#SMETowkay: Driving Towards Digital Efficiency
Car leasing company BTV Rental implemented a vehicle tracking system that allowed it to up its productivity while reducing manpower needs.
When Vincent Tan decided to set up a car rental company to lease vehicles to private hire drivers, he sought to keep costs low and productivity high to give his fledgling business a fighting chance of surviving in a competitive market.
Near the top of his to-do list was finding an affordable technology system that could help reduce his overheads and do away with labour-intensive tasks. In particular, he needed a digital solution that could keep track of the location of his fleet, and the mileage of each car.
After sniffing out the market for such a system, he settled on a vehicle tracking software called cuteTrac, that is designed to efficiently manage a fleet’s operations with GPS technology. With help from IMDA’s SMEs Go Digital Programme — which helped to offset part of the digital solution’s costs for BTV Rental — the company implemented cuteTrac in August 2017.
“We had purchased 11 new continental cars for our fleet, which meant that the investment value is quite high. As such, it is important to know where our cars are at any one time in case the drivers don’t pay up or if there is a breakdown,” said Mr Tan.
Apart from using cuteTrac to manage its fleet of vehicles efficiently, BTV Rental can also remotely monitor each vehicle’s mileage so that the company can accurately schedule maintenance which helps to increase customers’ satisfaction.
“Previously, we would have to estimate the mileage or wait for the driver to inform us,” said Mr Tan. He estimates that he would have needed an additional employee to manually check on mileage and vehicle locations by calling the drivers regularly. With cuteTrac, BTV Rental now operates with only two employees, apart from Mr Tan. In addition, implementing the digital solution meant the firm could cut down their administration work by 20%, freeing up employees to focus more on maintaining good relationships and engaging with the drivers.
While implementing the system itself was easy — which essentially involved installing transponders in the cars and software in the company’s computers and mobile devices — there were some early glitches. For example, the system was unable to accurately capture its vehicles’ locations. However, these teething problems were soon sorted out and BTV Rental is fully reaping the benefits of the system today.
Buoyed by the positive experience of using cuteTrac, Mr Tan is now exploring other digital solutions that can help to grow his business. In particular, he is looking at creating an online portal where potential car renters can compare the deals being offered by different leasing companies. He envisions that the portal will allow customers to provide ratings for the various service providers, and also enable companies to highlight errant customers who have bad payment records.
“With such an ecosystem, all drivers can compare what is in the market and rent cars right from their own homes. Meanwhile, companies can showcase their unique selling points. For example, all our vehicles run on diesel, so that’s our niche,” explained Mr Tan.
He realises that to pull off his ambitious plan, he will need the cooperation of other players in the market, and a substantial amount of funding. Yet, he believes that such a digital initiative will help raise this industry to the next level. Said Mr Tan: “I think this new digital platform will benefit all stakeholders in the industry and improve overall operations, offering greater accountability for our consumers.”
ABOUT SMEs GO DIGITAL PROGRAMME
The SMEs Go Digital Programme helps to make going digital simple for SMEs. Under the programme, SMEs are able to gain access to a number of pre-approved solutions to take their businesses to the next level using digital technologies. There are technology packages for a range of industries, including healthcare, food and beverage, manufacturing, construction and logistics. SMEs can receive funding support when adopting eligible pre-approved solutions. Interested to know more? Visit SMEs Go Digital Programme. #SMEsGoDigital
For more information on pre-approved solutions supported under the Productivity Solutions Grant, visit Tech Depot at SME Portal.