Access Lift & Handlers recently caught up with Helen Sowerby, Director of Business Development from Wynne. Below is an excerpt of their discussion from the March 2017 issue for the magazine’s software update.
ALH asked a number of rental software providers what customers are looking for, what’s new for the coming year and how they keep data secure. Here’s what Helen had to say.
ALH: What do customers want from rental software?
HELEN SOWERBY, Director of Business Development, Wynne Systems: As technology continues to develop faster, there is still a fundamental question about what customers want from their rental software. At Wynne, we believe in developing a solution suite to support individual company business flows and processes. Our systems are designed to support a company’s specific competitive advantages and processes rather than dictate processes. This enables us to enhance a company’s best practice through automation and systems efficiencies.
At one end of the spectrum, customers are still looking primarily for a billing engine that will also let them keep track of their equipment. This is the universal base point for customers, they need to know what they’ve got, where it is, how much assets are earning for their business and ultimately, they need to invoice their customers. For some customers, this is all they are looking for, and depending on the size of their business, the nature of their fleet and the type of customers, this may well be all they need.
However, for many customers, this is only a starting point. Once their business starts to scale, their product base or market segments start to diversify, the requirements from their rental software start to scale outward. Maintenance and service management, procurement and complex asset management, sales and consumable management, customer management and sales rep functionality all come into play.
And these days, technology has become the additional driver for many rental companies when they are looking at software. Mobile apps and portals take rental tracking and management into the field or to their customer’s jobsites. Telematics integration to get real time data feeds back from equipment to maintenance teams, GPS tracking to show exactly where equipment is and a central location to manage all this data and enable accurate and timely reporting.
The underlying four elements that no software can be without:
■ SECURITY: Whether looking for a billing engine or the most technologically rich solution on the planet, if it doesn’t come with built-in security then they are potentially putting their entire business and reputation at risk.
• STABILITY: Businesses need to know that the software they use is provided by a credible business that will be around for the long haul.
• FLEXIBILITY: This is the key to adapting as rental business grows or changes, the last thing companies want to do is to be forced into changing their rental software because they have outgrown it, or because it cannot adapt to new ways of working.
• SCALABILITY: Businesses that are growing need a supplier that can support both domestic and international growth. Differences between states and countries can be a big hassle without the right software in place.
ALH: What are the biggest changes your software for the construction and rental industries has undergone in the last year?
SOWERBY: The biggest change we addressed this year was to meet our customers’ need to extend the capabilities of their rental and asset management system outside of the office. Businesses want to extend their reach to their remote employees as well as their remote client jobsites. We have added new mobile features to expand the reach of the software out of the office to remote employees and all the way into the hands of end users. Renters can now use their mobile device to find and rent available equipment and manage their accounts. Enabling the company’s remote staff and end customers helps reduce the friction and the level of effort in the entire renting process. The rental process is evolving from multiple phone calls, to managing on a computer, to the Internet and now to a mobile device that is always available.
We also have a jobsite portal that allows jobsite personnel to access a catalog of equipment that they can order for their jobsite. The order then electronically flows to the back office who can either fulfil the request with their company-owned equipment or re-rent. The portal then manages the entire supply process from tracking the asset location through to billing, job costing or allocation.
Wynne’s Job Site Portal takes the complexity out of managing equipment at one or more jobsites. The portal gives equipment managers, jobsite foreman and procurement personnel real-time visibility of their equipment. They can track owned and rented equipment at each jobsite and in the yard, manage transfers between sites and allocate costs back to the specific project or job all over one integrated paperless system.
The jobsite portal provides a simple e-commerce interface to Wynne’s construction software. Jobsite personnel simply log into the jobsite portal and select what equipment they need by clicking on a picture of the item. Standard equipment rates can be displayed up front in the portal to reduce surprises and if it has to be rented in from outside then preferred vendor rates can be shown. Once an item is chosen, they select the quantity needed, when they need it, and where. Each request is accompanied by a job or project costing information including task or project sub-codes for cost allocation.
Personnel can also go into the system and see exactly what they have assigned to each project. They can view outstanding requisitions and pending orders, what is on rent as well as what was off rented in the period. This lets them check that they are not being charged for something they shouldn’t be and alerts them if they still have something onsite that needs to be picked up. They can also manage their project budgets and see all their costs per period in one consolidated location. The jobsite portal along with mobile applications support a paperless process for construction businesses.
ALH: How do people know their data and information is safe and secure?
SOWERBY: Wynne is committed to keeping our customers’ data secure and safe. We have stringent controls on how we manage and audit customer’s data that is complaint with SOC 1 type 2 standards. That means we have a strict set of procedures and controls as it relates to data handling and management and that is examined by an independent auditor every year to ensure compliance.
Wynne provides enterprise-grade firewalls and antivirus protection to make sure we are safeguarding data. We also update our firmware and programs routinely to make sure we are up to date on all our systems.
Article extracted from Access, Lift & Handler, March 2017 issue.