Seaside Linen and Rental Company is a forward thinking company that sevices the vacation rental industry in Willmington, North Carolina area. While they do serve customers direct, they prefer to establish relationships with large property management or vacation rental companies (VRMs) that outsource their linen and equipment rental needs.
Linens are difficult to make profitable and keeping an inventory of equipment is a logistical nightmare. Property management, real estate, and VRM companies are starting to realize they can reduce overall costs by partnering with a trusted linen and equipment rental company for these services.
This project tells the story of an online application that helped a linen company to profitably provide these services, while the PM / RE / VRM company gets piece of mind and makes a little money on the deal.
Until now, a mobile software application designed specifically for the linen & equipment rental industry did not exist. As is the case with anything cutting edge, there were many challenges to overcome and problems to solve.
While not a comprehensive list of all the requirements, this is an impressive list of challenges to overcome.
As we take on a project of this magnitude the complicated feature sets are obvious. But, the details are what make this solution great for the linen and equipment rental company looking for ecommerce and automation. Details were uncovered as part of the discovery process, and designed into software.
Details are the different between a one-size-fits-all software package and one that is built specifically for you.
We now have all requirements on the table, so how do we take all that and design a mobile application that is easy to use? Designing and building something user friendly for a browser has its challenges, but then you throw in the mobile or responsive requirements and the design gets complicated in a hurry.
Technology we used to help make the user experience more app-like (minimal screen refresh/reloading):
A successful design is not only appealing to the eye, it has great functionality made simple through user experience. For such a complicated set of requirements, we were able to find a nice balance of look & feel in this application.
This is a living application that constantly evolves as new technologies and requirements come along. The design and implementation phases become cyclical as there are always opportunities to get better.
The inititial build utilized much of the toolset Five Technology had already built over the years, but it was still almost two years of development and tweaking before this platform was ready to go live for Seaside. Even as we glide through the first full year of Seaside using the software, countless features and updates have been made to further improve the process.
Just one month into the busy summer season in southeastern North Carolina, Seaside has already saved over 2500 hours. That is a lot of time freed up to do other things. This is time you get to spend with your family, these are temps you no longer have to hire during busy times.
The existing staff is much better at their job, and human error has almost been eliminated from the process. Customers are happy because orders are correct and delivered on time. Every role in the company has gotten better at doing their job.
I think a quote from Craig Myatt, owner and operator at Seaside, sums it up best. "Saturday used to be a day of chaos! It was a very reactive, stressful environment that had my team constantly on edge trying to find ways to find and fill missing or incorrect reservations. I'm still in the office on Saturday, but instead I get to start thinking about the week ahead. This piece of software is a game changer for my linen and equipment rental business."