TraPar: A Three-Part Introduction Part 2
Introducing TraPar Pt. 2: The Efficacy of Transport Management
Transport operators face several challenges related to controlling costs and generating revenue. These costs include those of acquiring a fleet, operator licencing, drivers, and day to day overhead expenses. Once secure there are also the direct costs of providing a transport management service. These include the costs of managing bookings, payments, vehicles, and drivers. They also include the costs of ensuring that all regulatory requirements including vehicle and driver compliance are met. In times past, and like everywhere else, these transport management services involved substantial time spent in organising, managing, and archiving vast quantities of paperwork; a process as tedious as it was time-consuming, and one that led to substantial stationary costs. Nor was this environmentally sustainable.
In more recent times these costs have been alleviated, but of course there are the economic costs of alleviating these costs. In line with other areas in our lives we have all seen a general rise in the number of platforms to support the various facets of business. And more specifically we have witnessed the emergence of digital transport management systems. These digital systems are platforms for operators to both receive and manage their customer bookings, as well as to manage vehicles and drivers towards delivering a valuable service more efficiently. A number of systems also increasingly provide an avenue to schedule vehicle maintenance and ensure compliance.
It means that efficiently providing transport management services lies to a large degree in the availability and accessibility of these platforms. Unfortunately industry research highlights the fact that existing transport management systems can sometimes be prohibitively expensive, both to new and established independent transport service providers. As mentioned in the previous section these are typically small family run businesses providing transport services in their local communities. They include local coach and minibus, and private hire businesses. From speaking with these operators it is further understood that some of these systems also have confusing price structures. And although they support the basic elements of booking and fleet management, innovative new features are fragmented across platforms. The ease with which these platforms can be used is another major factor.
What is needed seems to be the ability to affordably alleviate the direct costs of providing transport management services, that is accessing an effective transport management platform. At the same time the platform itself should provide a single entry point for comprehensive transport management within an easy to use interface. At present a good number of operators prefer to use manual systems and supplement these with digital elements for specific areas. Though somewhat cost-effective, this is time-consuming, can lead to expensive mistakes, and is less than optimal in terms of eco-friendliness. Importantly, it inhibits these operators’ capacity to provide a seamless service and to do so on any scale. It means these operators would be unable to fully serve demand from better integration with local transport networks.
Efficient access to a single entry point for comprehensive transport management is therefore essential for operators to make truly significant contributions in their local transport networks. This is with regards to the fundamental components of transport management such as booking and fleet management. But it is also with regards to the necessary innovations that enable these operators to competitively provide transport services that are reliable, convenient, and eco-friendly. Empowering operators in this way will increase their accessibility to transport consumers. This would in turn be of considerable benefit towards meeting another key challenge of providing transport services, which is funnelling demand for their services by increasing their visibility and connecting them within well-integrated transport networks.
Coming soon: In the final part of our introduction we showcase the TraPar vision, values, and purpose, based on elements of the first two parts of our introduction.