Author: Harminder Sangha

Team Spotlight – Tom Birkin, Product Owner

In this month’s team spotlight we sit down with Product Owner, Tom Birkin, who has worked for EPM for over 10 years, working with clients to optimise the use of technology to solve their operational issues.

How would you describe a typical day in the life of a Product Owner?

There isn’t really a typical day as I have the opportunity to work on a lot of different projects! I get the pleasure of speaking with our customers to discuss their day to day problems and work with them to utilise new technologies to provide solutions that will resolve those issues! It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling to see a product develop from an idea to a finish product. If I had to sum it up I’d say there is a lot of talking, thinking and most importantly, listening!

How does your role contribute to the company’s overall success?

It’s an important role to listen and understand the needs of our customers and to be a step ahead of the competition to provide market leading software solutions that provide insight and solutions to the issues that they are experiencing.

What do you most enjoy about working at EPM/Omni?

My favourite things about working at EPM/Omni are the people I work with and the opportunity to leverage my experiences in my previous roles to drive the technology for our customers, whilst also continuing the develop new skills.

What is the biggest achievement of your EPM/Omni career?

Becoming Product Owner – cliché, I know!

As we continue to expand the team, what advice do you have for someone joining the team?

Most importantly, be yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help/questions! I’d also encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone.

How do you anticipate the industry may change over the coming years?

There is a lot of government investment going into the industry and I think that, paired with the innovation in technology is driving a big changes. The introduction of multi-Operator Tap-On-Tap-Off ticketing will change the way that we travel and make travel a lot more convenient. There is already a emphasis on EV fleet at the moment and I don’t see that slowing down any time soon but what I’m most excited about is automated vehicles – just not any from SkyNet!

Outside of work, how do you spend your spare time?

Before / during lockdown you’d usually find me at home on my PC but nowadays I try to be a lot more active and outside!

Who is the person who inspires you most?

I’d have to say my parents which feels like a really cheesy answer! If I have to choose one then my Dad. Sorry Mom!

Tell us a random fact about you – the silliest, most daring or spontaneous thing you have ever done you’ve ever done is?

I’m a triplet and I once accidentally ran through a glass door.

Interested in a role in transport management?

Job vacancies – Account Executives

Join our journey!

Driven by successful growth, we’re looking for people to join our Business Development team.

Do you want to work within a fast growing and ambitious organisation, alongside great people with a positive team culture, helping  customers as they search for the best solution for their needs?  If so, these roles could be perfect for you!

Roles: Account Executive and Senior Account Executives

We are looking for an Account Executive and a Senior Account Executive to support our on-going business growth.  These are new roles focussed on both the management of existing customer accounts along with the acquisition of new customers.  You will play a vital role securing existing contracts and developing new sales, helping to build revenue and achieve targets.

To be successful you will have a balance of great customer relationship skills, a determination to succeed, an understanding of the passenger transport marketplace (ideally within the bus sector),  and a successful track record in a sales or customer relationship role.

About us

We are an ambitious, fast moving software business serving the passenger transport marketplace and are growing both organically and through acquisitions. Although UK centric, we are also growing internationally with a footprint in mainland Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  Established over 30 years, we have a large base of long standing customers including blue chip multi-nationals, public sector organisations, mid-market operators and small growing businesses.

In addition to our well established market leading solutions for public transport operators, we are continually developing and launching new products to help customers address the challenges presented by a constantly changing landscape.

In particular, the National Bus Strategy launched early in 2021 by the UK Government, backed by billions of pounds of funding, presents significant opportunities and challenges for the bus sector.  We have reacted quickly to evolve our existing products and develop new functionality to ensure our customers are fully equipped for the future.

Our people are the heart of our business and we have a genuinely people centric culture and team ethos.  All team members have clear objectives and are supported to achieve their best.  Personal development is positively encouraged and we recognise and reward individual achievements.

Both the Account Executive and Senior Account Executive roles come with a great package of strong basic salary, uncapped commission and attractive benefits including pension scheme and private health insurance.

Responsibilities of the roles

Both roles cover the following core responsibilities.

  • Manage relationships with all contacts within designated existing customer accounts to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, ensuring they are gaining maximum value from our products and services, feeding back any issues into the business and driving through resolutions
  • Manage contract renewals with designated existing customers to secure renewals
  • Develop our presence within designated existing customer accounts, growing our contact network, building our understanding of their business challenges, identify new sales opportunities and growing revenue
  • Follow up new business enquiries generated from marketing activity or through personal contacts
  • Utilise our product and industry specialists in a pre-sales support capacity to identify the best solutions for customers
  • Own and develop a pipeline of sales opportunities, working with the marketing team to ensure the pipeline is sufficiently strong to meet sales targets
  • Identify, own, manage and win sales opportunities with both existing and new customers
  • Achieve sales targets for renewals, revenue growth and new business

Requirements for the roles

Account Executive – working with independent / mid-market bus operators and municipal bus companies

