The Syrinx inventory and rental software system from Point of Rental has certainly proven to be management material for an ambitious company. Construction Plant News Editor, Lee Jones talks to Contractors Plant Hire about their experiences
If a business embarks upon an aggressive expansion drive then it needs products and partners that can power it along that journey.That’s just what Contractors Plant Hire has found in the Syrinx rental software system from Point of Rental and in the Covid- 19 landscape it has proven all the more invaluable.
Whether it’s DIYers digging the footings for an extension, or main contractors on major infrastructure schemes, Contractors Plant Hire has been supplying premium-brand plant and tools across the south of England since 1997. Just four years ago, however, the company was acquired by Jonathan Stevens, an entrepreneur with aspirations to enlarge its scope of operations considerably and Point of Rental’s inventory management expertise would become an indispensable part of that project.
“I can honestly say that I love Syrinx,” declares the firm’s General Manager, Ryan Rea.“It’s a system that we know can be easily deployed into every part of the business, and there’s always someone on hand at Point of Rental to explain exactly how we can do just that. Because it’s Microsoft Windows-based, the mechanics of it are something that anyone who has used a PC will be familiar with, and our staff were able to master it very quickly as a consequence.”
That’s a view that is endorsed by Contractors Plant Hire’s Operations Manager, Martin Livermore: “One of the beauties of Syrinx compared to products we’ve utilised in the past is how straightforward the integration has been, and not just for the hire desk but also with our fitters. Our parts inventory was previously managed through Microsoft Excel so it was a seamless process to simply feed that into Syrinx. It was practically an instant transfer of over 10,000 items and has made our stock control so much more efficient.We had PCs installed in the workshop for our fitters and, although it was certainly available to us, our personnel required very little formal training. That also helps with new recruits as well because they can familiarise themselves with our processes in less than a day.”
Syrinx departs from many of its competitors in that fleet managers can choose the elements of the software that are relevant to their operations and make use of them accordingly, and Contractors Plant Hire has chosen to maximise its level of engagement with the system. “The more you put in, the better the reports are and that’s why everything we do is on Syrinx. It means we can easily analyse asset utilisation, for example, in order to make decisions about future purchases, or interrogate the efficiency of our transport, logistics and workshop functions. In addition, all the reports that are generated can be customised so we can choose to see the information that is most relevant to us.”
The team at Contractors Plant Hire were already well-versed in the accessibility of Syrinx, but lockdown has also demonstrated the power of the apps. Remote working might have become a reality many more of us have had to embrace but for the owner of Contractors Plant Hire, Jonathan Stevens it was already part of the rationale for turning to Point of Rental. Based largely off-site, what he wanted was a reporting system that could provide all the information he wanted, and that’s what it has delivered, but the apps now take that to a different level.
“Our ambition is to run a paperless operation, and in that respect the apps have been a revelation,” reveals Ryan.“We started with the Driver’s App and that has allowed our personnel to complete all the necessary PODs (Proof of Deliveries) and log photographic evidence in the field.The pictures can be very important in terms of identifying damage during hire, so we can also make sure that they can’t close that job until they’ve been taken. In the office, the Driver Scheduler displays the position of our drivers, deliveries and collections, and we can drop a job onto the app. If information like the contact on site has been changed on the system this then updates through the app itself and, because all the relevant staff members have it on their phone, that’s then visible to everyone.”
Similarly, the Workshop App has proven invaluable to Contractors Plant Hire in managing and assigning jobs, as Martin Livermore outlines.“Because it’s synched with Syrinx we know when an engineer is en route, and when he’s done, and all the necessary parts can be requisitioned. During lockdown, a fitter has been able to manage everything on screen, from his own station, and, because they weren’t required to go to the office or interact unnecessarily with colleagues that has helped immeasurably with social distancing.Whatever app is being used all that information is then fed back into the contract with the customer, so there’s full visibility of the history of the hire.”
“Of course, that also applies to the customer as well because they can access their own invoices through the Customer Portal, and that level of transparency does a lot to build trust. When we have customers that come to collect and return equipment to the depot themselves they’re always very impressed by the efficiency of the operation, because whoever is dealing with them has all the information they need through Syrinx and the apps.”
“What Syrinx does is pull the business together into one whole,” concludes Ryan. “We have a full inventory of assets and parts, that Syrinx feeds into our accounts, and the Apps mean that we can do far more remotely through a paperless operation. It’s a system where there is always a way of finding a solution, and there is someone at Point of Rental on the end of the phone to help us through it.”