Is it possible to completely and accurately forecast demand in the rental industry? Probably not; at least not flawlessly. However, there are ways you can anticipate and predict demand to a reasonable extent-especially in the rental sector. Truth be told, even an indicative forecast can prove to be very helpful. This blog will talk about how you can start forecasting demand trends for your rental business which, in turn, can help you optimize your operations and inventory management, investments, expansions and logistics better.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure demand forecasting adds value for your rental business:
- Dig deep into past trends: One of the simplest ways to get the future track right is to learn from the past. Trends have a way of repeating themselves, and they are easy enough to spot once you know what you are looking for. For instance, if you see a marked increase in the rental of construction equipment during summers, you know it’s because construction companies find the weather more conducive during those months. When such trends are taken into account, your planning becomes more accurate.
- It’s called business intelligence for a reason: When your rental business relies on a rental solution that offers business intelligence (BI), you must leverage it optimally to derive meaningful insights from it. BI is not just a “nice to have” in today’s world; it’s an essential tool that prepares for the future and the competitive onslaught it may hold. A rental solution with in-built graphical dashboards, and the option to generate overview dashboards, business intelligence, mobility and IoT may be just the thing for you.
Image 1: Example Daily Fleet Analysis report in DynaRent for Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Use technology like IoT to help you: Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) not only tracks asset movements but also indicates their usage. If you collate the information transmitted through your IoT devices, you will find clear patterns and trends emerging; material that can help you forecast demand in much shorter time horizons.
- Look at your repair and maintenance records: When you are in the rental business, repair and maintenance is a vital part of your operations. This aspect can be an important indicator of anticipated demand. For instance, when a particular asset’s demand is high, there is a chance that you may have had to do reactive maintenance due to increased usage. When you look at the records of repairs and maintenance, you will be able to see a clear trend coming through.
Image 2: Example graphical plan board in DynaRent
- Leverage those customer touchpoints: Customers are at the center of any business; not only are they the movers of your business, but they also provide you with a lot of important information and insights. For instance, any of the fora and sites that your typical customer spends time on can provide valuable data. Another important source is your field staff that interacts a lot with your customers. Their notations from the field on your rental solution can provide you with meaningful insights.