How GDC-Total Business Solutions Guided Hertz Equipment Rental to Deploy Measurable Solutions and Create Cultural Change
Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation — a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation — operates one of the world’s largest equipment rental businesses. Hertz Equipment offered a diverse line of equipment, including tools and supplies, as well as new and used equipment for sale. Their customers ranged from major industrial companies to local contractors and consumers through approximately 350 branches in the United States, Canada, China, France and Spain. Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation was founded in 1965 upon a commitment to provide the highest quality products and absolute excellence in service.
Mark P. Frissora Past CEO brought a strong background in Lean principles of continuous improvement when he joined the company in 2006.
Fred Daniels Past Vice President of Operations for Hertz Equipment Rental had been with the company 20 years.
The industrial equipment rental market was growing and Hertz Equipment Rental was facing stronger competition. They were challenged with how to take advantage of the growth opportunities and maintain the highest quality products and service while making their cost structure more competitive.
Mark Frissora’s background in Lean principles and his familiarity with the book The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker convinced him that his company could implement similar changes to their processes. So he called Liker directly to get a recommendation and was connected with GDC-Total Business Solutions.
In 2007, GDC president Curtis Walker and Performance Improvement Specialist Janice Roberts began their work in Hertz’s Houston location. First came a week of Lean overview training for key management personnel. This was followed by Kaizen events, based on the Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement through activities that help employees learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes.
Everything was taken out of the work area so that the people doing the job could decide what makes the most sense in terms of how they do their job. The 5S system (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain) was implemented to improve work flow. Processes were improved and implemented with the active participation of the people performing them.
Over the span of two years, nearly 90% of all Hertz Equipment Rental branch managers completed Lean training and implementation has been completed in nearly all locations.
At Hertz Equipment Rental, trucks arrive at the loading dock, equipment is loaded into the trucks, the equipment is delivered and the trucks return to the dock for more equipment.
Prior to GDC’s involvement, it took a total of 45-90 minutes for a truck to be loaded and back out for deliveries. After the Lean implementation, this process was reduced to only 20 minutes. Implementing Lean ultimately resulted in a dramatic productivity increase.
Employees were initially skeptical. But the method in which GDC-Total Business Solutions approached the project nurtured a counseling, consultative relationship that allowed employees input and gained their trust. All levels of employees and management worked together to find solutions. The culture of the organization began to shift to one where employees felt comfortable and eager to suggest ways to improve processes.
Fred Daniels says, “We owe a lot to Janice, Curtis and GDC. They are severely committed to the customer, putting forth extraordinary effort to make sure we stayed on course. They truly practice what they preach by always looking for ways to improve the way they do things. And Curtis’ experience and expertise is hard to top!”