When it comes to rental software, there are two main options: point solutions and all-in-one enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Point systems are stand-alone programs that each manage one specific area of your business. ERPs, on the other hand, consolidate operations onto a single platform. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. So: which one is best for your growing rental business?
You may already be familiar with some of the most popular point solutions, such as:
Part of the reason for the quick setup? Most point solutions come with a standard set of out-of-the-box configurations. This leaves you with fewer options to tailor the software to fit the unique needs of your company. You may have to change your processes or create work-arounds to make the point solutions work.
Most point solutions charge a monthly subscription fee with no annual contract. (Some, like QuickBooks, offer discounted annual billing.) You’ll have to consider the individual price of each platform, but you’re generally looking at a lower up-front cost.
When you use separate systems to manage each of your processes, you create data silos. It’s unavoidable.
Your accounting system can’t communicate with your payments system. Your maintenance team can’t see inspection reports without logging out of their work order system and into your inspection software. Your back office can’t see when a delivery driver gets a customer signature at a jobsite, and so on.
This can cause a number of issues – especially as your company grows. As your teams get larger – and your business gets busier – it becomes harder to keep everyone on the same page. Some teams may end up duplicating work that’s already been done, such as entering invoice information into multiple systems.
When you use a single system, everyone can work faster and more efficiently.
More robust systems also include modules for:
Each employee – or department – can access the modules they need to do their jobs, without having access to the rest of the system. For instance, maintenance technicians can view open work orders but not financial information; delivery drivers can view their upcoming routes but not customer contracts. You decide who gets access to each functional area.
Most point solutions let you export your data, but leave it to you to turn the numbers into actionable insights. This is a great way to end up in data overload.
ERP systems tend to include better analytics out of the box, as well as more configurable reports. This makes it easier to measure what matters the most to your management – whether that’s the equipment that has the best utilization rates or how your DSO is trending over time.
Most rental businesses – especially when they’re first starting out – go the point solution route, and there’s nothing wrong with that! However, as they learn the industry and get serious about growth, they move to an all-in-one ERP. This gives them more tools to improve their processes and scale their business.
The software itself is important, but support is the other piece of the equation. Having access to a team of rental industry experts opens the door to industry-wide best practices, without long and costly trial and error. Whether they’re looking to optimize their inventory, open new locations, or even acquire other rental shops, this gives companies an easier path to growth.
As your business grows, you may continue to adopt new technologies. For instance, your sales team may decide to start using Salesforce for customer relationship management.
Of course, you’ll want your new technologies to work with your existing ones as seamlessly as possible – but getting enterprise systems to work with point solutions can be easier said than done. When you’re running a consolidated ERP, you have a single source of truth that can serve as the foundation for other third-party software integrations. Log in to one platform and get all the information you need – whether that’s a customer’s order history, your most recent invoice from a specific parts supplier, or the exact GPS coordinates of a specific machine.
Ready for best-in-class rental software that meets the needs of your growing business? InTempo Software’s Enterprise rental ERP is the leading all-in-one solution for accounting, invoicing, quotes and reservations, inventory management, equipment lifecycle, maintenance, dispatch, and analytics. You get a comprehensive set of features that support long-term growth – backed by a team of industry experts.
See how our features stack up, or request a demo to see our rental software in action.