Hertz & Donlen: A Very Good Marriage!


Barry Steel

Senior VP of Sales Development and Strategy, Donlen Corporation

What has the mar­riage of Hertz and Donlen meant to Donlen?

Orig­i­nal­ly, the com­bi­na­tion of Hertz and Donlen, I think, was not iden­ti­fied as hav­ing a lot of over­lap. But there are so many com­mon things rel­a­tive to employ­ee sat­is­fac­tion, pro­grams, ser­vices, and tech­nol­o­gy. It has been a fan­tas­tic thing!

Tell us what’s new at Donlen.

I’m stand­ing in front of a Tes­la, which is kind of cool by itself but the Tes­la is upfit­ted with a tech­nol­o­gy that is pro­pri­etary to Hertz –“Hertz On Demand.” It will be used by cor­po­ra­tions for car shar­ing. The dif­fer­ence between the car shar­ing you are famil­iar with is that Hertz On Demand has a very sophis­ti­cat­ed key man­age­ment sys­tem and reser­va­tion sys­tem tied to it. A kiosk that we can install will give users remote access to a ser­vice screen that will assist peo­ple with obtain­ing vehi­cles either on an hourly, dai­ly, month­ly or annu­al basis.

Tell us how Hertz On Demand will work in a fleet.

One of the appli­ca­tions would be a com­pa­ny that has a pool of vehi­cles for either a cor­po­rate cam­pus or to get to and from the air­port.

We will actu­al­ly be able to ded­i­cate vehi­cles that go just between the air­port and their cor­po­rate loca­tions. Here’s how it works: The employ­ee gets a card or a fob. When they approach the vehi­cle, they swipe it to gain entry. The vehi­cle acknowl­edges them and opens if the employ­ee has a reser­va­tion sched­uled. The key is inside. The employ­ee dri­ves the car one way, both ways, round trip, one hour — what­ev­er they are per­mit­ted to do. The sys­tem keeps track of where the vehi­cle is. So the next per­son that needs to use that vehi­cle can go online, log in, they can see where that vehi­cle is, what the avail­abil­i­ty is.

Nobody has to man­age any keys so it is a vir­tu­al rental sit­u­a­tion. It is pret­ty excit­ing for fleet man­agers.

Are there oth­er new pro­grams?

Yes indeed. We have just launched Hertz Val­ue Lease. Essen­tial­ly, it allows us to take all 300,000 of the Hertz vehi­cles in North Amer­i­ca and vir­tu­al­ize them for all of Donlen’s cus­tomers to uti­lize for inter­im replace­ment rentals or for out-of-stocks. You might have a vehi­cle that is for deliv­er­ies and parts or for deliv­er­ing around the cam­pus that doesn’t require a new vehi­cle. You can go into the port­fo­lio of 300,000 vehi­cles and select one and lease it just as you would with any oth­er vehi­cle through Donlen.

Final­ly, anoth­er new prod­uct is the Donlen Asset Man­ag­er. This will allow us to report on any assets a com­pa­ny has whether it is leased through Donlen or not. So, if some­body has a bunch of fork lifts or they have some lift trucks, or some oth­er kind of vehi­cles that they want to track in our data base, they can lever­age the Donlen FleetWeb plat­form.

For the first time, cus­tomers will be able to have in one place a tru­ly robust report­ing tool that can pro­vide a com­plete pic­ture of their assets: from dai­ly and short term and long term rentals on cars and trucks to any kind of long-term leased equip­ment.

One of Hertz’s oth­er busi­ness­es which a lot of peo­ple don’t know about is Hertz Equip­ment Rental. We will be able to pro­vide not just cars and trucks but both long term and short term financ­ing for equip­ment rental of any kind. Any­thing from ditch witch­es, back­hoes, buck­et trucks. Any­thing that you can imag­ine. You will have a one stop shop at Donlen.

Tell me about how the orga­ni­za­tions work togeth­er.

It is real­ly excit­ing. With Donlen being a pri­vate­ly held com­pa­ny we have been able to main­tain the cor­po­rate iden­ti­ty. You know, there is a lot of yel­low around me right now but there is also a lot of Donlen blue. One of the things that was request­ed by Hertz dur­ing the acqui­si­tion was that they did not want to brand Donlen as Hertz. They insist­ed that we main­tain the Donlen name, the Donlen cul­ture, the Donlen way of doing busi­ness and they would actu­al­ly like to take advan­tage of some of the non-tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties that we have as well as main­tain the cul­ture so that the cus­tomers that we have signed over the years and con­tin­ue to sign will get the same lev­el of ser­vice from us.

We com­plet­ed a train­ing pro­gram for about 300 Hertz sales­peo­ple to be aware of what the Donlen prod­ucts and ser­vices are. We have begun to cross mar­ket to their 80,000 plus cus­tomers that they have world­wide. It is kind of cool that we are now a part of a much big­ger orga­ni­za­tion but we have not only been allowed to but we have been encour­aged to main­tain our inde­pen­dence, our cul­ture, our name and the lega­cy that Donlen has built over the years.


Bar­ry Steel is Senior VP of Sales Devel­op­ment and Strat­e­gy for Donlen Cor­po­ra­tion. Since 2002, when Bar­ry joined Donlen as Senior Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales, he has been an inte­gral part of Donlen’s Lead­er­ship Team and its sig­nif­i­cant growth.

Before join­ing Donlen, Bar­ry spent six years at GE Cap­i­tal Fleet Ser­vices where he began his career as an Account Man­ag­er in Philadel­phia. He then was pro­mot­ed to sev­er­al man­age­ment posi­tions in St. Louis, Mo., and Irvine, Calif. before relo­cat­ing to GE Cap­i­tal head­quar­ters in Eden Prairie, Min­neso­ta.

Bar­ry is an active mem­ber and par­tic­i­pant in the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Fleet Admin­is­tra­tors (NAFA), Amer­i­can Fleet Leas­ing Asso­ci­a­tion (AFLA) and oth­er fleet relat­ed asso­ci­a­tions.

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