The UK’s largest rental equipment company Sunbelt Rentals has boosted productivity of its plant delivery operations by as much as 30 percent following the introduction of new technology from Leeds-based BigChange.
The mobile workforce management system has transformed Sunbelt Rental’s UK business with a switch to paperless working and improved management visibility with real-time information. BigChange provides a single platform CRM, Job Scheduling, Mobile App Tracking and a Customer Portal.
The first phase of the roll out of the system, internally called Logistic, was timed to coincide with a group-wide rebranding from A Plant to Sunbelt Rentals – the name of US parent company and the premiere rental equipment company in North America.
With a growing business, Sunbelt Rentals wanted to modernise the delivery operations with increased automation and the elimination of paper-based processes. There had also been a string of acquisitions resulting 18 separate businesses and a range of different and disconnected IT systems across the group.
“Following a string of acquisitions we knew we had to completely overhaul the way we operated to bring everything together. This change needed to be underpinned with a new IT system that could be implemented easily across what was a highly diverse business,” said David Phillips, Logistics and Supply Chain Director at Sunbelt Rentals UK.
It soon became clear that one supplier stood out; BigChange had a proven track record in our industry and we knew the pedigree of the company – this gave us confidence that we would be investing in something that would continually evolve, be well supported and future-proofed.”
With 3500 employees in the UK, Sunbelt operates a fleet of 1100 vehicles and has 220 depots spread across the UK. The first phase of Logistic implementation saw the introduction of paperless working for equipment deliveries with Sunbelt vehicles fitted with GPS trackers dash-mounted tablet cradles. Providing navigation to site, the tablets run a BigChange-developed app for recording everything from vehicle inspections to job sheets, photographs from site and customer sign off.
Sunbelt began the implementation of Logistic in January and were due to go live at the end March just as the UK went into lockdown. “Like everyone we faced a real challenge at lockdown but we still wanted to be up and running before the summer peak season. The sudden availability of vehicles actually helped and we were able to go live just 3 weeks later than planned,” Phillips explained.
Sunbelt has now rolled out the system across 161 depots and reached the landmark figure of 100,000 jobs using JobWatch in October. Corporately Sunbelt use a contract administration system called MCS which has been integrated with Logistic providing seamless transfer of booking for scheduling, job management and reporting in the BigChange cloud-based office software.
“In the equipment rental industry availability is key and BigChange gives us a level of visibility that we simple lacked before – we can now get equipment back much more quickly. This is boosting utilisation and we are doing over 30 percent more deliveries and collections a day”, says Phillips.
“Our mission is to achieve operational excellence and we have embarked on a major transformational programme. BigChange technology will play an integral role to the transformation and support the growth of the business; at the same time giving us new levels of control over our operations.” Phillips adds.
As the UK’s premiere equipment rental equipment company, Sunbelt Rentals offers a highly diversified product mix including general construction equipment, industrial tools, hoists, trackway, power generation, climate control, shoring solutions, powered access, traffic management, utilities equipment, and more.
Together the Sunbelt Rentals team of specialists provide equipment and managed solutions into every market and sector including rail, construction, events, energy, infrastructure, and government lead projects.
Sunbelt Rentals is part of the FTSE100 Ashtead Group plc, the global leader in equipment rental. The company is committed to new, innovative technologies and sustainable ways of working.
Launched in 2013 and based in Leeds, UK, BigChange provides a range of mobile workforce management technologies that are trusted by 45,000 mobile workers and back-office personnel at 1,400 organisations around the world. BigChange employs 170 people and signed over £20m worth of new contracts in 2019.
BigChange’s pioneering all-in-one mobile workforce and job management solution, JobWatch, provides organisations of any size with a paperless means of planning, managing, scheduling, and tracking their mobile workforce operations. Combining CRM, job scheduling, vehicle tracking, a mobile workforce app, and an on-demand booking app, the system can manage in-house and sub-contracted operations simultaneously.
In 2020 BigChange was awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, one of the highest honours for UK companies, and its workplace was recognised by Best Companies with a two-star rating. The company featured in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 in 2018, 2019 and 2020. BigChange was named in the 2018 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 and won the Technology & Innovation prize at The Logistics Awards in both 2017 and 2018.