Improve asset utilisation, improve efficiency, achieve KPI’s, collate business intelligence, ensure legislative compliance, just snippets of what we strive to achieve on a daily basis.  But where do you start and what is the priority?
Measuring and monitoring may sound obvious but in the cut-throat plant, equipment and tool hire market it is critical for business success.
According to Jordan Thompson, hire software manager at market leading software innovator Jaama, it is critical that hirers utilise technology to maximise and grow their business potential, starting with a complete audit trail that clearly identifies:
•All legislative compliance requirements are up-to-date
•The exact location of all equipment in terms of who the customer is
•A full history of all assets to maximise stock utilisation.
Ms Thompson said: “Without that information at the fingertips of management, businesses will become inefficient and potentially lose money because they will not be maximising hiring opportunities. What’s more, companies could be investing in plant and other equipment that is rarely out of the yard when they could maximise increased hire opportunities by purchasing additional examples of in-demand machines and other equipment.”
To boost hirers’ machine management focus, Jaama has added a wealth of new functionality to its Key2 Hire Management software, which was previously known as Key2 Plant Management.
The rebrand has been unveiled to widen the marketplace attractiveness of Key2 Hire Management as the functionality enables hire equipment outside of the pure plant sector to be managed, such as generators and toilets.
Furthermore, new features incorporated into the relaunched web-based Key2 Hire Management system include:
•Day Book – a new transport management system for suppliers to organise equipment deliveries and collections with the ability to allocate individual assignments to drivers and vehicles thus creating bespoke journey schedules to improve business efficiencies. 
•Quick Hire Improvements – operators can update contracts in less clicks by adding individual items requested for hire to existing contracts and immediately issuing a delivery note. 
•Damage Management: Mark item damage at off-hire – it allows for equipment damage to be recorded within the system at off-hire. Key2 will save pictures and notes of the damage and create damage notifications and letters. Users can then create a one-off damage invoice or place the item into Workshop. 
•Key2 Today – customisable, real-time visual reporting dashboard; it shows users high level information in an easy, graphical interface. Information available in the graphs includes contract by status, asset status, cross hire by group, revenue by customer and top 10 earning groups.
Before a company allows its assets to go out on hire it is crucial that it has a current record of when equipment was last serviced and inspected and, if required, examined in accordance with Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) rules.
Ms Thompson said: “Without having a pro-active system in place that clearly flags up any audit trail weaknesses compliance can be difficult to manage. In the unfortunate event of an incident occurring while a machine or piece of equipment is on hire, it is crucial that up-to-date service and examination information is easily accessible to aid investigations.”
Knowing exactly which items of machinery and other equipment is on hire to which organisations and, ideally, where they are located, may seem obvious in terms of business efficiency but, according to Ms Thompson, it is a weakness in many hire companies.
“It’s essential for hirer businesses to have full visibility of their equipment in order to fully utilise their stock,” she said. “It is vital they have an easy to access system that clearly identifies at the press of a button what equipment is in the yard and available for hire, what is out on hire and, ideally, when it can be expected to be available for re-hire to enable forward planning.”
Such pro-active actions provides hire companies with a full history of each asset easily enabling managers to compile cost and spend analysis, compliance records and last hire location.
Ms Thompson said: “Armed with that management information, hire companies can compile reports clearly identifying asset utilisation, maintenance costs and any asset under utilisation so they can right-shape their business moving forward in terms of the type of machines and equipment being bought for hire and focus on those that are the most cost-effective in terms of both demand and uptime. Hirers do not want machines to be languishing un-used in yards or frequently requiring unscheduled maintenance.”
She added: “The functionality additions to Key2 Hire Management are designed to make the software even more user-friendly and simultaneously further ease the administration burden for hire companies.”
Since launching 13 years ago, Jaama has become the UK’s leading software provider to the fleet and vehicle leasing sector and continues to increase its penetration as the software provider of choice to hire companies.
Ms Thompson added: “The system changes introduced will, we believe, ensure Jaama makes further inroads into the hire management sector across small, medium and large suppliers as they seek to improve business efficiency in critical areas and maximise hiring opportunities.”
Web-based Key2 Hire Management is a modular system enabling additional functionality to be added as the demand of user businesses change and companies expand.
The system stores and actively manages and monitors all aspects of plant, asset, stores management, the hire of both single items and plant packs, rehire, cross-hire, operator hire and management, sale items, ordering, quotations, contracts, equipment maintenance and invoicing and is available with fully integrated accounts. The system also seamlessly integrates with other internal and external business software systems.