  • Knowledge of the public transport environment
  • Understanding of transport planning, scheduling and operations (ideally in the bus sector)
  • Experience of customer utilisation of IT systems and business applications (ideally in the bus sector)
  • Customer engagement experience (ideally sales)
  • Track record of successfully building customer relationships
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Problem solving or solution planning experience
  • Confidence in delivering presentations, demonstrating solutions and writing proposals
  • Strong planning and organisation skills

Senior Account Executive – working with multi-national organisations, PLC businesses and larger groups of bus operators

  • Proven track record managing large, strategically important customer accounts
  • Understanding of complex customer organisations, with multi-level and cross functional engagement
  • Ability to develop strong personal relationships with C-suite level contacts
  • Track record of developing new business within key accounts, identifying or creating sales opportunities
  • Demonstrable ability to execute value based sales campaigns
  • Knowledge of the public transport environment and an understanding of the IT systems used for transport planning, scheduling and operations in the bus sector
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Problem solving or solution planning experience
  • Confidence in delivering presentations, demonstrating solutions and writing proposals
  • Strong planning and organisation skills

TO APPLY

If you think this could be right for you contact Gary Hyman, our Business Development Director, for more details: gary.hyman@epm-bus.com

Government to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport by 2050

bus driving through nice landscape
bus driving through nice landscape

14 July 2021 – The plan provides a world-leading ‘greenprint’ to cut emissions from our seas and skies, roads and railways, setting out a pathway for the whole transport sector to reach net zero by 2050.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said “Transport is not just how you get around. It is something that fundamentally shapes our towns, cities and countryside, our living standards and our health. It can shape all those things for good or for bad. Decarbonisation is not just some technocratic process. It’s about how we make sure that transport shapes quality of life and the economy in ways that are good.”

Starting with buses outside London, we want simpler, cheaper, often flat fares that you can pay with a contactless card, with daily and weekly price capping across operators. We must make buses and trains better value and more competitively priced.

Zero emission buses and coaches commitments made in the plan:

  • To deliver the National Bus Strategy’s vision of a transformed bus industry and a green bus revolution
  • Consult on modernising the Bus Service Operators’ Grant in 2021
  • Support delivery of 4,000 new zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them
  • Deliver the first all Electric Bus Town or City
  • Consult on a phase out date for the sale of new non-zero emission buses
  • Consult on a phase out date for the sale of new non-zero emission coaches

Read the full announcement:  Government publishes world’s first ‘greenprint’ to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport by 2050

Read the report: Decarbonising transport: a better, greener Britain

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

VIDEO: Route profitability made easy with Insights

Insights software route profitability

As we start to emerge from the Covid pandemic, public confidence will lead to higher levels of patronage and government financial support will start to be phased out.  This means operators need REAL-TIME management information to rebuild revenues and reshape the network around customer demand in order to re-establish profitability.

Automated. Seamless. Dynamic.

Route profitability made easy.

Getting visibility of route profitability can be a very time-consuming and resource intensive process as there can be many data points to analyse, held in several systems across the organisation, and it can easily become outdated as new information gets fed into the system.

Our Insights software automatically consolidates data across multiple sources of the business, delivering a 360-degree view of your bus operations – supporting you to improve network performance.

In just a few clicks you can easily find out the routes that are performing well and those that are not contributing to the business – watch the video to see how easy it is….

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Bus Service Improvement Plan guidance follows NBS

empty bus seats
empty bus seats

17 May 2021, Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) guidance document has been published, part of the National Bus Strategy, by the Government.

BSIP submissions will need to set out a high-level vision and key interventions to deliver it, with the overarching aim will be to grow patronage.

The timetable for Local Transport Authorities to submit a BSIP :

  • 30 June: Decide whether to pursue Enhanced Partnership (EP) or develop a franchising assessment
  • 31 October: Publish a BSIP
  • 31 March 2022: Have either an EP in place or be following the statutory process to develop a franchising assessment

Access to a share of the £3bn to be provided by the Government for buses required these deadlines to be met.

 

Download the National bus strategy: bus service improvement plans – guidance to local authorities and bus operators

Read the full Government announcement on the £3 billion bus revolution

Download the Bus Back Better: national bus strategy for England

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Government unveils new bus strategy with £3 billion investment

happy man in bus
happy man in bus

15 March 2021, Government has announced a new bus strategy along with a £3 billion investment into the sector to encourage people to use buses over cars. The strategy is a complete overhaul to build a better bus services as we recover from the pandemic.

The strategy will see passengers across England benefiting from more frequent, more reliable, easier to use and understand, better coordinated and cheaper bus services.

The changes include:

  • Simpler bus fares with daily price caps, so people can use the bus as many times a day as they need without facing mounting costs
  • More services in the evenings and at the weekends
  • Integrated services and ticketing across all transport modes, so people can easily move from bus to train
  • All buses to accept contactless payments

Through the plans the Government is driving for the fragmented, fully commercialised market, which has operated outside London since 1986 to end. They want to see operators and local councils enter into a statutory “enhanced partnership” or franchising agreements to receive the new funding and deliver the improvements.

