Many property management companies choose to place their trust in a third party specializing in linens rentals for all their linens needs. This leap of faith allows the property manager to focus on more pressing issues of the day, while pushing the linens duties to a trusted partner. For the partnership to be appealing to both parties the cost needs to be low, thus resulting in low profit margins for the linens company. It becomes a numbers game, so we must find efficiencies in the process to allow the linens company to bring on more accounts and increase overall profits.
In dealing with a third party rentals partner, the primary challenges are (1) pulling the reservation from the property management system and (2) pushing the corresponding invoice for services back to the property management company. There are a certainly efficiencies and AI to be had within the core workflow, but these two processes make up the bulk of the opportunity for automation.
The reservation is obviously critical to the process as it provides the check-in/check-out dates, the property location, and any notes that need to be passed on. IF the rentals company is utilizing software or digital process to manage the current workflow, these reservations are typically keyed in manually. ELSE the linens company is not using a digital process (i.e. paper, email, phone), and we have an obvious opportunity for the integration of intelligence and efficiency into the workflow.
Regardless of the process to pull reservations being used today, API technology has provided a means of automating this process without human intervention. API, or Application Programming Interface, provides a conduit for 3rd party software applications to securely talk to property management systems and pull/push reservation data on demand.
Once the reservation is in the hands of the linens rental company, several milestones must be achieved to ensure success. The following are a few processes between the reservation import and the invoice export where AI and automation can be introduced:
Once the delivery and pickup has taken place, the corresponding billing for services rendered is triggered. Most rentals companies will already have an software package to help them with invoicing, accounts receivable, and other accounting functions. It can be a challenge to accurately get the reservation invoice into accounting, not to mention tracking the payment status of that reservation.
Currently, the mainstream linen rentals company does not use a software application designed for linens rentals to manage their business workflow. If they have employed digital processes, they are generally limited to a one-size-fits-all POS system, or an excel spreadsheet in combination with an email inbox. While the business is able to operate with this approach, there is little room (if any) for growth due to the lack of automation and intelligence built into the system. The cost of labor and the cost to train these resources are the largest expense this use case. With a low profit margin, high volume business model, it’s going to be tough to compete without technology on your side.
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