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000891 - MR Intro 23/11/09 13:49 Page 1
MARKET REPORT
SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS
Computing
the benefits
Starting this month’s Market Report,
Web portal functionality can increase the efficiency of transactions.
suppliers tell us about the practical advantages that the latest software can give hirers.
In challenging times, companies must maximise their business posted, so any business won as a result has cost the hirer next to
opportunities, and software programs are enabling hirers to do so. nothing to generate.”
Indeed, many of them are exploring ways of expanding their systems.
“Talking to hirers this year, it is evident that many have made Hirers in other market segments are also benefiting. A significant
economies to improve efficiency, but there is now a distinct feeling proportion of software provider T S Solutions’ customers operate in
among them that it is time to look forward positively,” says event hire. Marketing Manager Fiona Nutt says, “We have remained
Graham Dobbs, Sales Director of inspHire. busy throughout the year. Our customers include hirers of marquees,
furniture, catering equipment, exhibition stands, portable toilets and
“More companies are adding extra functions, like web portal modules. mobile communications. Some new clients have, until recently, either
People are comfortable now about booking things like flights and car used paper-based procedures or kept records on basic spreadsheets
hire on-line, and tool and equipment hirers are realising the benefits that are now inadequate, especially if they are planning to expand.
of offering this facility. Established customers can access their
accounts round the clock, order equipment and check past “Good software increases efficiency and enables users to benefit
transaction details, giving greater efficiency for them and reducing the from additional functionality like CRM to develop new opportunities.
number of enquiries received by the hirer’s staff. Similarly, mobile Overall, hirers certainly seem busy. Many supply equipment and
working software enables field staff to call up information from the services for wedding receptions, birthday parties and local shows,
main computer system when talking to customers, which can help in and, while some events may be smaller because of the economic
winning an order.” climate, they are obviously important and are still going ahead.”
Katy Williams, Sales and Marketing Director with Higher Concept Nick Thomson, Sales Manager of MCS, believes hirers have taken
Software, reports, “We are receiving a greater proportion of enquiries advantage of relatively quieter business levels to upgrade their
from new start-up companies than at almost any time previously. systems, ready for the upturn. “CRM is now almost a given.
People have perhaps been made redundant from larger companies, Hirers recognise it as an important way of winning business, and it
or they have just decided to leave and establish their own operations. enables them to ensure that every single enquiry is followed up.
They realise the benefits of having purpose- Similarly, web portals enable trusted clients
designed hire software in place from day to order equipment day or night. Some hirers
one, to process day-to-day transactions and used to resist such developments, believing
create useful management reports. Hirers, they might miss up-selling opportunities, but
whether new or long established, can find it can be offered to established customers
out information such as which fleet items are who know exactly what they want.
the highest revenue earners, or those that
have required more servicing and repairs. “Importantly, many new developments result
Such details can influence future purchasing from hirers’ input. Our document scanning
decisions for greater efficiency. system arose out of requests from our User
Group, and we now have several special
“Hirers can use CRM software to keep in interest groups representing hirers of
close contact with customers, informing them operated plant, audio visual equipment, and
of special offers and seasonal campaigns. tools and equipment.” With other software
This sort of operation can be undertaken suppliers also inviting similar hirer feedback,
literally at the touch of a button, and programs should continue to evolve and offer
Many software enhancements are created following
information can be e-mailed rather than feedback from hirers. even greater business benefits.

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