At the ERA (European Rental Association) conference in Rome a few weeks back the theme was sustainability in the equipment rental industry. There were many thought provoking presentations and conversations on what sustainability means to the equipment rental industry in Europe.
Sustainability, as defined by the all-knowing Wikipedia, is described as the endurance of systems and processes. The organizing principle for sustainability is sustainable development, which includes the four interconnected domains: ecology, economics, politics and culture.
Rental companies are a natural fit in the sustainability discussion given the premise that sharing equipment results in more efficient use and maintenance of equipment. Sustainability takes many forms for rental companies, from recycling waste and equipment, to reducing energy costs, to ensuring the company has knowledgeable workers and working environment to sustain a viable company for years to come.
Companies reported getting money back from recycling truck tires versus paying folks to haul them off instead. Others discussed how they cut costs by working with equipment manufacturers on designs to increase fuel savings. Hybrid and solar power are being introduced to reduce energy consumption, and driving efficiencies are gained by technologies like GPS and telematics. Many companies are turning to telematics to measure and track equipment activity and make modifications to reduce their carbon footprint. These efforts aid in sustaining our environment, but are also showing an ROI for the company.
One key area discussed at length was how to sustain a company and position it for the future. A-Plant, winner of the large rental company of the year, highlighted their apprentice program as a way of attracting and growing new talent. They have over 250 interns that are learning the business and building a base of employees that can grow with the company and industry.
Marc Luychx Ghisi finished the conference talking about preparing for a sustainable future. He predicted the industrial society will be replaced by the knowledge society and our focus should be on people to succeed in the future. The real assets of any company are the ones that walk out the door at 5pm. Our challenge will be to grow and cultivate a creative work force that can lead the rental community for years to come.
Congratulations to all European Rental Awards winners
This post was written by: Kathy Panzl, Wynne Systems Marketing Director