For those of us who attended the Directions conference in Orlando in the fall of 2017, we weren’t even sure when we would see a 2018 version of NAV. Shortly after the conference, Microsoft announced 2018 would be released at the beginning of December. They made good on that pledge and now we have some details to share.
Being asked to decide how often to update your accounting system can make you feel like being asked to choose one of three doors on the American television game show, Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Monty Hall. Pick the right door and you get several years of bliss with your new system. Pick anything else and you get second or third choice.
After I wrote that headline I started wondering whether I was exaggerating. Based on nearly 30 years of implementing mid-market Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, I would have to say "no". There are a few, and it is very few, companies that can find a solution so uniquely tailored to their industry and requirements they do not need to consider expanding the solution by adding third party products. It may be a major enhancement, such as our equipment rental module for Dynamics NAV, or it might be something relatively minor such as an integration to a FedEx shipping portal, but there is almost always something you will want or need to add.
With governments pushing to increase the basic minimum wage to $15 by 2021 or earlier, many businesses are not only feeling challenged by the news, they are wondering if they will have to shut down. While there are some businesses who have a high percentage of minimum wage employees, CNN recently reported 91% of small business employees already earn more than minimum wage. So why all of the fuss?
The Directions NAV conference in Orlando, Florida finished with those of us from the great white north headed back to a winter of snow and frigid temperatures, something like what was experienced by Microsoft’s representatives when they proposed a new branding adjustment for Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Everyone sees this at times. Your response should depend on whether this is a long-term challenge to your business and not a reaction to a one-time event. If you operate a small department store in a mid-west town and you hear that Wal-Mart is coming, you have a different set of challenges than if you unexpectedly lost a deal because a competitor underbid you. The latter situation could be a red flag for a bigger problem, which means you do need to constantly analyze these events.
What to do if you don't want to use an RFP
As we discussed in part one of this blog using an RFP (Request for Proposal) is most often a flawed process. Unfortunately, organizations frequently feel backed into a corner because they don’t know any alternative. This blog will provide you with a step-by-step action plan for speeding up your system acquisition, reducing the cost of the process, and guaranteeing better results.
There is a lot of exciting news as Microsoft continues to integrate its productivity and business applications, expand their cloud offerings, and put more power in the hands of the end user.
When is an RFP "expert" not worth it?
The issue of whether to utilize an RFP (Request for Proposal) when looking for a new computer system arises because most people looking for new computer systems are not systems experts. So how should they source new systems?
In many cases, an RFP is utilized because a systems analyst or integrator recommended that choice. That expert, though, may have a conflict of interest in that they stand to gain some serious consulting fees if the RFP process is chosen. The expert may not have the industry background to provide real value to the organization seeking the new system and is relying on the following principle.
“We are the experts. We will employ a process to ensure only the best products and vendors are considered and then walk you through a process to ensure you purchase the system that best suits your requirements.”
Sound a bit too good to be true? Sometimes.
Unless you are an accountant, the two terms “TCO” and “ROI” can be confusing at times, which is unfortunate as they are important concepts in running your business. Let’s see if we can explain them without you having to be a finance major. We’ll start with definitions.
Do I have to use only one software system for my equipment rental business or can I run several?
This is not a simple question to answer. I have been working with mid-market accounting and ERP systems since 1989 and I can tell you from personal experience there is no simple answer to this question. This document does provide several guidelines to help you in your search and a link to a checklist to help you evaluate your particular situation.
Repeat customers are great, but how do you get them in the first place.
Advertising is expensive, and with a few exceptions, has become increasingly ineffective. Direct mail has its challenges. This blog will give you a few ideas on five out of the box ways to attract new customers and how to promote those ideas, which hopefully will get you thinking about others that may work for you. Retaining customers will be the subject of another piece in the future.
If you read the first part of "How much is your equipment rental business actually worth", welcome back! In the first blog, we talked about general principles of how to value any small business. Now we’ll try to apply this knowledge specifically to equipment rental companies.
