When it comes to hire, Boels is one of Europe’s major success stories. Established with one branch in 1977 by Pierre Boels senior, the company is now one of the leading rental companies in Europe. Boels, based in the Netherlands, employs 1500 people and has more than 190 depots in six European countries; the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Boels Verhuur is one of the fastest growing rental companies in Europe. Its rental revenues in 2007 were €153 million, a 27.5% increase over 2006.
In July 2008 Boels acquired the rental business of Belgian Bobcat dealer Vangaever, including both its CAT-Rent operation and its sister company BCL. At the same time Boels announced the acquisition of Netherlands party and events rental company, diff’Rent, one of the top five party/events rental specialist in the Netherlands.
Boels had been using a software rental package which was developed and maintained by Boels themselves and in addition the financial package they used had also been developed and maintained by them.
When it came to finding a suitable replacement management system, one of the major problems was that because Boels were a fast-growing, dynamic and cross-border company they needed an I.T. system that could cope with all of these factors as well as handle all the different aspects of the business including plant, tools, event and catering.
“The reason that we where looking for a new software rental package was not the shortcoming of the functionality of our rental and financial software package, but of our development environment. Looking at the future, we knew that it would be easier (lower costs) to work with a standard rental package (using new technology and better prepared for the future) instead of trying to develop everything by ourselves. If we had decided on the latter then we knew that we had to look for an new development environment and almost start over again. That said, choosing a alternative standard software application would give us the benefits of newly developed functionality and implementing new technology from a company who is focused on the rental business”.
When Boels began searching the market for a Rental Management System provider they looked at companies with:- proven experience in the rental business; customers in different market sectors; a policy about new development (customer driven and/or company driven); a policy about new releases; a focus/priority on development software for rental market; a ‘low-risk’ company (financial, organisation etc). In addition Boels wanted experienced people (developers and support employees) to talk to, that were willing and able to develop the functionality that they had been using and would require going forwards.
In terms of the product itself Boels required a solution with at least the functionality they were utilising, or a product that could be developed to encompass the specified functionality before going live (multi depots, multi countries, multi lingual, multi currency etc). The Solution needed to be a windows based stable product, easy to use, easy to configure and maintain, offering an ‘open’ data dictionary, running on MS-SQL database, and an application able to run under a citrix environment.
After four years researching the market in Europe, USA, Japan and Australia, Pierre Boels BV selected inspHire Corporate Edition Rental Management Solution to implement the 600 user system.
inspHire demonstrated that its software could not only cope with Boels’ stated requirements, but could also be developed to encompass the unique features solely for Boels and its specific needs. For example, the system was required to be not only multi-lingual but also able to switch between languages during a single transaction. This facility is crucial when, for example, a Dutch company serves a German customer who has crossed the border to hire equipment: the user would wish to search the system in Dutch, then print an order in German. The inspHire system could deal with this demand, as it could with many other similar issues. inspHire agreed to develop Boels’ ‘minimum’ functionality requirements before they went live and delivered these in time for the Go-Live date in 2003.
After three months testing, including their minimum needs which were also developed and implemented, Boels began to implement the product for the Plant & Tool depots (120 depots in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany). After an initial training session from inspHire Boels were able to continue training of their employees themselves. During and after this project Boels wrote new specifications for inspHire to develop for the Party & Events side of the business.