Nottingham City Transport (NCT) is deploying the latest mobile technology across its engineering operations as part of the roll out of a new cloud-hosted system from Freeway Fleet Systems. Engineering staff are being equipped with rugged tablet devices that synchronise in real time with a central Freeway system for managing the maintenance of over 300 buses.
NCT required a system to transform what was largely a paper-based operation. In addition to mobile paperless working, the company also specified a cloud-based system. With Freeway, NCT have a secure and fully-managed cloud solution, minimising the demands on their IT resources.
“For NCT the move from paper to digital working is expected to provide improved compliance and audit-trail as well as significant gains in productivity. Real time visibility of defects will improve vehicle turnaround times. And beyond the efficiencies of more rapid vehicle turnaround the project has also identified significant cost reductions; printing alone has been costing us £25,000 annually,” says Gary Mason, Engineering Director, Nottingham City Transport.
NCT are undertaking a phased roll out of Freeway with the first phase now complete with the introduction of the workshop management software and live connected tablets. The next phase involves the integration of pre-service inspection reports provided by drivers using a Tranzaura app.
The tablets will be used to replace virtually all paperwork and will be used by everyone from technicians to electrical specialists and cleaners. Running Freeway apps, the devices provide quick, easy entry of data to replace job sheets, inspection reports, timesheets, 24 hour sheets and other paperwork.
Unusually, vehicles are allocated by NCT’s engineering department rather than operations. For operations this removes one important variable and simplifies scheduling as vehicle availability is assured. However, it increases the responsibility for engineering to maintain the fleet and minimise downtime.
“Our primary responsibility is to protect the company’s Operators Licence and Freeway will help here but the real benefits come from the fact that Freeway is a tool that will allow us to work more effectively. With everything digital and the information we need always immediately visible we’ll be able to manage things in a way that was simply impossible before,” says Liam O’Brien, Chief Engineer, Nottingham City Transport.
With 310 buses NCT is the biggest transport operator in Nottingham and the company and has attracted more people on to their buses, bucking a national trend of bus passenger decline. The company is also the only bus company to have won UK Bus Operator of the Year a record breaking five times.