Point-of-Rental™ Systems was recently selected the winner of both the Computer Software category and the Technology Enhancement category in the 2011 Rental Equipment Register (RER) Innovative Product Awards competition, making the company a four-time winner of the award. Established in 2003, the RER Innovative Product Awards recognize excellence in new product development within the equipment rental industry. Each year, a panel of industry judges narrows the pool of entries to one winner in each of the 13 categories. The winning modules of Point-of-Rental’s Windows-based rental management software were Dispatch Center with GPS integration that claimed the Computer Software category prize, and integrated Mobile Website Hosting, which won the title in Technology Enhancement.
Dispatch Center with GPS Integration
Point-of-Rental’s winning entry in the Computer Software category fully integrates their Dispatch Center module into the rental management software. “Our software seamlessly gathers and updates contract info from the rental software, allowing the customer service reps, drivers, and the dispatchers to view the same real time data,” stated Jason Albus, Systems Engineer for Point-of-Rental. “Some other systems require users to enter the addresses into a 3rd party program in order to dispatch and track the routes with no updating of the rental software data. Our software transmits contract and jobsite information directly to the truck and tracks the vehicle’s progress in real time.”
The system monitors the progress of each vehicle and records arrival and departure times along with estimated time to the next stop. If a stop is added or removed from a route, those changes are sent directly to the vehicle and the driver is alerted. In addition, management can view historical on-time statuses, vehicle speed and driving history, and can be alerted if drivers enter non-authorized locations.
Special Event Rentals, the largest event rental company in Western Canada, served as a beta test site for the product. With over 100 employees and 20 delivery trucks, the company has hundreds of deliveries and pickups in any given week. “Having a robust dispatch system is a must,” said Thomas Pollard, Vice President of Special Event Rentals. “We have come to depend on and utilize the many features of [Point-of-Rental’s Dispatch] system.”
Special Event staff members plan the routes several days in advance and finalize them the day prior, using the integrated address verification system to determine address validity. At 2am each morning, the route data is automatically uploaded to each truck so that, when the drivers arrive in the morning, they simply pick up their route clipboards, do pre-trip truck inspections, and hit ‘go’ on their truck-mounted Garmin GPS units.
“When a customer calls in requesting delivery ETA, our order-desk staff can give them the information by clicking on route status within the contract,” said Pollard. “Having the integrated GPS cuts back a lot in the phone communication between dispatcher and drivers. Dispatch can send text messages to drivers that appear on the Garmin. In addition, having a GPS in every truck ensures that drivers are on task and not wasting time at the local Starbucks!”
Jason Campisi of South Jersey Party Rentals concurs with the benefits. “Dispatch Center with GPS integration is exactly the product that I have wanted for the past five years. No more plotting out every job manually and figuring out the best route. No more typing up truck manifests in Excel. No more looking at a separate company’s website to track your trucks. This system makes good dispatchers better and helps inexperienced ones avoid costly mistakes. It creates another level of employee accountability with drive times and onsite times. It also gives the sales team good estimated times of arrival for clients without having to talk to the dispatcher 20 times a day.”
Integrated Mobile Website Hosting
Point-of-Rental’s Mobile Website Hosting won the 2011 Innovative Product award in the Technology Enhancement category. The integrated web design service automatically uploads a rental store’s inventory from its Point-of-Rental™ System into a website complete with shopping cart for quote reservations. However, the most recent addition that won the 2011 award is the mobile website version of that. Now, mobile users who browse Point-of-Rental powered websites on their cell phones are automatically redirected to the optimized version specifically designed for small screens. Utilizing an intuitive touch-screen interface, the mobile version allows customers to search the online rental inventory without having to constantly zoom in and out. In addition, the displayed rental inventory is always up-to-date, providing customers on-the-go with current rental and pricing at all times and allowing them to call the store with a simple click of a button.
Chad Clark, Branch Manager for Superior Rents in Missouri, stated that as soon as their smartphone website went live, the business began receiving phone calls and reservations from customers in near-by towns who were searching for rentals on their cell phones.
Gianna Casale of Casale Rent-All in New York agrees that the award-winning feature makes a difference. “Our mobile website has been a huge hit with our customers!” she said. “Right from their smartphones, our customers in the field are able to look at our rental and sales inventory to find the equipment they need… With just a click of a button, they are connected to us. We also love how new products are added to the website the same day that we add them in our POR inventory—no extra steps needed!”