Breaking up is hard to do and so is selling your business. While finding the right buyer for a good price might seem to be the hardest problem you have to face, it is probably easier than giving up your baby after all you have invested over the years.
Did you know studies show 85% of success in business comes from people skills, not technical skills? That statistic alone makes it imperative for you to understand how personalities work.
Much lower upfront cost, lower ongoing costs, stronger security, faster start-up, and better disaster recovery are solid reasons for why startup equipment rental companies should strongly consider cloud options for their new accounting system.
Startup equipment rental companies often find themselves with a bewildering choice among the seemingly countless accounting systems that might work for their business. Besides the decision of which software supplier to choose, a more fundamental decision must be made whether to purchase a software license for installation in-house or sign up for a monthly cloud plan, a decision which will help narrow down the supplier selection. This article will help provide some clarity on choosing between these two options and explain why, in general, the cloud is a better choice for startup equipment rental companies.
Many people in business are familiar with Ken Blanchard’s book, Raving Fans – A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service. Anyone involved in a business needs to read this book and I feel so strongly about it, I will send a free electronic copy to the first five readers who request one through our contact form.
Welcome back to Part Two of our 31 ways to add more customer for your rental business. Unfortunately, because of its length, we had to break the blog in the middle of the section for the six-month task list. You can review Part One here.
As a business owner, you may be puzzled about how to find new customers. How do you find them? They certainly don’t come out of a cereal box. This two-part document will give you 31 ideas on how to attract new customers to your equipment rental business, regardless of the industry niche in which you operate.
Keep your focus on your main business
If your organization has one or more employees, you need a payroll strategy. Chances are, you fall within that definition. As a CPA with more than thirty-five years of experience in public practice, industry, and selling payroll software, I have some pretty strong opinions about this topic and would like to share those with you.
Be prepared for major change with these top business trends
In Part One we looked at overall business issues and in Part Two we will look at trends bringing change to your marketing, sales, and customer experience groups, which will round out our 22 business trends.
Be prepared for major change with these top business trends
You don’t want to get left in the dust. But how do you keep up? There are just too many things going on and you can’t look after all of them yourself. Or afford to hire all the people you would need.
Most people will come to work this week either aware of the massive Cyberattack over the weekend or they will become aware of it shortly. Some countries like Russia and China were hit particularly hard while others such as the United States were less affected, although that could change Monday.
When you hear a salesperson say their system is "fully integrated", you need to perk up your ears and ask some very important questions.
People define "integration" in very different ways. For some, integration means connecting different systems, in various levels of automation or even through manual processes. Others mean there is only one toolkit and one database, which is the obvious preference. Supporting differing systems where data is being integrated can be troublesome to get working and keep working. This can lead to delays in obtaining information and costly support charges if something goes wrong. Here are some useful questions to consider.
According to Cisco Systems Inc. in their Global Cloud Index (GCI) forecast, cloud traffic is set to quadruple by 2020. The volume of traffic in 2015 was estimated to be 3.8 Zettabytes with 2020 seeing an estimated level of 15.3 Zettabytes. If you are wondering, a Zettabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000 megabytes. Pretty amazing changes when you consider we are only talking about five years.
Join us for a demo and overview of our NAV Rental Management solution on Thursday, June 28, 2016
Open Door Technology's Rental Management solution built in Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives equipment rental companies a comprehensive, single system to manage all aspects of their business. Your rental, service, and accounting department share one system and one database to give you real-time information when you need it most.
The true cost of doing nothing with your outdated ERP and rental system
After twenty-seven years of implementing mid-market Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, the one consistency I have found is people just don’t like changing systems. For managers, this might be because of the financial cost or the disruption to the business. Perceived ROI is just not there, in some cases. For staff the reason is probably that they know how to do their job and they are fearful of change.
Regardless of the reasons, there are some high costs to keeping an outdated ERP or accounting system or rental equipment system. Here are ten things you should consider if you find yourself in this situation although the exact cost will depend a great deal upon the system, or multiple systems, you currently use.
