Us­ing tech to evolve

There’s no look­ing back now for bus op­er­a­tors as con­sumers con­tinue to em­brace the fu­ture in trasport,

ABC (Australia) - - TECHNOLOGY - Nigel Tooth App de­vel­oper writes Nigel Tooth

T rans­portme has been in op­er­a­tion for more than three years now. And only for the last cou­ple of years have we been ac­tively ex­pand­ing our own busi­ness foot­print around Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

What we have found re­cently is very in­ter­est­ing, and in­spired me to use it for the sub­ject of this col­umn.

Op­er­a­tors around Aus­tralia are now us­ing Trans­portme as a ‘value-add’ fea­ture for when ten­der­ing for pri­vate school con­tracts. Ba­si­cally, when the op­er­a­tor puts in their ten­der bid, they give the school the op­por­tu­nity to use Trans­portme to use in their ser­vices – al­low­ing for smart­cards and real-time GPS track­ing of their eet. This, in turn, al­lows the school to say to their cur­rent cus­tomers (school chil­dren/par­ents) and po­ten­tial cus­tomers, ‘Hey – our school has a sys­tem that lets you track your bus to within seven sec­onds of its lo­ca­tion for free’. This in turn can in­crease their school’s en­rol­ments.

And more of­ten, this is one of the fac­tors that can tip the ten­der bid their way for a bus op­er­a­tor. This is ob­vi­ously a big tick of ap­proval and com­men­da­tion for Trans­portme, but what it high­lights is the im­por­tance that we must now place on tech­nol­ogy when plan­ning on ex­pand­ing our busi­nesses.

As op­er­a­tors are fully aware, it can be a dog- eat- dog world when ten­der­ing for con­tracts or sub­mit­ting char­ter bids. Ev­ery lit­tle bit of ad­van­tage is im­por­tant – or en­sur­ing you can of­fer the same as your com­peti­tors is just as vi­tal.

Tech­nol­ogy is one ad­van­tage that we must not for­get about. Of­fer­ing lit­tle add-ons such as USB ports in buses, free WiFi, Face­book up­dates and more, might just be the ad­van­tage to help your busi­ness keep ex­pand­ing.

Us­ing tech­nol­ogy as a ‘value-add’ will be­come even more im­por­tant in the fu­ture as your cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions evolve. Ten years ago, giv­ing your pri­vate school (and their par­ents/chil­dren) the abil­ity to track their bus was not so much of an is­sue.

How­ever, thanks now to ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy, this will soon be­come an ex­pec­ta­tion. And this is the ex­act rea­son op­er­a­tors turn to Trans­portme – so they can use tech­nol­ogy to ex­pand their busi­ness.

The fo­cus on large pri­vate school con­tracts for both char­ter work and also for school stu­dent con­veyance is a mas­sive chunk of a bus op­er­a­tor’s busi­ness.

Imag­ine if you were a school dean or prin­ci­pal and you were given two dif­fer­ent busi­ness ten­der pro­pos­als. Com­pany A and Com­pany B come in at roughly the same price.

The buses be­ing used are very sim­i­lar. They can of­fer the same ser­vice fre­quency and de­liv­ery. How­ever, Com­pany B has an ex­tra pro­posal point. Par­ents can track their buses in real time, and the chil­dren can also be given a smart­card for tap­ping on and off, giv­ing in­for­ma­tion on their travel pat­terns. This lit­tle ex­tra add on has just tipped the ten­der bid to Com­pany B. This is one pos­si­ble ex­am­ple of us­ing tech­nol­ogy when ten­der­ing.

The next dif­fer­ence be­tween an­other two com­pa­nies might be video screens in head­rests, or it could be free WiFi in all their buses. What­ever the dif­fer­ence is, you can rest as­sured that it gives the other com­pany the ex­tra edge needed.

No longer can op­er­a­tors stick their heads in the sand and refuse to ac­knowl­edge the im­pact that tech­nol­ogy will have on their busi­nesses. It is hap­pen­ing right now and will only in­crease in im­por­tance over the next decade and well into the fu­ture.

What is im­por­tant is how op­er­a­tors re­act to it, and how quickly they can adapt. If they are quick to change and ac­cept tech­nol­ogy, they have an op­por­tu­nity to grow. If they sit back and watch the world ex­pand, their busi­ness might not do the same.

For those want­ing to keep up with tech and their com­peti­tors, get in touch with us – more than happy to help!

“As op­er­a­tors are fully aware, it can be a dog-eat-dog world when ten­der­ing for con­tracts”

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