Editorial: December 2011
It’s our last issue of the year and all indications are it was a good year.
By Patrick Flannery
It’s our last issue of the year and all indications are it was a good year. I get a continuous flow of quarterly financial reports from the various publicly traded companies in our industry, both rental operations and suppliers, and the trend throughout the year has been double-digit growth figures, even “record” profits and revenues. Admittedly, these reports are skewed toward impressing potential investors, but even corporate bean counters cannot outright lie in numbers they release to the public.
Some other rental publications you may receive publish every single one of these reports as they come out. While I admire their thoroughness and do not criticize their editorial decision, I personally find the constant flood of quarterly numbers numbing and suspect that readers tune out after the 50th or 100th missive claiming “Q3 revenues strongest ever, CEO attributes growth to his own genius.”
More to the point, I do not think quarterly financial reports are any kind of indication of the overall status of a company. Things change fast in business, but usually not that fast. If there is an alarming or interesting number in a quarterly financial report, chances are it is due to some one-off event that will not be repeated in subsequent quarters. We all remember Mark Twain’s saying about the fundamental dishonesty of statistics. If I am supposed to give you information about industry companies that you can actually use to form an accurate picture of the business environment, it behooves me to filter these reports somewhat and present a balanced picture. That is why you will rarely read a quarterly financial report in either the Canadian Rental Service print or online edition. Instead, I will pass along the full-year reports that companies will start releasing next spring. Maybe I’ll even package them up into some kind of broad overview.
Speaking of reviews, you will find something a bit different on page 14. I recently obtained an excellent review of Ford’s 2011 F-150 with the EcoBoost V-6 engine and thought it was something you might find useful when thinking about vehicle purchases. Please let me know if reviews of this kind are something you would like to see more (or less) of.
The end of the year also brings us to the end of Wayne Beckett’s illustrious reign as CRA president. The CRA took great strides on Wayne’s watch, especially in the area of its public image and marketing efforts. A redesigned CRA website is due to be launched before the end of this year, and everyone has seen the higher profile and slick messaging that Bryan Baeumler has brought to the association. The CRA is now active on Facebook, as well. I want to personally thank Wayne for doing his very best to be on time with his columns, and for his valuable insights into the industry.
Which brings us to the not-so-new guy, Ed Dwyer. You can read all about him and his booming operation, C&T Rentals, on page 20. If Ed brings one tenth of the professionalism and drive to the CRA presidency that he has to his business, the association is in for a very strong 2012. Ed will be addressing you each issue in the CRA President’s Message column, starting with the January/February issue.
Here’s hoping that Santa either rewards you accordingly or overlooks your behaviour entirely, as you prefer. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.