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United Rentals, the largest equipment rental company in the world, relies on a complex fleet management system. For years, coordinating delivery of vehicles and machines was a multi-step process that relied on a mix of applications and paperwork. As the company continued to expand, it became clear that an optimized mobile device solution had the potential to drastically improve how vehicles and machines were delivered.
Barcoding, Inc., a long-time United Rentals partner, consulted on the company’s digitization roadmap for delivery operations. By leveraging a strong relationship with Samsung and previous experience Barcoding was able to deliver a custom device solution that met all United Rentals’ goals.
Traditionally, delivery operations for United relied on manual, paper processes. For example, workers needed to travel back and forth from offices to job sites to obtain customer signatures, communicate with dispatch and deliver and file paperwork. And, because these processes were largely manual, the resulting time delays and other inefficiencies were impacting productivity.
“Our industry wasn’t really a digital savvy industry—it was more old school,” said J.R. Taalman, Director of Central Operations Strategy at United Rentals. “It was clear we needed to lead the industry by providing a digital solution [in our fleet management operations]. We believed there was a real customer need [to digitize our delivery processes].”
United Rentals wanted to transform the equipment rental pipeline into an entirely digital experience. However, since the goal was to integrate such a varied array of functionality, from vehicle monitoring to back-office and invoicing, the United Rentals team was unable to locate a single vendor that could solve the complex series of challenges inherent to a project of this size. Instead, United Rentals decided to mix and match services with a best-of-breed approach, which allowed the company to get the most specialized service for all parts of the business. By choosing Barcoding, United Rentals had a solid partner for the transition from manual to digital delivery operations.
“Barcoding brought expertise in the provisioning and implementation of the project, which we wouldn’t have been able to do ourselves without hiring and training a lot of folks,” said Kevin Neville, Director of Technology and Enterprise Architect at United Rentals. “Barcoding was able to help us tremendously.”
Since 2009, Barcoding has been acting as a systems integrator and advisor to United Rentals. As United Rentals laid out a roadmap for its transition to a paperless workflow, the Barcoding team offered advice and research to better inform the proper hardware and software implementation choices.
Succeeding with a best-of-breed approach requires diligent research and management of numerous moving pieces. Barcoding helped the United Rentals team by bringing the proper resources together to create a tailored solution.
After examining all use cases and identifying all possible functionality requirements, the Barcoding team provided hardware recommendations to United Rentals to help the company be more efficient, accurate, and connected. In the end, the team chose to refresh from expensive, enterprise mobile handhelds to Android applications on Samsung S Series devices, which could be quickly customized at a lower cost than industrial devices. Because of a strong partnership with Samsung, Barcoding is an expert on Samsung’s product line, stays ahead of the curve on software training, and receives regular updates on products and features. The Barcoding team leveraged this knowledge to provide recommendations and counsel that aligned with United Rentals’ long-term strategy, ensuring United Rentals was well positioned for the future.
"The Barcoding team came in and took a very complex series of tasks, implementation events all with varying dependencies, and they were able to find solutions and help us see a clear path and guide us through it,” Taalman explained.
Barcoding’s solution enabled the United Rentals team to become more efficient by increasing data accuracy, cutting down the time spent on administrative tasks, like invoicing, and improving delivery times. As a result, customer satisfaction also rose. United Rentals found itself poised to respond to customer requests faster and with greater accuracy than ever before.
“Our on-time delivery for customers was greatly improved with the implementation of these tools,” said Neville. “It also allowed us to give customers increased visibility into the order process. Customers can see when a piece of equipment is en route and when a delivery is complete. Some customers like information each step of the way and others just want to know when something’s delivered—this provides them with the flexibility to be as engaged with the order process as much as they want to be.”
“It has created a higher level of predictability and consistency for us in our operations,” said Taalman. “We’ve become a better company because internally, the digital platform demands that we be more accurate and thoughtful about how we’re transacting business. That ultimately translates into a better customer experience. We can do more deliveries and pickups for our customers without adding a lot of operational costs to achieve it. We’ve become more effective and more efficient. We’re able to do more and grow our business
without growing our cost base.”
By leveraging the Samsung phones’ developer-friendly traits, United Rentals can also evolve the solution as business needs change. Using consumer devices provides additional adaptability for United Rentals’ on-staff developers, who are able to modify and update applications as new features are rolled out.
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