After four days of exhibitions, seminars, networking events, and parties, the ARA Show 2019 has officially concluded. With more than 700 exhibitors in attendance, the Anaheim Convention Center temporarily became the rental capital of the world as representatives from all aspects of the industry convened to converse. Wynne Systems was on the exhibit hall floor since doors opened on Monday, and at our booth and around the expo, we got the chance to speak with a wide spectrum of attendees. Throughout these exchanges, despite the disparate perspectives of those we chatted with, a few common themes were repeatedly brought up. Listed below are our biggest takeaways from the ARA Show 2019.
Innovation Drives Interest
From boom lifts to bounce houses and power tools to party tables, manufacturers brought an impressive array of equipment to the show. Artfully posed and demonstrated, exhibitors went to great lengths to present their wares in the best possible light. And while many of the attendees we spoke with expressed some degree of interest in the hardware on display, few were truly won over. When asked why, many explained that what they had seen simply wasn’t different enough than what they already had. To justify the purchase and deployment of new equipment, rental company representatives wanted to see undeniable upgrades over their current fleet. The manufacturers that did manage to convey such innovation were rewarded with genuine enthusiasm for their products.
In the end, the economic realities of rolling out new equipment are very much top of mind for rental companies. No amount of flash can overcome that. Hopefully, manufacturers will internalize this message and refocus their product development strategy in response moving forward.
Paper is (in the Process of) Being Phased Out
Throughout the show, we got the chance to speak with rental companies of all sizes and specialties. When asked what their greatest operational challenges were, an overwhelming majority cited paper-dependent processes. Compared to digital solutions, paper may seem relatively simple on the surface. In practice however, the flaws endemic to printing, data entry, and physical forms introduce a slew of complications and costs. By automating laborious tasks and making information instantly accessible, software approaches to critical rental procedures can alleviate headaches and increase efficiency.
While practically all of the rental companies we engaged with recognized the advantages of digital over paper, a number confessed to still being reliant on physical documents. This it to be expected. As with all business changes, shifting from an established way of doing things is often met with trepidation, skepticism, and inertia. Still, as the world grows increasingly digital and as the pace of work accelerates, it’s not a matter of if paper will be phased out but when.
Utilization Matters to Fleets of All Sizes
One of the great things about the ARA Show is how it attracts rental companies of all sizes from around the world. And while regional and local players expectedly approach business from a different angle than the biggest names in the U.S., many of their top concerns overlap. Across the spectrum, nearly every rental company we spoke with cited the importance of fleet utilization (for good reasons).
When it comes to getting optimal ROI on equipment, maximizing fleet utilization is pivotal. In addition, proper fleet utilization also ensures that a rental company’s fleet isn’t worn down disproportionately. By evenly making use of the entirety of its fleet, rental companies can continually keep their assets in working condition through preventive maintenance (instead of costly repairs). And while achieving optimal utilization is most challenging with large fleets, it’s a concern for smaller fleets as well. From our talks, it became clear that just about everyone we spoke to were always on the lookout for new ways to enhance their fleet utilization.
So there you have it. Those were our biggest takeaways from the 2019 ARA Show as determined by talking to attendees. We’d like to thank everyone who dropped by the Wynne booth. It was great connecting with you all.