Providing Speed, Safety and Service – Insights from Technology in the Transportation Industry

January 27, 2014 Brian Beattie

The Volaris Group has provided solutions for a number of organizations in the transportation sector, including people transit, rail transport, and emergency response services. The insights learned from technology in the transportation industry can be used to drive meaningful business results. For example, Trapeze is an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) providing automatic vehicle location, control, and monitoring. SimpliTransport offers a platform for scheduling pick-ups and drop-offs and maintaining customer data. When we look at the use of technology in the transportation industry, we can identify some common practices that improve speed, safety, and service. The lessons learned apply to the transportation vertical, but they also apply to organizations in all sectors looking to increase efficiencies and improve performance. 

No Two Systems are the Same

Technology depends on customization. A robust platform is the starting point. However, in practice each organization has unique structures, priorities, business lines, and operational practices. Rarely can an off-the-shelf solution meet every organization's needs. There must be a process of implementation and customization. This process requires a workable relationship between the technology provider and the client. From the provider's standpoint, the service aspect is essential. It is a testament to your ability to deliver. In the end, it is what will make the difference to get your business referred. When Trapeze implemented the transit solution for Kiwanis Transit in a southern Ontario community, the transit manager acknowledged this fact. "No two transit services are the same," explained Cheryl Fisher, a Kiwanis Transit manager. "We are happy that Trapeze offers so many customization options."

Harness the Data

Companies adopting a solution collect a lot of data. They learn pretty quickly to harness it, and use the insights to make their services better. The solution's dashboard can immediately produce reports on key performance indications such as:

  • Route efficiencies
  • Trip performance
  • No-shows
  • Re-routes

When Trapeze provided a solution for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, the Operations Manager, Joonie Tolosa, explained that, "We manage a significant amount of information on a regular basis. One of our goals is to efficiently process all the information we integrate. The introduction of Trapeze APC Gateway takes us a step closer in achieving a fully integrated system."

A robust solution provides data and reporting tools, which can aid planning and decision-making.

Embrace the Value of a "Customer Experience"

It goes without saying that business success depends on customer satisfaction. Some transit companies may have been traditionally focused more on scheduling and staffing issues rather than providing great customer service. However, when they see how technology in the transportation industry can enhance the customer experience with web-based or mobile applications, they start getting excited about the great feedback. For example, technology can:

  • Provide user-friendly interface with help videos
  • Give immediate access to bookings, cancellations, or changes
  • Allow customer service representatives to give precise ETAs

Transit organizations that learned about these possibilities almost immediately became customer service focused. When you have something to offer, you promote it; and that becomes contagious.

Give Staff the Tools

The technology isn't just about improving the customer experience or making life better for managers. Put it in the hands of the frontline staff and watch them embrace it, solve problems and increase efficiency. Some organizations have placed Trapeze's mobile device solutions onboard vehicles to provide operators with direct access to the system. For example, in 2007, Regina Transit Saskatchewan adopted the Trapeze Treq for their para-transit vehicles. The move created immediate opportunities for staff to participate directly in scheduling and route planning, giving them better ownership of their duties. In its initial year, Regina Transit's annual numbers increased by 2,300 trips and decreased 650 hours.

Your Turn

Each of these lessons learned added services, safety, and speed to the customer experience.

Have you seen these lessons applied in other sectors?

How did that work to increase efficiencies?

Let us know in the comment section below and remember to share this post if you found it helpful.

About the Author

Brian Beattie

Brian Beattie is the Chief Financial Officer at Volaris Group. Besides overseeing the financial health of the company, he works closely with Volaris’ legal and M&A team on all new acquisitions. Brian is an expert on every stage of the M&A process – from sending out the non-disclosure agreement to executing the sales purchase agreement.

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