Accountants working with the first mid-market accounting systems in the 1990’s were quite familiar with the many processes and late nights involved with closing a month-end or year-end. The best systems of today, including Microsoft Dynamics NAV, rely on real-time posting with a minimum of processes to be carried out at a close.
Beware of lipstick on old technology
There are many players in the software industry and not all are what they seem. An unsuspecting buyer may invest in technology dating back 30 years because some systems have installed ‘Windows-like’ technology layers that shield the legacy system, which many refer to as “lipstick on a pig”.
Different times of the year require a shift in strategy to manage your field technicians effectively. If it was a perfect world, you could easily execute your maintenance plans along with the traditional break/fix repair activities, but we don’t live in such world. Many times, you just don’t have the staff to cover your maintenance plans as well as be responsive to your customer when equipment downtime increases.
There is no hiding the fact that installing a new rental, service, and finance system is a project involves a lot of work with many inherent risks. There are some ways you can mitigate those risks, help ease the transition to a new ERP implementation, and keep moving through the challenges you will inevitably face.
Rental organizations with multiple locations have many specific challenges when it comes to managing each location. Many issues can be avoided with the proper planning and communication.
Here are some things to consider if you’re planning on increasing your revenue by acquiring your competition or opening up another rental location. Read another post with Tips on Managing Multiple Rental Locations.
Rental organizations looking to increase their revenue will be eventually faced with the decision to acquire their competition, add additional product lines, or expand their territory geographically by opening additional locations.
Extensive RFPs don’t do anyone any favors. Looking for a new ERP software system for your equipment rental company doesn’t have to be as complicated or as drawn out as some might make it. The traditional model when searching for a reliable financial, rental, and service software system has been to put together a Request for Proposal (RFP), submit it to as many vendors as possible, and wait for the responses to pour in.
Purchasing and selling inventory is an important component of many equipment rental companies. In some cases, it represents the dominant business group and rentals is only a sideline, albeit an important one.
Nearly every rental company today has some type of mobile workforce. It may be a sales person who is traveling to customer location to discuss new business opportunities or responding to a particular client situation.
Hundreds of rental organizations gathered to network, attend workshops, and research new products and technology from over 675 vendors at the 2015 ARA Rental Show. This year the show was held in New Orleans, LA and once again exceeded expectations in terms of level of attendance and a busy tradeshow floor.
Much has been said about the high cost of implementing mid-market software systems, but the real story is more complex than just the dollars. Mid-market projects can be expensive, but it is usually from a limited number of reasons. First and foremost is an almost uncontrollable urge to have the new system mimic the old way of doing things, whether automated or manual.
Next week from Feb 22-25, over a thousand equipment rental organizations from across North America will be gathering in New Orleans, LA at the annual ARA Rental Show. We are proud to be among the exhibitors and are looking forward to seeing many of you at our booth (#6434). The sheer number of people can often make attendees feel overwhelmed at the trade show and it can be difficult to know which questions to ask when investigating new rental management software.
Small to mid-size organizations in today’s business environment often need the capability offered by tier one ERP and accounting systems, but can’t deal with the complexity and cost accompanied by that choice. Not only is the cost prohibitive, but the administration and operating staff may not possess the sophisticated skills necessary to run those systems.
Open Door Rental Software will be returning to exhibit (Booth 6434) at the American Rental Association's annual trade show and conference in February 2015. The ARA Rental Show is being held in New Orleans, Louisiana from February 22-25 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Rental Industry Revenue Continues to Grow Rapidly - Are you ready?
The American Rental Association has reported that the rental industry has continued to grow in 2014 and also outpace the gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States by a factor of more than four times.
Now that the sales department has sold the company’s products and services, your group has to deliver. Maintaining a careful balance between supply and demand and watching costs is critical to the success and profitability of your organization.
