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How do you monitor a heavy equipment rental fleet valued at $180 million? For Bottom Line Equipment, the answer is technology.

Bottom Line Equipment rents and sells heavy construction equipment and specialty attachments. Bottom Line’s CEO and founder, Kurt Degueyter, relies on a sophisticated remote monitoring system to oversee his fleet of 1,000-plus pieces of equipment and 400 specialty attachments. This is one of many technology investments Degueyter has made to streamline operations and better serve his customers.

Degueyter feels his business epitomizes the American dream. He started his company from his living room in Lafayette, Louisiana in 2005. In 2013, the company employed 54 employees and made $39 million in revenue. By 2017, it had 120 employees and brought in $75 million, earning itself a spot on the Inc. 5000 list for the 10th year in a row. This year, Degueyter predicts Bottom Line will hit $85 million to $90 million.

Would you like a Slurpee with that?

The first office Degueyter ever rented was a former gas station convenience center in St. Rose, Louisiana, outside New Orleans. He had just launched his business when Hurricane Katrina hit. He and his wife were eager to help by providing equipment for cleaning up and rebuilding the region. They didn’t have time for renovations, so they made do with the gas station layout and stored replacement parts in an old refrigerator unit. “My competitors would joke that they wanted to come in and get a Slurpee,” he recalls.

But they weren’t joking long. Bottom Line grew quickly. By the end of 2008, it had more than 500 pieces in its rental fleet. In 2012, it expanded into the petrochemical and pipeline markets. Today, it serves customers throughout the Gulf South from its 28,000-square-foot service center in St. Rose; its service centers in Sulphur, Louisiana and Baytown, Texas; satellite service centers in Baton Rouge and, coming soon, Beaumont, Texas; and its accounting and administrative support office in Lafayette. 

Game-changing tech 

Degueyter credits his success, in part, to technology innovation. The back office uses cloud-based tools and operates from a network of 100 Dell computers and four servers, all powered by Intel processers. Employees rely on high-res pictures and videos for inspection of the company’s equipment, which they share with their service centers via their office’s high-speed network. Its sales team and service technicians connect to all company assets and systems from laptops and mobile devices while they are on the road.

Just like their customers, Degueyter and his team have high expectations for the tools in which they invest. Technology powers everything from service to sales to the company’s extensive marketing program, which includes traditional print tactics, search marketing, and social media. “We have the same expectations whether we are talking about a PC or a Caterpillar excavator,” he says. “The equipment has to be reliable. It is crucial to performance and productivity.”

To oversee its massive fleet, Bottom Line installed telematics devices in its equipment, which enables remote monitoring of vehicle location, productivity, and health and allows for better preventative maintenance. Degueyter notes that this initiative was driven by his team, adding, “They are who make Bottom Line cutting-edge.”

In 2014, Degueyter invested in a proprietary software platform, Bottom Line Link, which feeds equipment health data into a single portal. Before that, his team had to log into different systems, because each brand of equipment had its own platform, which wasted time. The company will continue to develop the platform so it can ingest even more data points about product health. 

“The health and productivity of our machines is critical to our customer base,” he says. “Downtime is not acceptable. Investing in technology helps us be better managers of those assets and better partners to our customers. It has been a game-changer, and it sets us apart from the competition.”

 

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Published on: Jun 7, 2018