when it is due for service or repair and use checklists within the system or on a hand-held device to ensure jobs are completed to regulation standards.

With advanced mobile technology, rental companies can reap the benefits and manage the maintenance, service and repair of equipment on the go. Users can issue parts, add labor charges and costs, enter meter-based readings, capture customer signatures to sign off damages or repairs as well as capture damage photos. With the tools to process workshop jobs and complete scheduled service, maintenance or repairs from anywhere, online or offline, inspHire Mobile improves the efficiency and productivity of your mobile workforce as well as minimizes breakdowns and maximizes equipment utilization.

The ability to enter test results and create legally binding certification in the yard or warehouse can also massively improve your business efficiencies. Compulsory health and safety checks make sure your equipment is legally compliant at all times with certificates automatically stored back in the inspHire system so documents are there when you need them.

Full ROI reporting means you can analyze costs, margins and profit of each job, down to the individual parts used or employee hours.

Do you expect to see further developments in terms of Cloud technology and SaaS?

Tedeschi: It’s no surprise that cloud technology has revolutionized the way rental companies do business. It is expected that this rise is to continue as many businesses see the benefits of no installation or maintenance and low monthly costs very attractive. Conversely, further development to make cloud based rental management systems more mature, stable and feature rich is vital for the trend to continue and have a positive effect on larger, corporate organizations. Currently, cloud technology and SaaS (Software as a Service) is most popular amongst small to mid-sized businesses who have less specialized needs and who are attracted by the low cost initial investment. The small entry cost of cloud based software and SaaS is part of the reason for their widespread adoption. Nerveless, the cost over time will balance and implementing a multi-tenanted platform is the key to bringing costs down.

Having the ability to retrieve information wherever and whenever, is another reason why cloud technology is so popular. The cloud enables teams to coordinate via the web across different platforms. However, embracing a sophisticated ‘hybrid solution’ that combines well developed on premise software, with advanced mobile technology and online functionality, provides rental businesses with a feature rich solution that makes information accessible anywhere, anytime. A solution like this, that connects systems that constantly talk to each other, still gives users access to the same information without the need to compromise on functionality.