Event rental operations, when done correctly, should create operational processes aimed at ensuring a high level of accuracy for the customer. One of the biggest challenges is the last minute nature of an event. “My head count just increased and I need to adjust all of the…” These phone calls are common and usually very last minute; handling them efficiently is the complicated part. If order changes are manually walked through the operation, valuable labor is lost; however, if handled haphazardly, customers lose confidence in the product (service being the product). Balancing the two has never been more important as competition moves in and customer expectations remain high.
Most rental management software can produce some sort of a pick ticket for upcoming events to ensure orders are pre-packed and ready to go when needed. The most successful operations can pre-pull orders 1-2 days in advance, in contrast to many that pre-pull orders 3-5 days in advance in an effort to manually ensure product availability and avoid inventory delays (these operations generally lack software that supports accurate inventory control – good rental management software will provide these tools). Pulling orders more than 1-2 days in advance will almost always guarantee a change to an already pulled order, adding labor expense that otherwise would not be needed. The real problem lies in what happens after the order has been pulled and staged. Order changes must be communicated to the appropriate departments to ensure 100% accuracy at final delivery. Typically the sales person prints a copy of the order and walks it out to the appropriate departments. This is common in smaller operations that are not as departmentalized as larger ones; but has also been observed in some of the largest operations. Size does not prevent you from being organized and process driven. With Point-of-Rental™ Systems, your sales staff can see immediately if an order has been pulled (by department) or has been loaded on a delivery truck. Change orders are tracked by Point-of-Rental™ Systems and retrieved by the operational departments; they do not rely on a person to print a copy and manually pass it through the operation. There is nothing worse than a delay because an order change was not communicated properly.
All too often, event/party rental companies focus on maintaining a high level of confidence from their customers, but miss out on opportunities to improve operational processes and flow. When an issue is identified, typically, processes are modified in an effort to eliminate the problem; but it is done at the expense of process efficiency and over time, labor increases will outpace revenue growth and profitability. It is equally important to make adjustments and course corrections in the process itself. Part of any process evaluation should include software functionality that eliminates the potential for an employee to make an error. Point-of-Rental has focused on automation in processes that rely heavily on people and have high error rates. How often has an order been pulled incorrectly because an employee was busy and forgot to deliver the order change to the operation. By removing the manual process, you streamline your rental management operation (reducing labor) and ensure customers receive 100% accurate orders.