Rental data goes digital

April 1, 2005
A new mobile technology solution designed to provide fleets instant electronic notification of rental activity and real-time access to rental information has been released by XTRA Lease, a trailer rental and leasing company. XTRA Xpress is currently available at more than half of the company's 80 U.S and Canadaian locations and will be in place at remaining locations by mid-summer. The new system

A new mobile technology solution designed to provide fleets instant electronic notification of rental activity and real-time access to rental information has been released by XTRA Lease, a trailer rental and leasing company. XTRA Xpress is currently available at more than half of the company's 80 U.S and Canadaian locations and will be in place at remaining locations by mid-summer. The new system is powered by mobile handheld computers, WiFi network technology and a re-designed network architecture.

According to the company, the new system is the first of its kind in the industry. With Xpress, XTRA Lease now completes all customer transactions (trailer pick-ups and returns) electronically via handheld computer, which produces instant e-mail notifications to any customer immediately after a transaction. Customers also receive a digital copy of the rental agreement linked to each e-mail.

When a customer arrives at an XTRA Lease location to pick up or drop off trailer equipment, an XTRA Lease employee scans a trailer barcode using an Intermec 750 mobile computer, downloading transaction data into the device via WiFi 802.11b technology. XTRA Lease completes the trailer inspection and transaction using the mobile computer, capped off by capturing the customer's signature electronically on the device. The mobile computer then uploads the transaction data into XTRA Lease's operating system, which creates a digital Adobe PDF of the rental agreement and automatically sends an e-mail to the customer within minutes, with the rental agreement attached. Customers can also access a history of rental agreements online to review their rental activity.

“We're in the trailer emergency business,” said Bill Franz, CEO and President of XTRA Corporation “Customers often turn to us because they're in a jam and need equipment fast. Xpress enables us to respond quickly. With electronic mobility and inventory, we're able to provide real-time inventory and rental information that serve fleets better.”

Minnesota-based Dart Transit, Watkins Motor Lines and Truline Corporation in Las Vegas are among current users of the new electronic inventory system, according to XTRA Lease.

About the Author

Wendy Leavitt

Wendy Leavitt joined Fleet Owner in 1998 after serving as editor-in-chief of Trucking Technology magazine for four years.

She began her career in the trucking industry at Kenworth Truck Company in Kirkland, WA where she spent 16 years—the first five years as safety and compliance manager in the engineering department and more than a decade as the company’s manager of advertising and public relations. She has also worked as a book editor, guided authors through the self-publishing process and operated her own marketing and public relations business.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in English and Art History from Western Washington University, where, as a graduate student, she also taught writing.  

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