Recently, the Sengerio team has had the pleasure of meeting some of the leading transport and mobility innovators across North America and Europe. Our objective is to learn and understand what works in the passenger transport industry and what the limitations are.
Once we are able to bring out the areas for improvement, we aim to improve management systems for carriers and buyers with Sengerio, the cloud-based software that provides a comprehensive suite of solutions tailored to the needs of passenger transportation companies.
We found that the majority of buyers utilize a similar framework to organize their transport services, but it became apparent that this framework posed limitations for buyers and even their carriers.
It is a framework that constrains the management to implement outdated means of communication to coordinate services with their chosen transport providers. Consequently, their typical management process is time-consuming, liable to errors, and negatively reflects on their passengers. For this reason, it’s time to rethink the management framework for passenger transport services.
In this article, we’ll paint a picture of the common framework and its limitations. Then, we’ll observe a different framework that aims to resolve the shortcomings of the previous model, including a case study that highlights its advantages.
Rethinking the Management Framework for Passenger Transport Services
THE TRADITIONAL ‘TRICKLE-DOWN’ FRAMEWORK
‘Trickle-down’ because the transportation service is initiated by the buyer that needs a service to be provided for. This information is then relayed to their chosen transport provider to carry out the service.
After this step, the transport provider can take care of the rest by allocating the necessary resources and completing the service for the organization.
A diagram of the commonly used ‘trickle-down’ framework.
This framework is advantageous in that buyers should only provide the essential criteria for the service so that the transport provider can formulate its outline. From here, the transport providers can manage the service independently from the organization, such as using their fleet and schedule management software, to perform the requested service.
THE FRAMEWORK’S LIMITATIONS
Despite the advantages, this framework entails several limitations that reduce the efficiency in which transport services are managed between buyers and transport providers. From the perspective of the organizer that requires a transport service, many buyers communicate their service requests via outdated methods such as telephone, emails, and the popular Google Sheets.
While these methods are legitimate depending on the organization’s size, they can severely limit the buyers wishing to expand their services.
For the buyers who are, or intend to, cooperate with many transport providers, using these manual methods of communication increases the total amount of time it takes to select the most suitable provider to cover a service, negotiate the terms of the service, and send over the service details. There’s a missing piece to the puzzle of a seamless management platform between buyers and transport providers. This gap doesn’t just limit buyers, it can slow down the operational side for transport providers too. Even if transport providers use their management software, it does not directly provide a communicative platform between them and the organization. As a consequence, the transport provider would communicate aspects of their activity (such as providing quotations or important operational information) with the same methods as the organization (i.e. Telephone, email).
In general, this framework is slow and time-consuming. It presents a minefield for errors and managing transportation services becomes increasingly more complicated the more services are requested.
THE UNIFIED FRAMEWORK
Contrary to the previous framework, the concept of a unified, shared framework for buyers and transport providers permits every step of the management process to occur in one place.
By introducing a shared platform, buyers and transport providers are able to create their own network of partners within the centralized platform. Thanks to this capability, many management processes that would normally be carried out manually using the previous framework would be replaced by a seamless, digital solution.
A diagram of the unified framework.
Take quotations for example, where a buyer would typically have to contact several suppliers individually to understand who offers the most suitable price and resources. On top of being time-consuming, the process is a minefield for miscommunication and errors that can delay the booking process as a whole.
Or even for organizations that need to coordinate many providers by allocating the best resource to a given service, having them all in a single network would greatly facilitate this process. In areas of transportation where time is an essential factor, such as in evacuation and disaster relief scenarios, implementing such a system could be critical to providing efficient services.
In addition to establishing unique networks, buyers and transport providers can cooperate on services from when they’re initially booked to the point of completion. This means that if any modifications are required before the service date, the booking can be updated immediately so that both parties are mutually aware of the changes made. This unified framework essentially bridges any communicative gaps to open up a series of new possibilities to sharpen how passenger transportation services are managed.
From a bird’s-eye perspective, the unified framework puts buyers and carriers hand in hand to provide excellent services whilst being time-efficient and minimize communicative mishaps. Moreover, it provides the opportunity for both parties to digitize the aspects of their current management organization to create a more seamless system.
THE UNIFIED FRAMEWORK IN THE REAL WORLD: A CASE STUDY
A travel service provider that brokers transport services to a leading global tour company previously used the ‘trickle-down’ framework to organize their services.
When it came to coach-tour location management, their system consisted of using a huge plastic board on the wall with tiny pieces of paper with all the tours that needed to be allocated.
Once allocated, all this information had to be transferred onto an Excel sheet and then emailed to the relevant personnel. This meant hundreds of emails had to be sent each month to different transport providers.
The General Manager of the Transport Department explained that “this was a minefield of mistakes of lost communication, not to mention all the time our team spent on doing this job. It was unthinkable that in this day and age, we still had to do all this manual work”.
To overcome this problem, the department adopted the unified framework and implemented Sengerio as the collaborative platform for their superior network of almost 200 suppliers and 1000 buses on the road.
Utilizing Sengerio’s dedicated transportation software allowed the department to organize their operations in one, unique place; no more plastic boards with pieces of paper or Excel sheets.
Their bus-tour operations are now created directly in the system so that the information can instantly be shared with partner transport providers. This has saved an enormous amount of time and optimized their allocation process.
Source: Sengerio Procure
Thanks to the shared platform, it is possible for the transport department to communicate with their suppliers via the direct messaging feature from within the booking of each service.
This automatization resulted in fewer emails sent per month and ultimately reduced the total amount of hours the team members needed to complete these tasks, meaning that they can focus more on the guests rather than spending more time unnecessarily on the administrative tasks.
The General Manager of the Transport Department added that “[The department’s] ultimate goal has been to create a one-stop-shop for all the communication with the bus companies and have all the information stored in one place. Overall I can say Sengerio greatly improved the efficacy and efficiency of our transport team.”