Ted Cook, co-owner of Ventura Rental Center, Ventura, Calif., and the chairman of the American Rental Association’s (ARA) board of directors, recently represented ARA at the 2012 Hire & Rental Industry Association (HRIA) convention in Australia.
“Part of our mission as ARA is to reach out globally. ARA also is a member of the Global Rental Alliance of which HRIA and other organizations are involved,” Cook says.
Cook was among several highlighted speakers at the show, held from May 1 to May 4, 2012, at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Queensland, Australia. The theme for the 2012 convention was “Navigating the Future.”
At HRIA, Cook presented an update on the current state of the equipment rental industry in North America and the positive five-year forecast for growth.
“The Australians are very interested in the North American market and the health of the industry,” he says, adding that many questions he received related to the ARA Rental Market Metrics™ white paper, which outlines a consistent set of standards for the calculation and reporting of critical rental metrics, such as daily rental period, original equipment cost (OEC), time (physical) utilization of equipment, financial (dollar) utilization, fleet age and period-over-period percentage change in rental rates.
Baseplan Software, based in Thornleigh, New South Wales, Australia, a provider of software for equipment rental companies, already has signed up for an ARA Rental Market Metrics license.
“Globally, this is an important program for rental companies to realize appropriate ways to measure components of financials and these are meaningful to rental people everywhere,” Cook says.
Cook also says he was impressed by the HRIA convention’s “field day,” which provided attendees with an opportunity to operate equipment or go up in an aerial work platform.
“That day provided access to even more machines than appeared on the convention floor and it was all done safely. You could operate every brand of aerial, mini excavator, compactor and more. It was held at a site of a hospital that is being rebuilt on 20 acres, so this was a unique opportunity,” he says.
As part of his trip representing ARA in Australia, Cook also visited rental stores in Queensland as well as Sydney and surrounding areas in New South Wales.
“The stores I visited are very safety conscious, both for customers in the store as well as for those on the job. Employees are wearing vests in the yard with high visibility. They are wearing eye and ear protection, and they provide customers with a safety packet. They are doing all they can to promote safety,” Cook says.
He says he also was surprised at how many rental stores have portable restrooms as part of the general inventory. “It is not unusual for a company to have 100 portable restrooms on hand,” he says.
Cook sums up the experience by noting that there are great similarities among the HRIA and the ARA, as both focus on member involvement and member benefits.
“The networking value of the convention and association was a huge success factor of the convention — great information was shared among individuals from companies of all size operations that will only continue to benefit the industry going forward,” Cook says.