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Innovative Methods in Logistics

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The US car rental industry is currently dominated by the three major firms – Enterprise Holdings, Hertz and Avis. Enterprise Holdings in the largest of three, which revenue is nearly equal to the combined sales of Hertz and Avis, operates as Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. Pat Farrell, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for Enterprise Holdings, noted that the car rental industry is experiencing major change from such factors as new innovative technologies and evolving consumer preferences. He cited changes in customer preferences due to new digital and mobile technology as the largest driver of change – and opportunity – in the industry. Technology – from the Internet, to social media, to mobile platforms – has truly put the consumer in control, he said. The better we use these avenues, the stronger our customer loyalty and relationships will be.

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Farrell saidthat the car rental industry is encountering major alter from such variables as modern inventive innovations and advancing customer inclinations. He cited changes in client inclinations due to modern advanced and portable innovation as the biggest driver of alter – and opportunity – in the industry. Innovation – from the Web, to social media, to versatile stages – has genuinely put the shopper in control, he said.The superior we utilize these roads, the more grounded our client devotion and connections will be.The advent of smartphone apps has now reshaped the way rental car industry operates.

A 2015 study by Cognizant found that when travelers utilize rental companies, they find the most value in simple, easy-to-use booking technology and customer interface software. With automated or streamlined bookings, rental companies can enhance the customer service experience. Leading rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise utilize automated check-outs. Avis sibsidiray Zipcar for example, letting customers book cars spontaneously with their mobile phones instead of making reservations ahead of time on PCs, That has made it much easier for customers to find cars wherever and whenever they want one.

Unlike a big car-rental company, it arranges many short-term rentals in widely distributed locations. Customers must return the car to its home spot, which is often on a side streeta different model from the central lots that most rental companies use.Avis subsidiary Zipcar and Enterprise Rent-a-Car subsidiary Enterprise Car Share, for example, have fitted their fleets with telematics systems. This allows the companies to automatically access and track the vehicle’s location and carry out reporting.

Logistics plays a key role in operational efficiency. Fleets need to be managed so that vehicles are available when and where customers request them. Zipcar has found a much easier way to manage its challenging logistics. At Zipcar’s fleet control centers, operators can keep track of vehicle demand, driver reservations, and car maintenance schedules using home-grown software called Fast Fleet that it is marketing to other vehicle management companies.

Zipcar relies on hardware mounted on each car’s windshield—the so-called “black box,” which includes an RFID transponder and a wireless data link. Reservations are transmitted to the black box, so that the car knows who will be driving it and when. When you hold your Zipcard up to the windshield, it unlocks the car for the first time. Then you can use your iPhone to unlock it thereafter. When you’re finished with the car, you hold the Zipcard to the black box again, and it deauthorizes you. New technologies can also monitor the car. Record360, an app that tracks vehicle damage before, during, and after your rental, promises you won't get stuck with a bogus car rental bill. Another product, DropTag Drive, a sensor that keeps tabs on your rental like a black box, can help determine what happened to a car in case of an accident. Industry observers expect these gadgets to be more widely deployed in 2016 and beyond.

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Uber and ZipcarInnovative on-demand car hire models such as those used by the taxi and ride share companies, Uber and Zipcar, have had an enormous impact on the traditional car rental and taxi firms. Both platforms can be used on computers or via smartphone apps and enable quick door-to-door transport with just a few clicks or taps. Consumers select their pick-up location and destination, view a cost estimate and then wait for a car that arrives in a few minutes. Payment information is stored on file, so there is no need for cash. The simplicity and convenience of use has meant that many consumers now choose companies like Uber and Zipcar when they previously may have used traditional car hire and taxi companies.

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