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.