Blog / Equipment Rental Software—Cloud ERP: Tech Trends Spotlight



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Equipment Rental Software—Cloud ERP: Tech Trends Spotlight

Every organization has unique needs when it comes to technology, and equipment rental businesses are no exception. Rental companies need to be able to track equipment in different locations, manage and schedule reservations, invoice customers, determine the equipment they should stock for profitability and customer demand, stay competitive, maximize profit margins, and more.

In the past, this has meant that rental businesses have had to rely on bespoke, specialized systems, custom software, or on-premise ERP solutions. However, as the equipment rental industry continues to grow, so too has the availability of equipment rental software in the cloud specifically designed to centralize operational management and analysis for rental businesses.

According to recent studies, the market for cloud ERP software will increase at a rate of 17.4% compound annual growth (MarketsandMarkets). This can be attributed to several factors, chief among them the scalability that cloud ERP software can offer small-to-medium-sized businesses looking to grow.

Rental companies are turning to centralized cloud technology to run their business for a myriad of reasons. Among them is eliminating the risks of operational downtime, decreasing the cost of maintaining, managing, and working around legacy systems, but primarily having access to the data they need to stay competitive.

Many equipment rental businesses still run multiple systems for various tasks or rely on manual spreadsheets for portions of their record-keeping and equipment tracking. The problem with that approach is that the business runs reactively from historical data instead of real-time feedback. It is resource-intensive to maintain and update, difficult to use, and doesn’t effectively graduate with expanding businesses or operational demands. 

Equipment rental companies that put initiatives into adopting centralized cloud ERP software can grow quicker and adapt to market changes and opportunities faster, making them more competitive.

In this article, we’ll explore the following:

  • What is the equipment rental software cloud ERP trend and why is it beneficial for rental companies?
  • How does cloud ERP compare to other software options available to equipment rental businesses?
  • The best way to approach evaluating equipment rental cloud ERP software for your business

Let’s get started!

What is the Equipment Rental Software Cloud ERP Trend and Why is it Beneficial for Rental Companies?

Cloud ERP is a software system hosted by a provider and accessed via the internet. It allows rental businesses to manage their finances, fleet, rentals, customers, tickets, operations, HR, and more in one central location. Cloud ERP has become popular in recent years because it offers numerous advantages over other software options available to equipment rental companies.

Equipment rental cloud ERP software is also referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS). This means equipment rental businesses can subscribe to the service and pay a monthly fee instead of paying an upfront license fee with on-premise solutions or building their own custom software in-house. This pay-as-you-go factor decreases the risk in the software investment, contributing to the growing trend of cloud ERP in the equipment rental sector.

Licensing costs aren’t the only benefit Cloud ERP offers to rental businesses who adopt. Other advantages include:

  • Reduced equipment costs. Cloud ERP software is hosted on the vendor’s servers and accessed through an internet connection, meaning that businesses only need equipment to run the client interface. This can sometimes be as simple as a tablet or even a cell phone. Many cloud ERP solutions, like ODT Rentals on the popular Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform, also offer mobile access, which allows any resource to manage their operations even when they are on the go.
  • Real-time updates and information sharing. Because cloud ERP is hosted centrally, all users have access to the most up-to-date information, reports, and analytics on-demand. This eliminates the need for businesses to email or print reports, saves time when gathering data for decision-making, and offers real-time visibility on all aspects of the operation.
  • Seamless scalability. Cloud ERP solutions are built to grow with equipment rental businesses. Adding users, equipment, and branches is seamless with cloud ERP software because the solution automatically adapts as your business needs and size expand. This eliminates the need to upgrade equipment or hardware as you grow and allows you to take advantage of new market opportunities when they arise—without having to worry about operational limitations.
  • Reduced IT costs. Many equipment rental businesses struggle to keep the full stack of their technology infrastructure running smoothly. With cloud ERP, trusted equipment rental software providers (also referred to as technology partners) host the system and manage any IT issues that may come up. This frees up equipment rental business resources to focus on other tasks that will contribute more directly to growing the business.
  • Eliminated downtime risk. Cloud ERP software systems offer equipment rental companies the ability to access their data and information even if they have a hardware failure or power outage. This allows you to continue operating without disruptive downtime while repairs are made. In addition, hosting platforms like Microsoft Azure automatically keep 4 backups of your data and system, one at a different, off-site hosting location to ensure even cyber-terrorism or natural disasters don’t threaten your business.
  • Quick, automatic upgrades. New releases of cloud ERP software are often delivered automatically and without any downtime to users. This means equipment rental businesses can benefit from product updates and new features as soon as they are available, at no additional cost like the traditional, disruptive on-premise software upgrades of the past.
  • Advanced equipment rental ERP software functions. Modern equipment rental software cloud ERP solutions offer equipment management tools that allow equipment rental companies to track, manage and report on their physical assets in real-time. This includes automation of the equipment rental process from quote to close, as well as tools for advanced billing and invoicing, subrental management, equipment utilization tracking and forecasting, and even HR.

To learn more about equipment rental ERP benefits, we encourage you to download and read the free whitepaper: How to Maximize Equipment Rental Margins in an Increasingly Competitive Market: An Introduction to Equipment Rental ERP.

How Does Cloud ERP Compare to Other Available Software Options for Equipment Rental Businesses?

As we covered in the last section, equipment rental cloud ERP software is changing industry operations by making equipment management and resource allocation easier than ever before. Its scalable, flexible, and affordable nature helps businesses adapt to new market opportunities as they occur without having to worry about the costs or disruptions of implementing a new solution.

Still, there are other software options available to equipment rental companies. These include systems like QuickBooks, manual Excel spreadsheets, bespoke equipment tracking apps, or point-systems for equipment management with specific capabilities like financial management, reporting, and tracking. While each of these software options may have individual benefits, they all lack the comprehensive equipment rental functionality and features offered by a centralized cloud ERP solution.

When considering upgrading your equipment rental software to take advantage of the latest advances in cloud technology, it is important to weigh the cost and time investments against potential returns. Cloud ERP is a hot trend for a reason – it offers equipment rental businesses an immediate return on investment in the form of increased efficiency, minimized downtime, and advanced features not available with other software options.

It’s also important to stay on top of and consider the other rental industry technology trends when looking at your software options to make sure what you are investing in can be compatible with other functional needs you might have, whether it’s now or in the future. This can also help you prioritize various infrastructure investments to match your emerging operational requirements and gaps.

The Best Way to Approach Evaluating Equipment Rental Cloud ERP Software For Your Business

When evaluating a cloud ERP solution for your equipment rental company, it is important to consider the specific needs of your business. The best way to do this is by creating a list of your equipment rental software requirements.

These requirements should be tailored to your operations, staff, and future goals, outlining the unique challenges and limitations faced by your company. In addition, the stakeholders in your equipment rental businesses should compare the list of requirements with a comprehensive equipment rental ERP checklist like this one: Equipment Rental Software Checklist to ensure it covers all your needs.

Once you have a list of equipment rental software requirements and have compared them with an equipment rental ERP checklist, it’s time to start evaluating cloud ERP solutions and providers. Not all providers offer the same level of equipment rental functionality or expertise, so it is important to do your research first.

To help make your evaluation process easier, you can use equipment rental software comparison tools like this one: Compare the Top Equipment Rental Software Solutions to compare and contrast equipment rental functionality against your requirements and across multiple providers. This will allow you to quickly and easily determine if a provider or product offers the features you need most, helping you make an informed decision when selecting equipment rental cloud ERP software for your business and saving you time by giving you a shortlist for the live demo process.

Want to take the next step on the equipment rental software, cloud ERP trend for your business? Get started for free with ODT Rentals today!