Developing a sustainable rental business with a circular economy

29 June 2016

Developing a sustainable rental business with a circular economy

June 2016 saw MCS attend the European Rental Association (ERA) Convention in Stockholm. Whilst there was plenty to take away from the event, the talk delivered by Christina Lindbäck (Sustainability Manager for NCC) covered one of the most important issues facing the rental industry today: the circular economy.

Whilst you may not know the term, you’ll certainly be familiar with what it covers; the circular economy looks to dismiss a traditional linear economy and the concept of “Make, Use, Dispose” in favour of a more sustainable approach. This approach sees businesses keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them, then recovering and regenerating the materials at the end of each service cycle.

For hire businesses, this means adopting and maintaining sustainable business practices that minimise waste and maximise resource. More generally speaking, it looks to:

  • Drive greater resource productivity.
  • Deliver a more competitive economy.
  • Position the local economy to better address emerging resource security/scarcity issues in the future.
  • Help reduce the environmental impacts of our production and consumption.

The European Rental Association (ERA) has published a five-point manifesto articulating the clear environmental and economical benefits of the rental concept, which can be summarised here.

So how can your rental software support your green credentials?

The very concept of renting equipment naturally lends itself to the circular economy model as it offers an alternative for construction companies that would have, otherwise, bought machines outright. The guidance below further allows you to maximise a circular economy within a rental business:

Choosing appropriate equipment from the outset

Ensuring that the correct rental equipment is chosen at the beginning of a contract - through sufficient equipment specifications such as photos and floorplans that can be stored in your rental software solution - results in a more economical solution across the board. For example, when a construction company hires a portable building to use as a changing facility, it is more economical to select one that caters for both sexes rather than selecting one per sex - immediately eliminating one unnecessary delivery journey.

Maximising transport jobs

More thorough planning of the most efficient transport routes can result in significant economic benefits - but more planning doesn’t have to mean more time; sophisticated mapping tools within MCS hire management software will plot delivery and collection of equipment from site in the most efficient order. What’s more, should a field worker be travelling in an area close to a required collection, a transport controller can delegate the job to that worker in real-time to their mobile device, resulting in less travel and increased efficiency.

Preventative maintenance and workshop history

To ensure the prolonging of your rental assets’ service life, the simple setting of regular service schedules will result in economical, proactive management - rather than costly reactions, should something go wrong.

Additionally, a rental management software solution allows you to record all associated costs and activities, allowing you to stay ahead of any possible issues. Identify machines that are more likely to break down and determine when equipment should be written off to allow for the most economical outcome. What’s more, workshop history within hire management software allows you to hold and provide important evidence that can be used to pressure manufacturers into providing a reliable supply of replacement spare parts, which will, in turn, further prolong the lifespan of your assets.

Optimising in-the-field repairs

If your client contacts you with an equipment breakdown, you will want to send your nearest engineer to fix it. A good mobile workshop app monitors the exact location of your field service engineers via vehicle or mobile phone trackers, allowing you to choose the worker that is geographically closest. Not only does this result in fewer wasted miles but, also, a speedier customer service. You can use the mobile app to record any spare parts used from the fitter’s van, allowing parts to be re-ordered on the spot.

Effective stock rotation

Rental management software ensures that individual assets are not run into the ground. Instead, you can easily see your stock rotation is well managed, allowing for effective - and economical - equipment utilisation.

These are just a few of the ways that equipment rental software can help support the circular economy. For more information on how rental software can help you create a more sustainable hire business, please call +44(0)1628 828000, email or visit


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