Helsinki Bus Transportation Company uses big data and analytics to improve fuel economy, driver performance, and to save money.
— Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy (Helsinki Bus Transportation Co.), in Finland, has selected Microsoft Power BI for Office 365 to analyze operational data to improve business decision-making, fuel economy and customer satisfaction. Using a data warehouse solution developed with CGI (formerly Logica) and using Microsoft software, including Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Office and Power Map, Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy is able to track traffic data, driver performance and gas usage. Within the first two years of implementation, the company has been able to recoup its investment because of the entire solution, seeing as much as 5 percent savings in fuel costs due to more careful driving and improved maintenance. This is no small matter for a business that uses approximately 12 million liters (or approximately 3 million gallons) of gasoline per year, in a country where gas can cost up to three times as much as it does in the United States. There has also been a 7 percent increase in customer satisfaction since deployment.
In May 2013, the company added Power Map to the solution, providing a visualization of operational performance by a single driver or across the system. Mapping the data allows Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy to see which routes experience the most delays and breakdowns and to associate data on individual driver performance with specific traffic incidents or customer feedback. Supervisors can bring map data into conversations with drivers, making it easier to review performance and outline steps for improvement. Power Map visualizations also enable executives to more quickly understand the factors that contribute to cost or performance issues and make more informed long-term decisions.
“There are fleet tracking systems already in the marketplace, but they are only solving for the issue of tracking per vehicle,” said Michael Andersson, technical director at Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy. “Our data warehouse solution can combine the data across all buses and lines, which gives us snapshots of data that are easy to understand and helpful in solving business problems.”
Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy competes for transportation routes through a public tender process with the city. Once a seven-year contract is awarded, the company is not permitted to raise rates for its duration, meaning that any new revenue goals or unexpected expenditures must be offset with cost savings. To help streamline cost analysis, Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy established a data warehouse system to track financial and operational data; at the same time, the company installed sensors on its fleet of buses to capture real-time performance data such as geographic location, braking or accelerating, and fuel consumption. Working with CGI, Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy used Microsoft software to bring together the massive data being collected. The organization used analytics and visual tools to enable a nuanced understanding of fleet operations across the city and over time.
Helsinki Bus Transportation Company uses PowerBI for Excel to visualize emergency braking hotspots.
“For upper management, it is revealing to visualize the findings in map format,” Andersson said. “The analyst can concentrate on describing what’s behind the figures.”
Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy has seen significant benefits from the solution, including the above-mentioned savings of as much as 5 percent in fuel costs, and customer satisfaction, measured through surveys and interviews, has increased by 7 percent. The company expects to be able to use the data to analyze and establish the specific details of traffic incidents — for example, whether a bus was in motion or whether the driver was braking at the time of a collision.
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