Innovation has dramatically altered the day-to-day experience of rental and dealership operations worldwide.
Over its 25-year history, TSD has strived to deliver the most advanced products and services to rental companies and dealerships to manage their businesses, increase their market exposure and enhance their profitability.
TSD offers a comprehensive portfolio of software and technology solutions including Windows and Web-based software products to manage rental and loaner fleets, online reservation system management, electronic insurance replacement software programs that allow insurance adjusters to create and deliver assignments to rental companies electronically, as well as high-speed credit card processing solutions.
When TSD began, handwritten contracts were the norm for the vast majority of local and insurance replacement rental car operations. Front counter control, fleet management and calculating vehicle profitability were manual and time consuming activities.
In addition, personal computers contained limited storage capacity and processing power. While large airport rental operations had basic reservation, credit card processing and rental contract automation, this functionality was not widely shared by the off-airport markets and smaller car rental companies.
TSD (The System Distributors) was formed in the mid 1980s and began to develop software that would revolutionize the ability of rental operators to increase accuracy, ensure business controls and maximize profitability.
This product was called THE CONTROLLER Car Rental System. “Other software companies designed their products exclusively to target airport locations. There was a real opportunity to provide a software solution with features designed specifically for the local and insurance replacement markets,” says Charles Grieco, CEO.
Growth in New Markets
As interest for the rental software product began to grow in the late 80s, customers were encouraged to discuss areas of functionality that would increase value to their organizations.
Ford, Chrysler and GM dealerships utilized THE CONTROLLER to manage their rental replacement programs. Franchise and independent used car rental companies grew quickly and served the local and insurance replacement customers with discounted rates. New market segments often required TSD to incorporate new functionality and reporting to address expanded demands.
One of the most dramatic improvements involved a requirement that had been completely unaddressed by airport rental software—the frequent need by insurance replacement operations to split the charges on rental contracts, generate invoices and track accounts receivable for both the insurance company and the customer.
“TSD has always been a business focused on customer service rather than merely a software engineering firm,” says Grieco. “We are in the business of what our customers don’t have. This way of thinking drives us to continue to work hard to exceed our customers’ expectations today, and tomorrow.”
Snappy Car Rental, a 200-location insurance replacement rental organization based in Tulsa, Okla. approached TSD with a need for daily reporting from all of its locations.
The standard pre-Internet solution was cost prohibitive, involving initial installation and monthly fees for dedicated point-to-point telecommunication circuits. To resolve this challenge, TSD developed the Multi Location Interface, which polled each location through dial up lines every evening and delivered summary reporting from each location to the corporate office, eliminating the need for expensive dedicated circuits.
National and International Exposure
By the 90s, TSD had secured a number of endorsements that were important to the company’s early growth—endorsements from companies focused on the local, insurance replacement and airport markets, as well as dealership environments. As TSD grew in the U.S., interested rental companies from abroad began to install TSD solutions.
In the mid 90s, The Hertz Corporation was pursuing local market opportunities and opened pilot locations in the New England area, initially choosing a competitor’s software. Grieco reached out to Hertz with a proposal that offered networked computers, software, training and support at about a dozen stores at no cost for more than a year. Today TSD is a technology and solution provider for Hertz Local Edition stores nationwide.
“All of these endorsements came together to turn this small, one-at-a-time sales effort into something that was getting national and international exposure,” says Eric Peterson, CTO. “That was huge for us.” [PAGEBREAK] The Introduction of Windows and Hosted Solutions
In 1995, TSD created the first Windows-based car rental application that used a graphical user interface, eventually known as Rent2000, and later released Rent2000 as a hosted solution.
TSD’s hosted solution (Software-as-a-Service) is an integrated software deployment model that provides a lower upfront investment and ease of implementation. It is designed to relieve the customer of the burdens of ongoing hardware and software maintenance. This allows car rental companies that lack networks and servers to run Rent2000 on a secure and maintained TSD-supported network.
Insurance Replacement Innovation
Also in the 90s, State Farm Insurance issued a mandate requiring car rental companies to interface with its newly developed messaging standard, the X12 EDI platform, in order to receive insurance replacement assignments. This messaging standard provides consistent structure for data transmission between insurance companies and the car rental companies.
Although many TSD customers were doing business with State Farm, most were unfamiliar with the platform. As a result, TSD developed software and technology to provide its rental customers with a convenient mechanism to interface with State Farm.
The relationship with State Farm prompted TSD to continue the development of products that allowed insurance adjusters from companies such as Progressive, Farmers and American Family to send electronic assignments directly to car rental offices. Thousands of assignments are delivered to car rental companies each day through EDiCAR.
Internet Channel and Global Distribution Systems (GDS) Connectivity
TSD currently has connectivity to Sabre, Worldspan, Galileo and Amadeus, processing millions of GDS messages daily.
The customer’s desire to link their counter system to Internet reservations was the catalyst for TSD’s RezCentral product. RezCentral offers an online process to streamline reservation and rate management, transmit reservations and increase Internet exposure. TSD’s customers publish their rates through Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and other distribution channels.
The Growth of Web-based On-Demand Software
In 2004, TSD released TSD RENTAL.NET, a Web-enabled and browser-based product, designed for any size rental fleet at a reduced cost of ownership. The browser-based RENTAL.NET product provides data security and convenience, allowing access from virtually anywhere.
For Harley-Davidson, a 10-year TSD partner, TSD came up with a solution that combines RENTAL.NET and RezCentral. Today, Harley-Davidson requires the TSD RENTAL.NET product in each of its 200-plus Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals locations. RezCentral has assisted Harley-Davidson in leveraging the Internet and driving business to individual dealers.
Dealerships and Innovation
TSD continually listens to customer feedback in efforts to better serve them, while simultaneously exploring the market for potential growth opportunities.
TSD recognized a need within automobile dealerships’ warranty and service loaner programs. By managing loaner vehicles similar to the way a traditional rental operator does, TSD software provides dealerships with a method to manage vital customer and fleet information.
TSD, the exclusive choice of Toyota Motor Sales, has provided Toyota Rent A Car (TRAC) with software for more than eight years. Due to the success in automating Toyota dealerships, Lexus approached TSD to develop software to manage thousands of loaner vehicles at its U.S. dealerships.
The result of the collaboration is TSD LEXUS LOANER Management Software. This software provides unique features critical to service dealership departments to improve customer service and loaner fleet management.
TSD LOANER is further enhanced by interfaces that capture customer information residing in Dealer Management Systems (DMS) such as ADP and Reynolds & Reynolds. These interfaces improve customer service by eliminating duplicate entry of data, and expediting the open and close of the loaner agreement.
More recently, TSD has developed bi-directional interfaces with Business Development Center (BDC) software providers, which assist the dealership in the scheduling of service appointments. The TSD interface allows for the booking of a loaner car at the time of the service appointment scheduling and reduces the amount of time a service advisor spends on the phone with customers.
Today, TSD also private labels its loaner product for BMW of North America known as ATMS (Alternate Transportation Management Software) which is required in all BMW dealerships throughout the US.
The Driving Force in Vehicle Management Solutions
CEO Charles Grieco states, “When we opened our doors, TSD specialized in developing software for car rental businesses. Over the past 25 years, we’ve expanded our focus as the market’s needs have changed, providing technology and innovation to rental companies, dealerships and manufacturers. We remain on the cutting edge of the latest developments for our customers and within the world of technology, allowing us to identify need, present ideas and create the kinds of solutions that yield significant change and benefit to our customers.”