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New insights to help accelerate the rental customer experience

I recently selected a McKinsey blog “Imagining construction’s digital future” as my Executive Pick for our Predict blog. In their curation of a list of technologies to enhance the performance of the construction industry what stands out is their emphasis on being attainable and realistic. They are all practical and proven solutions. And they mention telematics, so I’m in a good place with them!

One of the exciting things we’re seeing is the potential for technology to play an increasingly important role in delivering a better experience for the equipment rental customer.

Telematics is ready to help propel that transformation by adding great insights throughout operational stage of the equipment rental process.

Let me give that a little context – for a more detailed explanation, click through to the 6-minute vlog I recorded recently in Copenhagen.

We’ve been workshopping with our rental company customers and together we’ve identified a universal and simplified, step by step overview of the rental process. It breaks down into the quoting/ pricing/ booking stage; followed by materials and equipment being delivered, people trained and so-on. Then the off-hiring stage which includes returns, service and repairs, and finally invoicing.

To date, telematics has really been utilized at the start of the rental process in a classic kind of way; locating units, tracking and tracing and possibly helping find stolen or mislaid equipment. However, it’s when the unit is being delivered that machine data is set provide new insights to help accelerate the customer experience through increased efficiency and reduced downtime.

For many rental companies, operations still require lots of busy people and many pieces of paper. But increasingly we’re being asked to integrate with the systems being used by service management people in the field to add value to their workflow. It’s here that analytics based on machine data from telematics can solve three big issues for the hiring companies.

Firstly, telematics can enable problems with equipment to be diagnosed remotely. This is going to substantially reduce machine downtime as service personnel can be briefed properly with supporting data prior to being dispatched. Furthermore, the site will only be attended by an engineer equipped with both the appropriate spare parts and the correct tools to ensure an effective and efficient repair.

Secondly, telematics systems can provide a black box style tracking of incidents, recording both what machines and operators. This is going to be useful, e.g., root cause analysis of health and safety incidents. However, by continuously logging data about both operator and machine activity, you can use automation to solve the challenge of ensuring a complete record of equipment use and service.

These sophisticated services are feasible right now and not very far away. But the third and probably the most eagerly awaited development is in predictive operations.

By extracting machine data and making it transparent in the workflow, we are moving to a point where technology will be able overcome lost construction hours due to unforeseen downtime, service errors and supply chain problems. 

The key thing is how to get started. If we’re going to fully transform the equipment rental experience, we need to start by connecting man and machine.

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