NCT integrates new mobile technology for engineering systems

Nottingham City Transport is deploying new mobile technology across its engineering operations as part of the roll-out of a new system from Freeway Fleet Systems. Engineering staff are being equipped with rugged tablet devices that synchronise in real time with a central Freeway system for managing the maintenance of more than 300 buses. 

NCT required a system to transform what was largely a paper-based operation. In addition to mobile paperless working, the company also specified a cloud-based system. With Freeway, NCT has a fully-managed cloud solution, minimising the demands on its IT resources.

“For NCT the move from paper to digital working is expected to provide improved compliance and audit-trail as well as significant gains in productivity,” says Gary Mason, NCT engineering director. “Real-time visibility of defects will improve vehicle turnaround times. And beyond the efficiencies of more rapid vehicle turnaround the project has also identified significant cost reductions; printing alone has been costing us £25,000 annually.”  

NCT is undertaking a phased roll-out of Freeway with the first phase now complete with the introduction of the workshop management software and live connected tablets. The next phase involves the integration of pre-service inspection reports provided by drivers using a Tranzaura app. 

The tablets will be used to replace virtually all paperwork and will be used by everyone from technicians to electrical specialists and cleaners. Running Freeway apps, the devices provide quick, easy entry of data to replace job sheets, inspection reports, timesheets, 24-hour sheets and other paperwork.

Vehicles are allocated by NCT’s engineering department rather than operations, which the company says simplifies scheduling as vehicle availability is assured. However, it increases the responsibility for engineering to maintain the fleet and minimise downtime.

“Our primary responsibility is to protect the company’s Operators Licence and Freeway will help here but the real benefits come from the fact that Freeway is a tool that will allow us to work more effectively,” adds Liam O’Brien, NCT chief engineer. “With everything digital and the information we need always immediately visible we’ll be able to manage things in a way that was simply impossible before.”