Boels Rental

Boels Rental, one of Europe’s largest rental firms, initiated a company-wide digitalisation project aimed at optimising the customer experience, implementing operational excellence and reducing stress levels for staff. Simacan was selected to achieve the desired progress - and the project was a success, according to Reiant Mulder and Wim Cambré. “Customers no longer have to phone us. They can see precisely when their rental equipment is going to arrive.”

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Boels Rental at a glance

  • European headquarters in Sittard, The Netherlands
  • >730 offices in 18 European countries
  • >840.000 equipment for rent
  • >7.200 employees

From earth movers to wallpaper steamers, from trailers to chainsaws and from forklift trucks to emergency generators… this is just a small selection of Boels Rental’s huge range of rental equipment. And it is available for anyone – not only companies in construction, the offshore industry and manufacturing, but also event organisers, independent contractors and consumers. In the case of consumers, they can pick up and return rental equipment at a Boels branch near them, whereas Boels often takes care of the logistics side of things for its business customers. To this end, the rental specialist has a European network of storage hubs and its own fleet of vans and trucks. The company also outsources around 50% of the transport activities for equipment delivery and collection to logistics service providers in its pool.


More predictability for customers

Cambré explains how Insphire’s ERP system, specially designed for the rental industry, will form the backbone of the company’s new IT landscape, with a prominent role in the transport process for Simacan’s Control Tower and App2Track’s driver app. “Renting equipment should offer the same customer experience as ordering something from a travel website or a web shop. The Simacan platform plays an important role in this because it improves the level of predictability in the last mile. Customers can see exactly when the truck carrying their rental equipment will arrive.”

In addition to calculating reliable ETAs and providing track & trace information, Simacan also facilitates collaboration between all stakeholders in the rental process. The Boels planners, the drivers, the customers, the on-site recipients and the logistics service providers all have access to the same information and can communicate efficiently with each other. Reiant Mulder: “People no longer have to phone us, and this virtually eliminates delays caused by miscommunication. The app guides drivers to their destination, and no longer need to worry about customers impatiently waiting for them. This prevents mistakes and ensures safer driving.”

In our initial conversations, it soon became clear that our Simacan platform would be tremendously helpful to Boels Rental with their goal of gaining visibility into and further developing the entire transport chain.

Koen Vierveijzer
Customer success manager @Simacan

Now with the use of Simacan people no longer have to phone us, and this virtually eliminates delays caused by miscommunication. The app guides drivers to their destination, and no longer need to worry about customers impatiently waiting for them. This prevents mistakes and ensures safer driving.

Reiant Mulder
Chief operations officer @Boels Rental
Efficient claims handling

One valuable functionality for Boels Rental is that comments and photos can be uploaded to the execution data, says Cambré. “The rental equipment is sometimes damaged or dirty when it’s returned. In that case, the driver can take a picture of it directly on site. This ‘evidence’ is then saved in real time with a timestamp and the GPS coordinates so that there can be no discussion afterwards about where the damage occurred. This data enrichment makes the entire handling and insurance process more efficient and ensures that the costs are allocated fairly.”

There is also another advantage, according to Mulder: “Our own technical department can see this information too, so they get advance warning of any problems with a machine before it arrives back at the hub. This allows them to schedule the necessary cleaning or repair work and mark the equipment as temporarily unavailable in our rental system.”

Lower carbon emissions

By digitalising its processes, Boels intends to boost the performance and utilisation rate of its entire logistics operation. “Because we can see the precise time at which an item has been delivered, down to the exact minute, we can monitor our own delivery performance as well as that of our logistics service providers,” comments Mulder. “Together with all contextual data, we can analyse why a driver arrived too early or too late, and prepare an overview of all the bottlenecks. This will allow us to continuously improve our service. Plus complete transparency about logistics service providers’ performance and the hours driven by them will make the invoicing process a lot easier.”

“Once we have everything in one system, Boels will be able to leverage the synergy benefits between branches,” adds Cambré. “We’re now working with set districts that are each served by one hub, but sometimes it might be more advantageous to source a rental item from a different hub – such as if the relevant item isn’t available in the standard district, for example, or if the trip will be more efficient, involving fewer kilometres, from another hub.”

Mulder also expects Simacan to help Boels and its transport partners to reduce the number of ‘empty’ trips. “It’s not unusual for a customer to cancel or change their rental order at the last minute, in which case a driver goes to a location for nothing,” he says. “We’re able to prevent this with Simacan because even a last-minute change is immediately visible to everyone, so the planner can adjust the trip in time. As a result, every trip will be a ‘real’ trip. This will improve the performance of our network as a whole, with fewer kilometres and therefore also lower carbon emissions.”


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