Field servicing and inspections: Case Study

Discover in this case study how Bus Éireann achieved increased efficiency and streamlined their bus stop inspections with SmartRoutes.

Field servicing and inspections: Case Study

Bus Éireann

Bus Éireann is a state-owned bus and coach operator providing services throughout Ireland. Their extensive reach crosses nationwide offering essential transit options to residents and tourists alike.

A major part of Bus Éireann's commitment to delivering efficient and reliable services lies in maintaining the quality and safety of their bus stops. To do so, Bus Éireann deploys a dedicated team of field service operatives responsible for conducting thorough inspections at bus stops scattered across the country. The primary objective of these inspections is to assess the condition of each bus stop and identify any signs of wear and tear.

What we will take a look at in this case study:

Challenges faced by Bus Éireann

Bus Éireann’s goals

The Solution

The Outcome

The Results

Challenges faced by Bus Éireann

When Bus Éireann first reached out to us, they had been using another system. Unfortunately for the team, they weren’t satisfied with the software as it had too many limitations.

One of the biggest limitations was the software's cap on the number of bus stops they could include in their daily inspection plans. They were restricted to just 10 stops per route, when in fact they needed 60+ and often had as many as 100 stops per route. This made the route planning process incredibly difficult.

Another significant challenge stemmed from weekly usage limitations imposed by their previous system. Bus Éireann found themselves constrained by how often they could utilize the software to create and modify inspection plans.

Their old system was unable to accommodate route changes once they were dispatched. Often, Real-world circumstances necessitated on-the-fly adjustments to routes. Without this flexibility, Bus Éireann's field service operatives faced regular inefficiencies and delays.

Prior to adopting SmartRoutes, Bus Éireann's inspection process largely relied on following (close to) the actual bus routes, which proved to be a wholly inefficient approach. This strategy often led to unnecessary backtracking, as the start and end locations of these routes could be far apart and the routes themselves frequently crisscrossed one another. This created substantial time wastage for the field service operatives.

In the following sections, we will take a close look at how SmartRoutes fits in with Bus Éireann’s inspection process and the outcomes achieved.

Bus Éireann’s goals

  • Reduce backtracking by grouping stops closer together.
  • Remove system limitations, such as stop and usage restrictions.
  • To service more bus stops within the same time.
  • To have the flexibility to update routes on the fly.

The Solution

Transitioning to a new software solution can often be met with apprehension, especially for drivers who have grown accustomed to their existing routines. The prospect of learning a whole new system brings with it a degree of uncertainty—will it simplify their workday or add complexity?

At Bus Éireann, however, the drivers were very eager to get started with SmartRoutes.

After completing the demo with our team and looking more into the reviews of our platform made by our customers, they were keen to get started. Both the demo and customer testimonials gave Bus Éireann confidence to fully embrace the platform.

Now let’s breakdown the features implemented by Bus Éireann:

Route Planning

The integration of SmartRoutes into Bus Éireann's operations has brought about a significant transformation in their approach to route planning, addressing a major operational challenge. In the past, field technicians typically adhered to the actual bus routes (though not rigidly) during their inspections, resulting in significant inefficiencies. This approach often resulted in unnecessary backtracking, particularly in areas with multiple intersecting bus routes, causing time and resource wastage.

SmartRoutes introduced a more efficient method. By focusing on grouping bus stops based on their geographic proximity, the team at Bus Éireann was able to substantially reduce ‘silly backtracking’. This shift from bus route-centric planning to location-based planning has had a huge impact on operational efficiency. This has led to a notable increase in the quantity of bus stops that Bus Éireann's field operatives can efficiently service within a defined time frame.

Route Optimization

The route optimization feature in SmartRoutes has become an invaluable asset for Bus Éireann. It has increased the efficiency of their bus stop inspection process. This feature has added a level of flexibility to the field operatives' daily routines, allowing them to adapt to dynamic, real-world scenarios.

For instance, if a field operative stops for a lunch break and sees a bus stop scheduled for inspection later in the day, they can service the stop as they pass it, and then mark it as complete in SmartRoutes. They can then reoptimize the stops for later in the day.

The flexibility offered by route optimization enhances decision-making in the field. Field operatives can promptly respond to changing conditions, whether it's traffic congestion or unforeseen issues at bus stops, by adjusting their routes on the go.

Every mile traveled by field operatives now serves a purpose, contributing to a notable increase in the number of bus stops serviced within a given timeframe.

Delivery Driver App

Even though Bus Éireann does not complete conventional package deliveries, the delivery driver app has played a pivotal role in enhancing its servicing capabilities.

Their field operatives (or drivers) have benefited from the route navigation capabilities. With the app, drivers can access real-time, dynamic route guidance, ensuring they reach their destinations more swiftly and adapt seamlessly to unexpected changes in traffic or road conditions.

The team is able to digitally mark stops as 'done.' This process signifies that a bus stop has been serviced as scheduled, and it streamlines progress tracking throughout the inspection route. This digital record-keeping mechanism reduces the risk of inadvertently missing or overlooking bus stops.

Since the implementation of SmartRoutes’ route planning software, my office has been able to cut down on time spent planning routes for our field operators (saving time for our Clerical staff) and has made our field operators more efficient by reducing the need to backtrack on ground already covered.

Previously our field operators would  follow bus routes, which proved counterproductive as in urban environments our bus routes tend to cross over. Since the implementation of SmartRoutes, we have eliminated a significant amount of this unnecessary backtracking saving time for our Field Operators. SmartRoutes is also flexible. Our Field Operators particularly approve of the facility to re-optimise through the driver app so they can readjust their routes independently from the clerical staff - saving time for both the Field Operators and the Clerical Staff. This was not an option using our previous system so this was a big upgrade for our Field Operators.

For our office staff, SmartRoutes has been a big improvement. SmartRoutes has been very user friendly. It is quite easy to upload bus stops to the system to have a route planned, and with the driver app, it is easy to distribute the routes to our drivers.

- Bus Éireann

The Outcome

The Bus Éireann team has found the system to be hugely useful in their servicing operations. Rather than adhering closely to bus routes, field operatives have adopted a more efficient approach, covering areas where bus stops are in close proximity, often encompassing stops from various bus routes.

One of the most significant accomplishments has been the substantial reduction in what they refer to as 'silly backtracking.' No longer do they pass by bus stops only to return to them later, an approach that is heavily time-consuming. Instead, they now approach bus stops in a far more logical sequence, minimizing unnecessary travel and optimizing their inspection routes.

The SmartRoutes platform has provided them with the flexibility essential for addressing any issues they encounter during inspections promptly. This adaptability ensures they can spend the necessary time at stops if any servicing or repairs are required upon arrival.

The implementation of SmartRoutes has transformed Bus Éireann's bus stop inspection process, streamlining their operations and introducing a more logical and efficient approach. The platform has not only improved their efficiency but has also enhanced the overall experience for their entire team.

The Results

To read more case studies you can check them out on our Customer Stories page. If you would like to know more about our services, you can book a demo with a member of our team for a personalized walkthrough of the platform.

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