Today we are excited to announce three large improvements to our asset procurement workflow: Catalog, Request for Quote, and Provider Match. After listening to a lot of feedback about our previous incarnation of our Marketplace, which was based on a traditional one-to-one transaction, we pulled it apart and reworked every aspect—from search to quote request.
We pursued this endeavor with one goal in mind: make it even easier for operators to evaluate the rental equipment market and allow providers to expand their work opportunities.
Reinventing the Marketplace
In August 2020, our Engineering and Sales Engineering teams began reworking the Marketplace to make it more useable and valuable. What we saw in our own usage of the Marketplace, and the feedback from customers, was that the entire experience felt incomplete and inconsistent given that it was a hodge-podge of user-added information. With this new structure and organization, we completely eliminated the issue of incomplete and inconsistent user-added assets. Instead, operators can choose the exact asset they are looking for based on our robust catalog of equipment and materials. Once the asset is selected, operators can then request quotes from multiple providers that fit their criteria.
This new process saves our customers time by automatically finding the providers that can support their specific requirements. It also gives providers more opportunities to receive quotes, since operators can send multiple quotes for a single asset.
The Catalog structure is a win-win scenario that brings the best possible rental and purchasing experience to both operators and providers.
Evolution from Marketplace to Catalog
New Solutions to Old Problems
A traditional marketplace system has a one-to-one transaction relationship. One user connects with one vendor and makes a purchase. This works great for consumer goods. But we quickly saw the inherent shortcomings when it came to applying the traditional marketplace approach to heavy equipment and industrial materials.
Catalog: Better Search, Less Effort
With a typical marketplace, vendors are required to upload the information about the asset that’s used in the actual listing of that asset. This free-form entry process leads to massive variation in the names, attributes, and descriptions of assets from provider to provider. As a result, the search functionality of the marketplace itself suffers.
For the old version of the Marketplace, this meant that operators weren’t always seeing all of the available assets that met their needs, and providers with relevant assets were being left out of search results. But now, the new Catalog structure completely solves these issues and makes it easy for operators to find what they are looking for while giving providers an equal opportunity to fulfill the quote request.
Request for Quote: Market Evaluation & Price Visibility
When it comes to equipment rentals, many factors influence pricing from one transaction to the next on the same piece of equipment. So from a provider’s perspective, displaying pricing in an open marketplace could cause unwanted and unnecessary pricing competition.
This fear results in some providers choosing to hide price information from their listing, while others keep it visible. From the operator’s perspective, you can imagine how seeing one vendor displaying pricing alongside a vendor choosing to not display it could influence your decision-making process—even though the vendor without pricing displayed might be the more cost-effective option!
With the improved Request for Quote workflow, operators only see prices when a provider responds to their quote request. In addition, operators are able to request quotes from multiple providers at once to better evaluate the market. At the same time, providers are given total control over what their pricing is and who sees it.
Provider Match: Opportunity Expansion
The new Catalog structure transforms the Marketplace’s one-to-one relationship to a one-to-many relationship. One operator is able to connect with and request quotes from multiple providers at one time. The providers that operators are able to choose from are populated using our Provider Match algorithm. It uses factors like location, availability, and more to surface providers that match the operator’s criteria. In addition to enabling greater market evaluation for the operator, this also gives more opportunities for work to providers.
Our Commitment to Innovation
We are so excited to bring this new approach to our procurement management capabilities and how we connect the best equipment and products to the people who need it. At the end of the day, these advancements bring us even closer to our initial goal with the Marketplace: to help operators find what they need in just a few clicks—and give providers, suppliers, and manufacturers increased utilization and revenue.
Nearly every member of the FieldEye team had their hands on this project in some way so we could bring it to you as quickly as possible. So if you have any questions about how our reimagined Marketplace works, we’d love to hear from you.
And this is just the beginning. I can’t wait to share what else we’re developing to merge the worlds of tech and grit with perfect harmony.
All the love in the universe,