Read the full Government announcement on the £3 billion bus revolution

Download the Bus Back Better: national bus strategy for England

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

BSOG for Home to School Services – DfT announcement

lady with covid mask in bus

12 March 2021 – Due to Covid-19 many operators have had to restrict the number of passengers on board their vehicles in order to comply with social distancing requirements. As a result, many school services that had previously been available to all members of the general public became “closed-door” when schools & colleges returned in September 2020, meaning they could now only carry students. Such “closed-door” services are not eligible for BSOG.

lady with covid mask in bus

Initially this was not thought to be an issue as at the outbreak of the pandemic the Department for Transport (DfT) stated that operators could continue to claim BSOG at pre-Covid levels. However, in the case of services which had become “closed-door”, the BSOG Policy Team advised that they would continue to apply the BSOG eligibility criteria and that the services would no longer be eligible for BSOG from the date of the change.

After an internal consultation the DfT have issued guidance confirming that BSOG can now be claimed for “closed-door” Home to School services. The main points from the guidance are as follows:-

  • Commercial school services that became “closed-door” from 1 September 2020 due to C19 can be treated as eligible from this date.
  • Operators must complete a survey to provide information about these school services – to be submitted by 26 March 2021.
  • For those claims that have already been submitted with year ends after 1 September 2020 then a retrospective claim can be made for the services – details to follow from DfT.
  • Due to the short term nature of this arrangement closed-door services should not be included on current or future estimates

Read the DfT Home to School Services and BSOG eligibility letter

Download a copy of the DfT guidance and the Home to School survey.

If you have any questions on the announcement made by the DfT or on the BSOG / CBSSG schemes, please complete the online contact form or call 01527 556940.

Webinar – Unlocking the power of your commercial and operations data

Showing benefits of bus operator software solution

With EPM Insights you can easily and quickly manage your entire bus operations from a single online platform to improve business profitability and efficiency.

Join the webinar and see how we can drive your business forward.

  • Date: Thursday 11th February 2021
  • Time: 2-2.30pm

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Illustration of EPM bus operations software

Improving Reading Buses profitability with Insights

Robert Williams CEO Reading Buses

Robert Williams
Chief Executive Officer at Reading Buses

EPM Insights has shifted the Reading Buses business away from the manual collation of data to the automated production of key metrics, freeing up management time to focus on the actionable intelligence which the tool provides…. supporting us to react to both the changing nature of reality during the Covid pandemic and to help shape our future network. “

New commercial ‘Insight’ solution improves Reading Buses business performance

Robert William CEO Reading Buses
Robert Williams CEO Reading Buses
Robert Williams CEO at Reading Buses

Reading Buses has been working with an internationally renowned supplier of transport management systems, EPM Bus Solutions, to develop a new business data ‘Insight’ solution to support improving the bus operator’s business.

The online platform provides bus operators with customised Management Information and enabled Reading Buses to change from the manual collation of data to an automated production of key business performance metrics.

With demand for bus services more complex than ever due to the acceleration of changes in work, shopping and social patterns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.  Operators need to be agile, to react to the changes in passenger demand and requires a deep understanding of the data relating to their operations in order to achieve their business goals.

Operators have invested in a range of systems, however the need to combine data from across the business into easily accessible information still remains.

Said Robert Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Reading Buses: “ We have traditionally invested lots of time collating static dashboards and KPI’s manually, EPM Insights has provided us with one platform combining data from across the organisation including, operational, commercial and engineering, providing the management teams with actionable management information.”

“The solution quickly surfaces business performance issues in real-time and identifies the key areas to focus management attention, and thereby providing them more time to put in place the required interventions and strategies, which has supported improving Reading Buses profitability and efficiency.”

Nick Brookes, Software Director at EPM Bus Solutions , added: “We are delighted with the adoption of EPM insights at Reading Buses. The dynamic drill down reporting within the platform has provided them with the tools to deep dive into their data and explore the reasons behind performance.

This enabled the operator to react to both the changing nature of reality during the Covid pandemic and help shape Reading Buses future network.”

–END–

Contact at Reading Buses :  Peter Love, pr@peterlove.co.uk

Contact at EPM: Harmi Sangha, Harminder.sangha@epm-bus.com

Unlocking the power of your commercial and operations data

See how we can drive your business forward.

The guide on how to rebuild profits in a post-Covid-19 world for bus operators

EPM eBook for Bus Operators

Covid-19 has changed how we live, work and travel, and bus operators have to adapt to ensure future profitability. The eBook provides a guide on how you can drive revenue during these uncertain times… 2021 and beyond.

EPM eBook for Bus Operators

UK bus services have been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 virus, with patronage dropping almost 90% in the early stages of the pandemic and social distancing measures becoming mandatory on all public transport.

As the government starts to lift restrictions, it is now vital to understand the changing demands of the industry so that you can discover ways to encourage passengers back on board.

From analysing your data to see causes of disruption, to looking at additional monetary streams such as concessionary fares reimbursement and Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) claims, this guide will identify ways in which you can improve your current services and boost your profits for the year ahead.

It includes ways to:

  • Investigate route profitability
  • Improve customer service
  • Drive more revenue
  • Fine-tune your operations
  • Empower business decisions
  • Get the right tools and expertise

The road to success for bus operators in uncertain times