iPhone in Business

Sunbelt Rentals

iPhone: Essential equipment.

A construction zone full of scissor lifts, cranes and backhoe loaders might seem like a surprising setting for an iPhone. But at Sunbelt Rentals, iPhones are as indispensable as hard hats. With a two billion dollar inventory of rental equipment, the Fort Mill, SC-based firm is one of the largest equipment rental companies in the United States. And iPhone ensures that Sunbelt Rentals’ sales team is constantly connected to real-time customer, business and inventory information.

“Sunbelt is a service company,” says John Stadick, Vice President of IT at Sunbelt Rentals. “And to be better than the competition, we use technology. iPhone gives us a competitive advantage—it’s a big enabler for us.”

More than 1200 of the company’s sales people, field personnel and executives keep their iPhones constantly at hand. “They get in a truck in the morning and drive from job site to job site, office to office and they don’t slow down,” Stadick says. “iPhone works better for them than a laptop because of the power of the platform and its ease of use.”

Simple and Secure

iPhone communicates directly with Sunbelt Rentals’ Microsoft Exchange Server, connecting the company’s mobile workforce with push email, calendar and contacts. In the field, Sunbelt Rentals' employees use Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and iPhone to seamlessly interact with contacts and stay current on calendar events.

Distributing iPhone to the workforce is quick and easy, says Dean Moore, Sunbelt Rentals’ Senior Systems Manager and Architect. The IT group activates and configures each new user’s iPhone, adds a distribution and provisioning profile, and installs the company’s proprietary iPhone app, Mobile SalesPro, all in about ten seconds. “The iPhone tools are simple to use and make the deployment process very smooth,” Moore says.

With iPhone, Sunbelt Rentals can be confident that their data remains secure. Each iPhone has an encrypted user ID and password, and any data sent between iPhones and corporate systems is encrypted as well. “With the security in iPhone and in our application, we maintain the level of integrity that we need,” says Moore. “iPhone is more secure than a laptop in the field. If an iPhone was lost or stolen, we could instantly remote-wipe that device.”

And thanks to the intuitive iPhone user interface, there's no need to train the workforce. “The iPhone UI is the best I’ve seen on any mobile device,” says Stadick. “It does no good to roll out these devices if the interface is difficult to use. With iPhone, Sunbelt employees are instantly productive.”

Real-Time Control

Sunbelt Rentals’ custom iPhone application, Mobile SalesPro, ties multiple systems and databases into a single package for the sales team. The app connects the corporate point-of-sale system, inventory control and management platform and ERP system. Sales reps can retrieve sales data, inventory reports and complete customer histories. Sales quotes and reports are shared in real time, so they reflect constantly changing rates and equipment availability.

Mobile SalesPro on iPhone enables the sales team to respond immediately to customer requests. “Our sales cycles are short,” says Stadick. “If you can’t answer a customer’s question or fill their need fairly quickly, there’s a good chance somebody else will come in and win the business. We can answer a question with iPhone while literally standing in the dirt on a job site.”

For example, Moore recalls, “We had a general contractor ask about a specific piece of equipment. The sales rep pulled his iPhone out and found a picture of the equipment using Mobile SalesPro, the contractor saw that the equipment would do the job, and we had a rental.”

Doing Business with iPhone

Sunbelt Rentals continues to develop Mobile SalesPro, further integrating it with their CRM system and adding features that take advantage of the capabilities of iPhone OS 3.0. They are also expanding their internal iPhone user base, cementing iPhone as the cornerstone for customer and sales communications at Sunbelt Rentals.

“We look at iPhone as more than a new computing platform for Sunbelt Rentals,” says Moore. “iPhone has changed how we receive and use data—and how we do business.”

Company Snapshot

  • 400 locations in 34 states
  • Annual revenue of $1.45 billion
  • iPhone application: Mobile SalesPro
  • Fort Mill, South Carolina
  • www.sunbeltrentals.com

“The iPhone UI is the best I’ve seen on any mobile device. With iPhone, Sunbelt employees are instantly productive.”

John Stadick, Vice President of IT, Sunbelt Rentals

“With the security in iPhone and in our application, we maintain the level of integrity that we need.”

Dean Moore, Senior Systems Manager, Sunbelt Rentals

“We can answer a question with iPhone while literally standing in the dirt on a job site.”

John Stadick, Vice President of IT, Sunbelt Rentals

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