United Rentals’ Mobility Solution Named “Most Innovative Use of Enterprise Technology” by Mobile Enterprise Magazine
United Rentals is the largest equipment rental company in the world, offering for rent approximately 3,900 classes of equipment worth $7 billion. The company serves construction and industrial customers, utilities, municipalities, homeowners, and others.
Equipment Delivery Across the U.S. and Canada
United Rentals’ customers depend on timely delivery of reliable equipment to keep their projects on track. To achieve this, United
Rentals manages a fleet of 2,000 trucks across 900 branch locations in the United States and Canada, which transport equipment of all shapes and sizes, from backhoes to booms, to and from customer sites. In order to deliver the best possible customer experience United Rentals deployed a sophisticated best-of-breed mobile solution incorporating dynamic scheduling and load optimization, advanced proof-of-delivery with condition reports that contain photos, and integrated fleet management. This solution, dubbed FAST (Field Automation Strategy and Technology), helped to increase asset utilization, improve customer service, reduce fuel costs, ensure CSA compliance and improve driver safety. The FAST project was awarded the “Most Innovative Use of Enterprise Technology” by Mobile Enterprise Magazine.
United Rentals Ditches Paper to Streamline Processes
United Rentals’ manual and paper-based processes were just not delivering the efficiencies the business required. The delivery process relied heavily on printing and organizing documentation for drivers that included duplicate copies of the contract,
Rental Protection Plan, and equipment condition reports. The manual scheduling process limited planning to individual branches and required phone calls between the driver and dispatcher to modify plans and update status and location. The driver and vehicle safety process involved paper-based hours of service logs and vehicle inspection reports. These processes resulted in time-consuming calls between the driver and dispatcher, extra trips to the branch, and mistakes due to incomplete or incorrect paperwork. As a result, equipment was under-utilized, delivery routes were not optimized, and incomplete or missing paperwork impaired customer service and delayed payments.
When setting out to make a change, United Rentals realized they needed a seamless end-to-end solution that spanned multiple systems including dispatch, load and schedule optimization, vehicle monitoring, safety, pickup and delivery, and backoffice ERP. However, no single stand-alone solution delivered the features they required. Instead of finding a one-stop shop, they were going to need to put together a solution comprised of best-of-breed applications that worked well together in order to achieve their goals.
FAST Project Aims to Drive ROI
The goals of the FAST project were clear:
- Optimize scheduling of equipment delivery across multiple branches in real time to improve on-time arrival, reduce the amount of time spent on-site, and increase the number of stops per day;
- Speed equipment turnaround time to enhance asset utilization;
- Integrate fleet management to reduce fuel costs, improve driver safety, and strengthen CSA compliance with engine and driver performance monitoring, electronic driver logs, and vehicle inspection reports;
- Automate and streamline processes to reduce verbal communication and eliminate paperwork as part of the company’s sustainability effort;
- Increase customer satisfaction with advanced proof-of-delivery and emailed PDF condition reports that incorporate contract data and equipment photos.
In selecting solution partners, United Rentals knew that it was critical to have a system that was flexible yet extensible. They also needed technology that integrated smoothly into a seamless user experience.
The FAST project team created a sophisticated, groundbreaking solution that was a first in their industry and incorporated best of breed solutions including:
- Apacheta TransportACE™ to provide the mobile pickup and delivery workflow application in English and French with proof-of-delivery, condition reports with photos, electronic contracts, and barcode scanning; as well as seamless integration with XRS Turnpike
- XRS Turnpike to deliver integrated fleet management for the U.S. and Canada with electronic on-board recorders to track driver safety and performance and automate hours of service logs and vehicle inspection reports
- Motorola MC75A rugged handhelds with Bluetooth, wireless connectivity, barcode scanning, and camera functionality
- Visual Control Room from Intergis (now Telogis) to provide schedule and load optimization, dynamic dispatching and vehicle tracking
- Barcoding, Inc. to manage device provisioning and installation, and provide Level 2 technical support for the mobile software and
- High-speed wireless connectivity and nationwide coverage from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Bell Canada, and Telus Mobility
Creating a Game Changing Solution
Implementing FAST has moved United Rentals from the paper age to become the industry technology leader. No other rental company has deployed a solution that integrates rental reservation, transportation, supply chain, and CRM systems. As a result, the rental flow process moves faster and more efficiently because vehicles and routes are optimized and more information is available to dispatchers. All pickup and delivery workflows have been automated on the handheld devices, from driver logs to e-signatures to condition reports with photos. United Rentals is also able to capture data not previously available for reporting and analysis, including driver characteristics like excessive idle time and hard braking, as well as arrival/departure times and equipment
To date*, United Rentals has rolled out approximately 1,300 routes from over 900 branches throughout the U.S. and Canada, including a French language version of the application in Quebec province. The project is in the process of rolling out an additional 700 routes from 300 branches, including locations from the recently acquired RSC Rentals. United Rentals has put in place performance metrics to measure results including: idle time, hard braking time, number of dispatches per technician, number of trips per day, time spent on site, and time in yard between deliveries. As a result of this rollout, United Rentals’ sales representatives have a better understanding of time windows available for deliveries, dispatchers can handle branches more effectively, verbal communication has been minimized to deliver efficiencies and increase driver safety, routes have been optimized to make drivers
more productive and improve asset utilization, and vehicle and driver data is being monitored to increase safety and ensure compliance.