Author: samantha.heeks

Optimising control room and engineering communication to improve operational efficiency

Optimising control room efficiency image

Bus operators have invested in multiple control room software systems from depot allocation to incident management in order to run a smooth operation. To maintain operational efficiency, they need to work in harmony as often an action or data point in one system has an impact on another.

But without integration, this can lead to double entry of data, which is an inefficient use of time and can lead to inaccurate data. Also, the team can make poor service decisions if all the relevant information is not easily accessible to them.

Optimising control room efficiency image

Improve communication

Control room teams and engineers rely on each other for information. The engineer needs to know when a vehicle has broken down, what to expect when attending or dealing with a breakdown and if a driver has reported a vehicle fault. In most instances, the engineer only discovers a vehicle problem when they receive a message from the operations team, and this does not always include all the key information they require to efficiently deal with the problem.

The depot controller needs support from the engineering team to keep the service running by providing the required vehicles. They need to know when a vehicle is available after being worked on by the engineering team. The receipt of this information can be slow, and this results in a delayed resolution to a time-critical problem.

Communication between controllers and engineers can be poor or slow due to several reasons. The control room and engineers are often based in different parts of the site and can be completely remote from each other. But more importantly, both functions use different software tools, so email and phone calls are the current means of communicating and sharing data.

What is the solution?

An operator’s engineering teams use a range of software solutions and providers to manage vehicle maintenance, inventory and costs. Integrating these third-party solutions with your vehicle allocation and incident management systems can improve operational efficiency by automating data flows.

For the engineer, this means that when the depot controller records a vehicle defect, the data is automatically populated in the system with the relevant incident categorisation against the correct vehicle. Time is saved as there is no need to enter the data manually; the system is updated automatically as soon as the driver reports the incident to the operations team.

For the depot controller this means that when a vehicle is taken off the road for maintenance it is automatically marked as not available for allocation. Similarly, when it is released by the engineering team using their software system, the vehicle immediately appears as available in the depot allocation system. The controller does not waste time chasing the engineer on the vehicle’s status.

The controller can also supply details of vehicle incidents, with details of the bus and any defects, straight to the engineering team. This saves valuable time as there is no need to rewrite the information in an email or relay it over the phone. Furthermore, the controller does not need to then mark a vehicle as unavailable in the allocation system because that is updated automatically as soon as the engineer takes it off the road. A double timesaving for the operator!

How EPM Group can help

With over 30 years’ experience in software and consultancy services, EPM Group has comprehensive knowledge of the passenger transport industry and well-established software solutions.

We offer an end-to-end solution. For engineers and depot controllers, we can integrate with engineering software solutions to improve your operational efficiency by automating communication and data transfer. As soon as an incident occurs, it can be logged through the Bus Incident Reporting Screen (BIRS) in the EPM Traffic system and reported to engineering. Engineering can quickly process the issue and make the vehicle unavailable, and this is then automatically updated in OmniDAS (the complete depot allocation system offered through our sister company, Omnibus Solutions).

To book a free consultation to see how we can assist with your challenges and requirements, complete the online form or call 01527 556 940.

Ready to take your bus network to the next level?

Get in touch to build a tailored solution today

Team Spotlight – Amy Hollier, Internal Recruiter

In this month’s team spotlight we sit down with Amy Hollier, who recently joined the EPM Group as our Internal Recruiter.

How would you describe a typical day in the life of an Internal Recruiter?

Any recruiter will agree that recruitment is a rollercoaster, you have to be able to roll with the punches, but this is what keeps me going, no two days are the same!

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

I think people are at the heart of any business. Recruiting the right people is pivotal to success. If we have the right people and they are happy doing their jobs, the world is our oyster.

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

I am enjoying the challenge, it’s very busy but I enjoy that part. I also love working with all the different teams and senior management. Everyone is so helpful and supportive, so I have a big thank you to say to a lot of people who have made me very welcome.

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

I think for me, my biggest achievement is the relationships I have built with hiring managers and the wider team. I feel that we have managed to work well together and got things moving quickly. It was important to me to be able to come in and have an impact on the business.

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

I would say invest in spending time with key teams or people. There are so many knowledgeable people here and everyone really wants to help so take advantage of that and take in all you can.

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

I think it’s fair to say the industry is evolving and always becoming more technologically and digitally advanced. Great news for us as this is what we are here to do! I also think there will be more environmental focus with everyone making a conscious effort to be greener.

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

Honestly, my favourite pastime is eating out which also means I have to enjoy working out (I am still working on enjoying that as much though). I am also very family oriented so enjoy spending lots of time with them.

Who is the person who inspires you most?

My daughter, she inspires me to be the best I can be every day.

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

I will be honest, this is a difficult one for me as generally, I am a very sensible person (boring I know). My mum would probably say the silliest thing I ever did was dye my hair bright purple and pink when I was 27 but to be honest, I loved it, so the style stayed for a good 12 months.

Interested in a role in transport management?