ERA Convention speakers urge rapid digital transformation

By Belinda Smart06 October 2021

The opportunities and risks of digitalisation were a key theme at the 15th annual ERA Convention in Amsterdam on 29 and 30 September, which was attended by 300 people from 23 countries.

Given the rapid nature of digital transformation, Stefan Ponea, country manager, Mateco Romania, presenting on ‘Transforming a rental business with digital technology’ urged companies to act decisively.

Stefan Ponea, country manager, Mateco Romania, speaking at the ERA Convention last week. (Photo: Maurice Vinken).

“Rather than trying to create / buy the perfect system during a long (er) period in time, choose to work at the fastest pace possible, even scrapping 30% of new features,” his presentation confirmed.

“The real value of the new digital idea will be given by its fast adoption by internal and external customers.”

For small and midsize businesses and startups, Ponea advised, “Have your software prepared for ‘uberisation’,” in other words the use of digital platforms to match end-users and suppliers at scale.

Speed of adoption was critical, he said.

“Instead of implementing the perfect software in six months, implement the fastest one that adds value to your customers.”

He also advised firms to “Listen, understand on focus on your good paying customers’ needs; focus on added value rather than on turnover.”

And he urged the rental and equipment industries to share their learnings and insights on digital innovation.

“Keeping it hidden in-house proves less profitable for the creator than sharing it with peers.”

“People should come together and freely share their knowledge and experience,” he said. “This creates positive traction, positive constructive competition and sharpens the capabilities of players, for a better customer experience, safer working environment and transparent relationship among all stakeholders.”

The Future Group workshop at the ERA Convention 2021.

The Convention also saw Michel Petitjean, ERA Secretary General outline the new ERA project on the impact of digitalisation on rental.

The project will entail research on the reports conducted in the area of digital transformation within and outside of Europe, along with interviews with rental companies, clients and OEMs and digital transformation case studies in other industries.

“The case studies and interviews will not only focus on the best practices or successes but also take into consideration the reasons for difficulties and failures.”

Meanwhile workshops on day two of the Convention also covered digital transformation, in particular within the Future Group session.

The use of digitalisation to improve the customer journey, maintenance and training, sustainability and the overall impact on the industry was discussed.

This included balancing the trend towards ‘uberisation’ with the need to offer high levels of service.

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