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Understanding Equipment Rental Management Systems: ‘ERP’ vs. ‘Software’

The equipment rental market is growing significantly, and with it is the need for equipment rental businesses to expand, scale, and stay competitive. To meet these challenges, many rental suppliers are looking to leverage modern technology that automates, centralizes, and scales their operations. By gaining better visibility on performance and finances, owners and management can proactively steer the rental business to effectively meet customer demands and boost profitability. 

But exactly what technology is fit to drive these efficiencies and improvements? And specifically, when searching for solutions, how is ‘Equipment Rental ERP’ different from ‘Equipment Rental Software’ or other accounting software and point systems built for the industry? 

Equipment Rental Software vs. Equipment Rental ERP 

The challenge with equipment rental software is that it has evolved into a term that broadly encompasses all software solutions. This includes stand-alone systems, which are built to address equipment rental management functionality only, not other operational areas of the business.  As a result, these solutions can be quite limited in the broader business process management (BPM) they provide.  

Equipment rental ERP, on the other hand, specifically refers to a single integrated system that provides the necessary functions to manage and streamline all operations in a single, centralized place. This includes equipment rental management as well as financials, sales, HR, CRM, warehousing, and more. With an ERP solution in place, rental businesses can automate and manage their entire operation, from rental booking to invoicing, in a more streamlined and efficient way. 

Rental suppliers can also benefit from enhanced visibility into critical performance data, such as rental fleet utilization, average revenue per unit (ARPU), margins, and more. Armed with this information, business owners, executives, and department heads can make proactive decisions that will help them stay ahead of the competition and improve the bottom line.  

Factors When Selecting an Equipment Rental Management System 

When it comes to choosing the right equipment rental solution, there are several factors that businesses should be aware of. The first is data integrity.  Since stand-alone systems don’t integrate with other business areas or share information in a central database, limited visibility into performance across departments can lead to unnecessary manual efforts, errors, and inaccuracies. 

Another factor is scalability. Stand-alone systems are often limited in their ability to grow and scale with the business as it expands, especially since they aren’t made or required to update with the other technology businesses must rely on. This can lead to frustration for equipment rental businesses that hit a ceiling or have outgrown their current system. 

A final consideration is the total cost of ownership (TCO). Stand-alone systems require integration with other software, hardware, and more, so the total cost of ownership can be higher than businesses initially expect. And without long-term TCO visibility across departments, it’s hard to forecast future expenses of the infrastructure accurately. 

Top 5 Benefits of Equipment Rental ERP  

Instead of continuing to lean on disconnected or legacy systems, equipment rental businesses are better off choosing an ERP solution that’s designed specifically for the industry and can be tailored to their requirements.  

ERP solutions offer the following top 5 benefits: 

  1. A single, centralized database 
  1. Real-time visibility across the entire operation 
  1. Flexibility and personalization 
  1. Expandable to all areas of the business 
  1. Scalability  

An integrated ERP system, like ODT Rentals on Microsoft’s proven Dynamics 365 Business Central platform, will offer a comprehensive suite of functionality across all areas of business, streamline processes and procedures through automation, give owners control over their fleet with real-time reporting on rental availability, customer requests, utilization rates, performance metrics, and more.  

ERP systems are also known for their ability to expand and adapt to the needs of a rental business as it grows and develops.  With an ERP in place, businesses can be assured that their technology investment will be able to keep up with changes, both big and small, for the life of the business

When it comes time to make a decision about the future of your business’s technology, don’t overlook the gains an ERP system for equipment rental will deliver. 

To learn more about equipment rental ERP and how to leverage the right technology to grow your rental business and make it more profitable, download our free whitepaper: