How do you expand from 4 branches to over 45 locations in just a few years – without compromising the great customer service you’re known for?
That’s the challenge Cooper Equipment Rentals faced when they began expanding in 2013. Having started in a small shed in Markham in 1972, Cooper is now the leading full-service construction equipment rental company in Canada. Much of their growth has been fueled by acquisitions – 9 in the last 8 years.
2 years into their growth, Cooper partnered with SmartEquip, a first of its kind process improvement and procurement software that connects equipment owners to manufacturers. Through innovative technology, SmartEquip procurement makes repairing and maintaining equipment easier and faster.
While Cooper initially adopted SmartEquip to streamline their parts procurement process, they soon found that SmartEquip also helped them expand. By standardizing workflow and providing a solid parts procurement foundation, SmartEquip is now helping Cooper work toward the goal of having the largest rental fleet in Canada.
When they initially began acquiring companies, Cooper found it challenging to have different workflows in each branch. According to Darryl Cooper, President and COO of Cooper Equipment Rentals, “SmartEquip allowed us to standardize workflow across multiple branches. This made it possible to scale our business and bring more branches on without there being a lot of pain.”
Creating this consistency helped acquisitions smoothly transition to being part of Cooper. Instead of a jumble of old and new systems, SmartEquip allowed Cooper to get everyone on the same page.
In addition to standardizing workflows, SmartEquip is user-friendly – making it easy for employees from other branches to use the Cooper workflow. Corey Lee, Inventory Manager, Cooper Equipment Rentals, says new employees “love how SmartEquip streamlines everything and how easy it is to use. They don’t have to pick up the phone for diagrams. Instead, they have everything right there.”
And, for employees from acquired companies already using SmartEquip, Cooper being on the same platform is a huge plus. These employees love SmartEquip, so it makes their transition to Cooper easier.
Even if acquired employees were used to their old procurement process, SmartEquip is so easy to use they don’t mind switching. With little resistance to a new system, Cooper can more easily integrate acquisitions – and focus on growing even more.
Beyond unifying all Cooper Branches with one workflow, SmartEquip makes Cooper’s entire parts procurement process easier.
Before SmartEquip, Cooper Technicians and Parts Coordinators had to call manufacturers or login to each brand’s site for parts manuals. For Cooper, this meant continually managing credentials for hundreds of employees for all their brands’ and dealers’ websites, which was challenging. Then, Technicians had to figure out the right part from the manual. After that, they had to place another call to order parts. If they needed multiple parts, they had to call or login several times.
This whole process could add upwards of 30-45 minutes to their parts procurement process. And, manually going through each step left room for errors – which could increase costs and decrease uptime.
Offering a more streamlined way to procure parts, SmartEquip saves technicians time and reduces errors by being “a one-stop-shop. Every one of our preferred vendors is in one portal. And, technicians can order parts in one session. They can order parts of different makes and models in the same basket,” Rodrigo Lentino, Rental Fleet Manager at Cooper Equipment Rentals, says.
SmartEquip’s unique platform makes the long and frustrating parts ordering process easy. With SmartEquip, Cooper technicians are automatically presented the correct parts manuals for each piece of equipment based on its specific brand, model, and serial number. Then, SmartEquip handles the rest, from work orders through purchase orders.
If technicians are unsure of what to order, they can find parts diagrams and product support libraries within the SmartEquip platform as well – significantly increasing efficiency in the selection and repair process.
Increased Part and Vendor Visibility
SmartEquip’s technology provides insight into which parts Cooper already has. Before, Cooper branches didn’t know if other branches had the part they needed. Now, according to Bob Chan, Fleet Coordinator, “SmartEquip shows all our other branches and their inventory. It saves so much money that way. If they haven’t used a part we need, we can have it shipped over – instead of purchasing it.”
Another way SmartEquip helps Cooper optimize their purchase activity is by increasing vendor visibility. Brian Spilak, Senior Vice President,Cooper Equipment Rentals, says “The other thing that SmartEquip does for us is that it helps channel activity toward our preferred vendors. This enables us to negotiate the best possible agreement with vendors based on a consolidated offering across the branch network and in turn keeps us competitive in the marketplace with our customers”.
With SmartEquip, Cooper can work with vendors to set pre-determined prices for parts they get through SmartEquip. So, Cooper knows exactly how much a part will cost every time. Combined with saving time searching and comparing prices from different suppliers, this predetermined pricing can help Cooper reduce expenses during growth.
On the supply side, SmartEquip’s network already has more than 550 suppliers – 175 brands, 375 MRO-type suppliers, and thousands of dealers. With such a large network of suppliers, vendors want to be on the SmartEquip network because it helps them provide better service to their customers and get more business. As such, SmartEquip helps both rental fleet owners like Cooper and parts vendors expand their business.
More Time for Customers
Along with decreasing time-consuming administrative costs, SmartEquip helps Cooper employees spend more time on what matters – customers.
At Cooper, “we’re all about making lives easier,” Spilak shares. “Making lives easier for our customers. Making lives easier for the Cooper team. SmartEquip does that for our Parts and Service Coordinators and our lead Technicians. At the end the day – streamlining this admin heavy aspect of our business increases wrench time. More wrench time is what our Technicians want to be spending their time doing and more wrench time is ultimately what our customers want them to spend their time doing.”
With SmartEquip’s streamlined parts procurement process, Cooper Technicians don’t have to spend most of their time searching for and ordering the right part. Instead, they can focus on repairing and maintaining equipment – ensuring all equipment is in top shape for customers. And, increase equipment uptime.
SmartEquip also helps Cooper offer more items for customers to purchase at their locations. With the addition of commodities vendors, Cooper can order consumables for showroom display, like safety glasses or vests, on the same platform. Having one place to order both parts and commodities not only saves time. It also standardizes offerings across all Cooper branches – so customers get the same great Cooper experience at every branch.
Technology and the Cooper Difference
In 2013, Cooper established the Cooper Difference, which is their guiding philosophy. One of the key components of the Cooper Difference is putting customers first. This can be a challenge when rapidly expanding.
But, with the right technology, Cooper didn’t have to sacrifice outstanding customer service for growth. Instead, Cooper uses innovative technology like SmartEquip to unify and streamline their operations – leaving them more time to focus on customers and expanding their business coast-to-coast.
Wondering if SmartEquip could help your business grow? Learn more about how SmartEquip can help you today.