Specialist plant rental provider automates hire process, safety and carbon offsetting certificate distribution and damage re-charging process
Codeless Platforms today revealed that Ardent Hire Solutions, one of the UK’s largest specialist plant rental providers, has managed to save hundreds of hours per month in time and resources by integrating Access Dimensions with InspHire and then automating multiple business processes. Once integrated, Ardent Hire was able to automate its hire process documentation, damage re-charging process, as well as the generation and distribution of safety and carbon offsetting certificates.
“It’s quite difficult to put a figure on ROI or hours saved but, looking down the list of tasks that we’ve got in BPA Platform now, it’s in the realm of hundreds of hours a month. The tool has had a big impact and contributed to the growth that we have experienced as a company by being able to streamline our processes. It has helped us improve our customer service and enabled us to increase our revenue streams. Rather than having a culture that simply accepts that our accounting software or hire system can’t do something, having something like BPA Platform opens a completely different way of thinking within the business. Rather than saying we can’t do this, we are now are able to say yes,” said Martyn Griggs, Applications Manager, Ardent Hire Solutions.
Ardent Hire was established in August 2015 when an equity firm that had purchased two very successful family-owned businesses (Fork Rent and One Call Hire) decided to merge the two companies together. The company then needed to integrate Access Dimensions with its hire system, InspHire. The main issues that Ardent Hire wanted to address was streamlining and speeding up its hire confirmation for deliveries and collections as well as its damage re-charging process.
“It’s all about confirming that we have delivered the right equipment in good condition to the customer. Pictures showing the condition that the machines were in when we dropped them off at their site and the signature of the person that received them. The problem was that the system couldn’t bring all this information together in a single document that could be sent to the customer. It was a very, very time-consuming process and just wasn’t feasible to do anymore. We therefore created three tasks in BPA Platform to collate all the information together. That’s been a lightning fast solution to a problem that was causing a few headaches and made a massive difference,” explained Griggs.
“The damage re-charging process took a team of five persons to do and frequently resulted in missed SLAs and the loss of opportunity to recoup costs. We used BPA Platform to implement a single automated task that brought all the photographs from delivery, collection and repair as well as the itemised charges that the customer would be receiving, into a single document and then send it by email with a standard template.”
“After implementing the process we have been able to reduce the headcount in the finance back office for this task from 5 to 0.5 heads; reduce the time to notify collection damage from 21 days to 4 days and reduce the time to notify charges for on-site damage from 5 days to 1 day. With only minimal impact on our operational staff, the task has enabled us to achieve prompt and efficient re-charging of damage, which has resulted in increased revenue.”
With the entire hire and collection document process automated, Ardent Hire started looking at other areas of the business where it could use BPA Platform to automate manual tasks that would help improve efficiency and streamline business processes. One of these involved downloading data from InspHire each day, merging it with data from Access Dimensions and then uploading it to its invoice query management system (QMS) – a web-based tool supplied by Access.
“We wanted to upload data into our QMS from the hire system as well, but there wasn’t a standard export function for that. Someone therefore had to, on a daily basis, generate one export from InspHire, another from Access, merge the two into a spreadsheet and then upload that to the QMS. It was a good candidate for automation because it took someone half an hour a day to perform; time they could be spending doing other things, such as chasing payments,” declared Griggs.
Another project that Ardent Hire decided to concentrate on was the issuing of machine safety certificates to its customers. Previously, the certificate was reliant on a member of staff at the depot simply placing it in the machinery’s cab. As this occasionally got missed, Ardent Hire decided to automate this document process to make sure that customers always received the current certificate for the hire.
“Every machine should go out with its current, up-to-date safety certificate. The site has every right to reject the machine if it doesn’t come with that. We could face some heavy penalties if we sent a machine out that didn’t have a valid safety certificate. We therefore decided to ensure that once the maintenance team had finished the PDI (pre delivery inspection) the certificate would be viewable on our system and we could email it directly to the site; not just relying on it being put in the cab by a member of the maintenance team,” said Griggs.
More recently, Ardent Hire has introduced an innovative new service, giving its customers the opportunity to purchase carbon credits to reduce the carbon footprint of their hired-in machinery. CO₂ can be offset by paying a small amount each week that goes towards carbon reduction projects, to reduce emissions equivalent to those generated by utilisation. In return for this, the customers automatically get sent a carbon offsetting certificate.
“We have developed a task that will automatically create a certificate at the end of each month telling the customer how much they’ve offset. The certificate details how much CO₂ a particular machine has produced and that it’s going to cost them a small amount each week to offset. It’s a nice thing to be able to encourage our customers to consider the environment in this way,” concluded Griggs.
About Ardent Hire Solutions
Ardent Hire Solutions is one of the largest specialist plant rental providers in the UK, with 7,000 machines, 11 depots and nearly 300 employees. It specialises in excavators, telehandlers, rollers, dumpers, rough terrain forklifts, roto-telehandlers and a comprehensive selection of attachments and ancillaries. The company operates its own in-house transport fleet with over 54 vehicles, employing 140 engineers and operations people with access to over 650 engineers from its core supplier partners. It is a pioneering hire company, picking up multiple awards for technology, H&S and innovation in the Building Innovations Awards and Construction News Awards. Innovations available to its customers include: Site Manager, Ardent’s delivery tracking App, CheckMate, Defect Manager, Site Cert, plus much more.
About Codeless Platforms
Founded in 1999, Codeless Platforms is a highly experienced and trusted software company that develops data integration, business process automation and rapid application development solutions. Our two flexible, powerful platforms – BPA Platform and Applications Platform – enable organisations to take full control over their data as well as respond to the rapidly changing demands of business today. Our knowledge of the marketplace and channel has grown in line with this development and established us as a highly experienced and reputable software company, working with partners and software vendors (Access, Infor, Microsoft, Sage and SAP) who have the confidence to invest in Codeless Platforms. With over 450 global partners, more than 7500 customers use Codeless Platforms’ software solutions, ranging from diverse global organisations to the small local enterprise. The company is headquartered in Poole, UK, with representative offices throughout the world.