United Rentals providing ‘benchmarking’ insights to customers

By Murray Pollok04 October 2021

United Rentals is using the data it collects on equipment and construction processes to provide benchmarking information for its customers.

Norty Turner, United’s Senior Vice President, Services and Advanced Solutions, speaking at the European Rental Association (ERA) Convention in Amsterdam, told delegates that it is using aggregated data from its operations to provide business insights to customers.

Norty Turner, United Rentals, speaking at the 2021 ERA Convention in Amsterdam.

“We have that data [on machine use] to show customers how they are doing compared to others….we find ways to drive productivity and safety.”

He gave the example of a customer using a particular range of equipment on a certain type of job; “the customer can say, ‘look, we’re keeping it longer’”.

Providing business insights – such as benchmarking - was one of the four key areas where Turner said technology could provide deeper customer service, with the company also focused on equipment transparency, fleet management tools, and ease of access (through mobile Apps).

On equipment transparency, Turner said a large proportion of its fleet – “closer to 100% than you think” – was now telematics enabled, and that in some cases it was tracking more than just location and working hours, with, for example, the working height of aerial platforms or the travel speed of vehicles being measured.

Its fleet management tools, meanwhile, provide customisable dashboards and rule-based alerts providing “the right data, in the right hands, at the right place.”

When asked about measuring CO2 emissions for customers, Turner responded, “we’re working on that”, although it isn’t currently available.

To a question on rental pricing based on productivity rather than rental duration, he said United was piloting technology that looks at the productivity of machines; “That’s a very interesting future, but we’re not in that reality yet.”

He concluded; “Customers have an outcome-focus and if you help them achieve those outcomes then your business will grow and your profits will rise.”

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