Sunbelt Rentals (www.sunbeltrental.com) is one of the largest equipment rental companies in the U.S. and Clark LaTour is the regional service manager for a Sunbelt territory that serves Maine to New Jersey with 17 store locations. According to LaTour, his region has been using GPS technology from MicroLogic (recently acquired by StarTrak Systems, a subsidiary of Alanco Technologies, Inc.) to help monitor its equipment in the field for more than ten years and the system long ago proved its value.

“We use GPS in a number of ways, but primarily for preventive maintenance [PM] on our equipment rentals, some of which might be out for a year,” LaTour says. “The MicroLogic system gives us direct access to our equipment wherever it is, so we can keep it on a good preventive maintenance program to make sure it is operating well for customers and to take care of our assets.

“We rent all kinds of construction equipment from bulldozers to backhoes, drills, aerial work platforms and towable generators,” he continues. “A good PM schedule is especially critical for our generators because they may run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so PMs (which we do every 150 hours) can come up fast. GPS allows us to get technicians out to the field to make sure those generators are serviced when they need to be.

“The MicroLogic system also allows us to bill our customers monthly for over-hour usage of rental equipment, such as gen sets, rather than waiting until a rental period is over because we can ‘see’ how it is being used. This saves a lot of disputes at the end of the rental agreement and helps our customers spread out the cost, too,” LaTour notes.

“GPS also saves us time and fuel because if a customer moves a piece of equipment from one job site to another, our service technicians can find it without driving from job site to job site looking,” he adds. “Since we implemented GPS, we have not lost any engines due to PM issues, either. To be honest, before we had GPS, we were losing some very expensive engines at an alarming rate. That was the real reason we implemented this system in the first place. The other benefits, like identifying overtime and billing for it monthly, were extra benefits that we ‘discovered’ once we were using the system. Today, it is central to how we do business.”