Investing in digital innovation to streamline scheduling workflows and realize operational savings
About Tower Transit
Tower Transit aims to be the world’s most respected public transport operator in the world’s top cities. Which is why it has opened operations in Singapore and in London, operating people-centric bus services that are personable and dependable.
Stuart Thomas is the operations director for Tower Transit Singapore. Having set up the Singapore operations and the underlying software systems, Thomas began looking at potential replacements for some of the core operations systems, specifically on the scheduling side of the business. This could potentially provide better operational results compared to the systems that were in use at the time. “We wanted to review the systems we were using and improve what we have. We were at a stage where we were steady, so we decided to do better with our business systems” says Thomas.
The main challenge with respect to scheduling was that “we were doing things fairly manually and we wanted to speed up those workflows, so we could get better end results – better schedules that are more efficient cost-wise and from an operational standpoint. Our main concern was that building schedules took a long time, and the process was very manual. As a result, our team hardly ran any optimizations, they didn’t have much time to optimize before they had to complete the schedule.“ Thomas’s vision was to speed up the scheduling process, create many more optimized scenarios, and get better results by proceeding iteratively.
Tower Transit Singapore chose Optibus for its planning and scheduling. It has been in full operation for over a year, and was integrated with various backend systems at the company. Using Optibus, Tower Transit managed to make the workflow quicker, resulting in better operational results. Thomas reports that “Optibus give us quite good financial and operational results compared to the previous system we had used, reflecting significant savings for the company.”
Thomas says that “in terms of the ease to learn the system and to get to grips with it, Optibus is more approachable compared to some other systems, which can seem archaic. Optimizations are fast and relatively simple to set up with flexible preferences. Because of this, our team runs many optimizations, using the workflow we were aiming for and generating great business results. I like the process now, the team can tweak the schedules, running it again in a constant back and forth, with better results at the end of the day. When the process was done manually, the quality of the outcome depended on what the scheduler was able to do manually, and at most, they completed one optimization run instead of many.”
Thomas also finds it useful that “When the team sends me a schedule I can very quickly see the various business KPIs that are visualized by Optibus. I can then drill down, and see, at a glance, the paid hours and the PVR as well as other KPIs. As a manager this is very useful, and we hope to make even more use of some the analytics functions in Optibus to better compare scenarios. Most importantly, I must say, is the excellent support we had received from the Optibus Solutions Team, which was already ready to support our needs”.