Holiday makers know they will get the right vehicle, when and where they want it.
Maths puts car rentals on the road to success
CSIRO mathematicians helped THL Rentals optimise their reservation system to give customers the right vehicle, when and where they want it.
1 March 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011
THL Rentals Pty Ltd runs the Britz, Maui and Backpacker fleets of recreational vehicles.
With 4 000 vehicles and tens of thousands of bookings a year, an efficient fleet management system is vital to ensuring the company is operating at maximum productivity.
Upon outgrowing its previous fleet management system, THL Rentals turned to CSIRO to develop software that would analyse problems of vehicle availability, relocations and substitutions.
The software provides real-time availability and fleet scheduling information to over 100 concurrent users in many locations.
CSIRO operations research leader, Dr Andreas Ernst, says 'Most decision making in these situations is done manually on whiteboards and spreadsheets, or using basic software, so can require highly skilled employees to manage it.
'A mathematical solution can give large improvements in efficiency, better use of resources and better customer service compared to a manual solution. This can mean huge dollar savings.'
This was perfect for THL Rentals, whose IT applications manager says the old fleet management system was less than optimal, and probably caused the company to refuse bookings it could have taken.
CSIRO developed software that allows THL Rentals to take the most bookings possible with their available fleet, as well as managing staff rosters to suit cycles of demand.
The software finds the best allocation of vehicles to bookings, whilst minimising costs involved in relocation and substitution of vehicles.
Booking decisions are now made in seconds, more bookings can be accepted and we can provide for those bookings with a smaller fleet.
The software developed by CSIRO has streamlined booking processes for THL Rentals. It has delivered substantial reductions in costs such as those involved in relocating vehicles between depots.
It has also led to several significant improvements in booking business practices.
CSIRO is customising the software for other leisure vehicle rental companies for use in Australia and overseas.
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