Bus company trentbarton has begun group-wide digital transformation of its fleet management with software from Freeway Fleet Systems. Workshop engineers are being equipped with rugged tablets to replace paperwork as part of a multi-site system that will provide centralised management control.
Still independently owned and established over a century ago, trentbarton operate around 400 vehicles and one of the youngest, most modern fleets in the UK. When looking at upgrading its IT systems, trentbarton faced particular challenges due to the geographic spread of its operations that include services in Nottingham and Derby as well as Kinchbus in Loughborough and TM Travel in South Yorkshire.
“With these distributed operations, we faced a complex problem and had to take a fresh look at the solutions on offer,” says Mark Greasley, Group Projects Director, trentbarton. “After a year of evaluation and system trials, we are now beginning to roll out some industry-first technology as part of a group-wide digital transformation of our fleet management, underpinned by software from Freeway.”
Engineers at trentbarton’s depot in central Nottingham are the first to be issued with rugged tablets to replace their paperwork. With easy touch-screen entry of data, the devices replace job cards, engineering inspection forms, parts requisitions and timesheets.
“For the first time, we have real-time information and digital communication, eliminating paperwork and hours of tedious administrative work,” Greasley explains. “For those managing the fleet, the greatest benefits come from having complete transparency and visibility of all the work; nothing is hidden so everyone always knows exactly what is going on.”
The tablets also provide diagnostic data so that any work undertaken is based on a full history of previous work and parts used. Live data from the tablets update the central Freeway system to provide a real-time view of workshop activity. The system also manages our stores and purchasing departments.
Large wall-mounted LED screen displays provide a new way of visualising and prioritising the workshop activity in the form of an electronic 24/7 workshop operations sheet. Displaying a rolling colour-coded tabular chart, everyone has an instant visual view of defects, job status and staff resource availability.
Integration between Freeway’s workshop software and Omnibus passenger transport software will give trentbarton operations teams complete visibility of vehicles in terms of availability, outstanding defects, recently completed work and compliance status.
“The system will allow us to more effectively and efficiently manage our fleet. This will translate directly into reduced vehicle down time and improved fleet reliability which will help us continue to deliver the very highest of standards which our customers have come to expect from us,” adds Greasley.