Transportation plays a vital role in moving people and goods, serving as the backbone of a thriving economy. Among the various modes of transportation, bus services are the first choice in many countries, providing connectivity from origin to destination.
Improving bus services is imperative as most commuters rely on them for their affordability and accessibility. Optimising fleet utilisation can significantly improve service regularity, reduce waiting times and enhance overall passenger satisfaction.
Our client is a state-owned urban bus services operator that carries over 50 million passengers annually. Their vision is to become the leading choice of public transport for their communities to travel within the city.
The client commissioned Renoir to conduct an analysis of their Operations and Maintenance departments. We were tasked with identifying improvement opportunities within the existing systems and processes.
The analysis identified five areas:
- Existing Management Control System (MCS) elements were inadequate, basic processes required improvement
- First level management was reactive, not focused on operational productivity
- Weak interfaces between Operations and Workshops resulted in unmet bus availability priorities and subsequent fines
- Maintenance teams could be more productive, preventive maintenance was lacking
- Overtime was entrenched in depots, poorly measured and scrutinised
The project was planned and approved by our client for 41 weeks. It started with Renoir’s Focus Process® – Definition and Development, followed by Installation. Initially piloted at two sites, the programme, named Magellan, was designed for subsequent rollout to the remaining sites.
A Task Force was formed with two Renoir consultants and two staff from the operator. The Steering Committee, which included senior personnel from both organisations, oversaw the project.
Management Action Teams (MATs) were set up for the Operations and Maintenance departments at each pilot site. These MATS, which consisted of a multifunctional staff from the client’s office and Task Force members, were responsible for delivering results in their respective areas.
After 12 weeks of the Focus Process, the project produced four fully critiqued ‘Brown Papers’ process maps and a comprehensive suite of desktop-based analyses. This approach identified 27 issues that needed to be addressed within the Operations and Maintenance departments.
“We had already tried twice to implement these changes and this time we have succeeded and built a great foundation for our future fleet management.”
– General Manager Fleet
The changes implemented focused on active management through a well-defined Management Control System (MCS), supported by standard Terms of Reference for 25 control meetings. To measure and drive performance, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and targets were set. In addition, we have also developed standardised documented processes and operating procedures.
The following list outlines all the improvements and changes that have been introduced:
Key processes were reviewed and updated to manage change more effectively and reduce overtime. Job descriptions were also refreshed, providing clearer and better-defined requirements for key support roles. The rostering process also underwent significant automation enhancements, supported by company-wide guidance on planned leave management.
A purpose-fit ‘Establishment Calculator’ was developed to accurately determine the number of operators required. Hourly Vehicle Requirements were extended to all business units, providing the basis for Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between Operations and Maintenance.
A new scheduling tool was introduced and installed to integrate existing systems, for better planning and scheduling of maintenance jobs, leading to improved preventative maintenance. A new work order process was also developed, to ensure seamless integration between the stores and spare parts departments.
Several tools such as productivity KPIs, a Standard Repair Times, and a Skills Matrix were implemented, leading to optimised resource deployment, increased efficiency, and productivity. These improvements helped to increase fleet availability to meet the needs of Operations.
New shift structures, visual management and a supervisory team were implemented in the workshops, aligned with peak vehicle requirements for both Operations and Maintenance.
*We have intentionally omitted client-specific details to uphold strict confidentiality.
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