Senior technology officers in a equipment rental organization are responsible for a wide variety of functions, including strategy and operations. Implementing a new business software system can be a daunting task and in a time of shrinking budgets and increased competition, risks need to be minimized and results optimized wherever possible.
Microsoft Dynamics® NAV helps chief financial officers gain significant competitive advantages and operational efficiencies. The equipment rental industry is extremely competitive and in a state of constant change. A CFO needs a system that can be quickly adapted to meet unique needs as well as provide key real-time operational data to capitalize on opportunities and exceed customer requirements.
While it may seem that chief executive offices are the boss and report to no one, in reality, they probably have more stakeholders to report to than anyone else including meeting the needs of employees, customers, investors, communities, and regulatory requirements. As the CEO of a mid-size or smaller rental organization, you probably have a significant ownership stake in the company.
Equipment rental organizations looking for one system to handle their financial, service, and rental management needs should consider a system built on Microsoft Dynamics NAV because it is easy to configure and user friendly
Many organizations are asking how the new Anti-Spam legislation will affect their current marketing and sales programs. The Anti-Spam law affecting commercial electronic messages is coming into effect on Canada Day, July 1, 2014
Open Door Technology is pleased to announce the addition of a tenth partner in their rental management software reseller program to resell Open Door Rental Software across Canada and the United States.
There is much more going on in tomorrow’s rental business than just changing software trends. As customers choose to rent equipment, generally for specific projects where the costs can be re-billed, the dynamics of building and managing rental fleets change quite dramatically.
Telematics data has a new reporting standard designed to unify how that data is presented regardless of machine manufacturer.
Contractors will rent construction equipment with more frequency as industry experts identify key factors in predicting the growth of the construction rental industry in 2014.
Rental industry revenue is projected to grow from $36 billion in 2014 to $50 billion in 2017, making it more important than ever for rental companies to utilize current statistics and industry projections to prepare for the future.
Equipment rental industry revenue is on track to experience double-digit growth for the fourth year as analysts predict a 12% increase from the $33 billion reached in 2013. The American Rental Association announced at the annual ARA Rental Show that they predict the equipment rental industry revenue will reach $36 billion in 2014, a statement confirmed by other sources. The ARA also said that the US and Canada projections would reach $50 billion in rental revenue by 2017.
Attendees of the American Rental Association Rental Show descended on Orlando, Florida this year and for the second consecutive year, the show exceeded attendance expectations and sold out the exhibitor hall.
What you need to know about all the possible install models for equipment rental companies including the Cloud, hosted, and in-house.
Most people have heard about the “Cloud” when it comes to acquiring new computer systems but there is a lot of confusion around the concept.
Make your workplace a bit more portable.
If you are attending the American Rental Association Rental Show in Orlando, Florida February 9-12, you are eligible to enter our draw for a Microsoft Surface. Come by the booth in person or enter now online and you could be walking away from the Show with more than you planned for!
How to get the most from a trade show
We compiled some advice for how you can maximize your time at a trade show based on our years of experience exhibiting and attending various shows. We hope that attendees of the ARA Rental Show 2014 will also benefit from these tips as they prepare for the Rental Show in Orlando, Florida taking place on February 9-12, 2014. Come see us in Construction, Booth 6207.
Jokes guaranteed to make you smile
Benny and Millie are the brother and sister jokester team who started 'Benny's and Millie's Joke Shop' as a way to fundraise to purchase a new home that was wheelchair accessible for Millie. We heard about their mission to tell jokes for people and we wanted to join in the fun.
Ever notice how different the car buying experience is today? Customers rarely walk into the showroom and ask the salesperson which car they should buy. Instead, they often have researched make, model, and even the options they are interested in. On top of that, they often know how much they are willing to pay.
Hiring an effective salesperson in the information technology business has always seemed to be a walk down the dark side, and I know this problem is not unique to our industry. So how do you really identify who will be effective and who will not? The following two points are things that I have learned over the years and that you may find helpful.