Many have found the container industry to be highly unprofitable over the past several years. Making things worse, earnings have been exceptionally low for some. Several factors are responsible, notably trade’s spotty recovery from the global financial crisis, and redoubled efforts by customers to control costs. Some of the pain is self-inflicted: Poor inventory control, tedious billing cycles, lack of resources to help your daily operations flow smoothly, and hard-to-manage Excel sheets. Then, you also face economic cycles of highs and lows. The reality is that the industry is changing and so should your business. It is time to start evaluating software solutions that are specifically designed to handle fluctuations in supply and demand. It is now time to start building the capacity needed to grow your business. With the changes in the industry’s culture, it is critical not to stay behind when the right product can help you achieve more success. What may have appeared an unneeded tool is now turning into a valuable asset that will undoubtedly assist business growth.
So much software... So little time.
Back in the day, the choice for rental software was as easy as choosing from Door #1, 2, or 3. Today, there are over 40 companies that claim to offer rental software for equipment or party & event rental businesses.
Things can get pretty hectic for mason suppliers, especially around Spring and Summer — which are just around the corner! That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your game during the Fall and Winter months. If you want your next season to be even better, even more organized, and even more profitable than the last busy season, it isn’t going to happen by itself. You need a plan and you need the right tools to execute that plan.
Has this happened to you?
Customer A orders a product that isn't in stock, so you tell him that the product will be back in stock in a few days. He agrees to wait for you to ship. The product comes in and, instead of turning the product right around to your waiting customer, your receiving person puts the product away on the warehouse shelf where it sits for a few days until either (A) someone finally realizes that the customer is waiting, or (B) Customer A calls you asking why he hasn't received his product yet. Or worse yet, another customer's order was fulfilled and shipped even though he placed a brand new order today, so now you're out of the product AGAIN! If you've ever experienced this first-hand as a customer, then you know the customer impact - it absolutely frustrates them and could easily send them packing to another vendor.
Typically at year end businesses are frenetically scrambling to close their books (at least preliminarily) until their accountant performs their final review. That could be anywhere from now until April, or if on extension, quite a bit later in the year.
Words can be powerful, and choosing the right words can make all the difference. Let's be honest. We all get frustrated at one point or another, but being able to control that frustration is a key skill in keeping good customer relations. In a recent article, "Choosing the Right Words" which appeared in the May Issue of Rental Management Magazine, official magazine of The American Rental Association, the author, Barry Himmel, explains how your tone and choice of words is extremely important in regards to customer interaction, so be sure to choose your words wisely. In the article, Mr. Himmel provides a list of alternatives to phrases that alienate customers. For example, instead of "I can't help you", replace it with "Here is what I can do for you." Read the entire article here.
One of our clients has a sign in their Customer Service Department. It says: "Please put brain in gear before engaging mouth." Great advice!
Use Contact Management Software In Your Daily Operations
Improving your business relationships involves more than just the words you say. It's also important to make your customer feel important and valued. One of the most important ways that you can do this is to remember and reference prior conversations.
Topics: Universal Blog
Have you seen the onslaught of advertisements for those new “quickie” face lifts? You know, the ones where you see faces that are, shall we say… a bit tired looking? Then, after one quick “zippie-lift”…Voilà! They are rejuvenated and vibrant again. (Come on… don’t pretend you haven’t seen these ads at least once.)
Well, what about your business? Could it use a bit of re-invention? Nothing drastic – just a quick “pick-me-up” that can make a world of difference? It doesn't matter whether you are an industrial distributor, a mason supply business, or an equipment, container or trailer rental company. Put the complicated business advice aside for a moment. Here are 5 easy, quick, and affordable steps that you can take today to get immediate results:
(1) Lighten up. It could be a quick coat of paint on your walls. Perhaps it’s new inexpensive lighting to brighten up your front counter or illuminate dark corners in your store or office. It might just be that you need to lighten up the mood and environment. If you have snarky, unhappy employees, don’t kid yourself into thinking your customers don’t pick up on that. Try to give your employees the support they need in terms of training, kudos, or appropriate compensation in order to be happy, friendly and productive. Let them know that you want your company to bump Disney as “the happiest place on earth”. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to lighten your staff. Lose the dead weight and bring on motivated employees with whom your customers enjoy interacting. You might be amazed at the reactions of both your customers and your loyal employees.
Topics: Universal Blog
Merchants and consumers alike have never been more concerned about credit card theft and data security, rightfully so. Take a look at the article appearing 2 days ago in USA today. In light of the recent security breach involving retailer Target and reportedly affecting approximately 40 million credit and debit cardholders, owners of small to medium-size businesses wonder how they can protect themselves and their customers when retail giants with seemingly unlimited resources for data protection are vulnerable. Even though this may be top-of-mind for many at this very moment, cybercrime has been an increasing menace for quite some time.
Topics: Universal Blog
More than any other industry, rental companies rely heavily on technology to help them manage their businesses. The rental business is just not as straightforward as a retail or distribution operation. After all, your customers aren't just buying product; they are walking out the door with your assets - your inventory! You need to be sure that what went out is what comes back, not only in quantity but also in the same condition.
When a company starts to review rental software, they often create a document of requirements or a list of Pros vs. Cons. But there's one point that we never see listed and it is one of the most significant factors: Time. Time that is being wasted on tedious tasks or unnecessary duplication of efforts. Time that you or your staff will gain with the use of the right software.
In a recent article entitled "Put Technology To Work For You" which appeared in the latest issue of Rental Product News and also on http://www.forconstructionpros.com, the writer, Dick Detmer, give an excellent, balanced viewpoint: "As with any investment in technology, don’t take the plunge without adequate research. Then again, don’t put off making the decision so long that you miss the extra profit that enhanced technology can produce. As you try to explain to your employees, it’s not totally about how much money your company takes in, it’s what is left after all of the expenses. So, take advantage of what technology has to offer and keep more of what you and your employees have worked so hard to bring in". Certainly well said. So how would you go about evaluating the time that you'll gain if you changed your current method of operations?
Topics: Universal Blog
One of the most important decisions you will make for your business is which software to run it on. Software selection can also be a daunting, stressful tasks. One of the most difficult questions is: “Where do I start?” Like many other important decisions, it’s important to ask someone who has already gone through the process.
The information presented here was originally part of a study done by Deloitte & Touche. In this study, companies that were evaluating accounting systems for their businesses were asked to name the "Top 10" criteria they used to select a solution. The criteria were ranked in order of importance and those who were in the process of selecting their accounting software for the first time were ranked separately from those businesses that were selecting their second software solution. Below is a comparison of the importance of various criteria used in evaluations. Notice the change in rankings for second-time buyers who were looking to change from an existing system to a new one.
First Time Buyers - Here are the rankings for those businesses looking for their first accounting system:
Topics: Universal Blog