Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: PowerBuilder

PowerBuilder: Article

Sybase Success Story: Kowloon Motor Bus Company

Increases mobility and provides better customer service

The largest bus operator in Hong Kong, the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (KMB), is responsible for carrying around 2.7 million passengers a day and coordinates the movement of 4,040 buses. By utilizing Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), PowerBuilder, and PocketBuilder, KMB built two mission-critical systems: the Traffic Operations Management System (TOM) and the Terminus Management System (TER).
Using these systems, KMB can now better handle the company's resource allocation, improve the effectiveness of depot staff in their daily duties, and provide greater mobility to its workforce at the terminals.

Key Benefits

  • Streamlines workflow
  • Standardizes working procedures across depots
  • Increases work efficiency
  • Optimizes resource allocation
  • Increases staff deployment flexibility
  • Reduces training time
  • Reduces clerical work
  • Improves staff communication
  • Increases mobility

Sybase Technology

  • Adaptive Server Enterprise
  • PowerBuilder
  • PocketBuilder

Industry

  • Transportation/Logistics

KMB Keeps Buses Moving with Sybase
The Kowloon Motor Bus Company, widely known as KMB, was established in 1933 after obtaining a franchise to operate bus services in Kowloon and the New Territories. When it was founded, KMB's bus fleet consisted of 106 single deck buses.

Today, KMB is the largest bus operator in Hong Kong with 4,040 buses, around 12,000 staff and a network of 402 bus routes transporting around 2.7 million passengers every day. KMB is now one of the world's largest privately-run public bus companies and recognized as an international leader in public bus transportation.

Replacing Manual Processes
KMB had traditionally used a manual-based approach to managing processes and information around duty assignment sheets - information essential to the smooth operation of the company. KMB was looking for a technology solution that would allow it to manage this information with greater efficiency.

A mainframe computer system was used to produce duty assignment sheets that were printed four days in advance and contained information such as the route number, vehicle registration number, and the bus captain duty schedule. The duty dispatch staff would reallocate resources such as assigning replacement bus captains in place of those who were sick, or reallocate spare buses in place of those that were unavailable due to maintenance. These allocations were done manually and the dispatch staff would be required to be familiar with the training information of bus captains and with particular features of the buses so as to assign the right person to the right duty. While staff could accomplish this task, the process was time-consuming.

As job allocation and duty scheduling is a complex process, this "manual" approach also meant that it took several years for an employee to become skilled at performing the reallocations. This meant the task was often restricted to being completed only by very experienced employees.

"With such a large fleet and the need for our business to be able to quickly respond to unpredictable incidents such as road work or accidents, as well as regular occurrences such as holidays and scheduled maintenance of buses, we knew we needed to find a better way to deploy our resources," explains Tommy Leung, head of the Information Technology Department.

Increase Mobility and Provide Better Customer Service
KMB was also looking for a way to make their depot staff more mobile, particularly when they found terminus supervisors were spending 50 percent of their time managing bus schedules and logging arrival and departure times of buses. Staff also spent a considerable amount of time managing traffic control issues and assisting passengers, while also liaising with the KMB control center and other bus termini.

"When we were looking for ways to automate our processes and make things easier for staff, we also recognized the need to make this technology more mobile.

"In the end, if our staff can do their job more efficiently, it helps our customers who use our services on a daily basis - customers can access up-to-the-minute information while staff have more time to attend to passengers," says Tommy Leung.

Automated and Mobile Operations
Using Sybase technology, KMB developed an in-house system called Traffic Operations Management System (TOM) to better handle the company's resource allocation and assist depot staff in their daily duties.

Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) and PowerBuilder technologies were used as the core components of TOM, which has transformed the way KMB stores and accesses information. Using ASE and PowerBuilder enables TOM to automatically generate the daily schedules, including the route timetable, bus captain's schedule, and operational requests.

The system is able to look at various requirements, such as the familiarity of the bus captains with a particular route and a particular bus, to generate an appropriate duty schedule. Should an unpredicted event happen, the system is designed to always have a back-up schedule.

ASE and PowerBuilder also allow TOM to record precise data such as overtime hours and duty information, which is transferred directly to the payroll system for wage calculations.

KMB also uses Sybase's PowerBuilder and PocketBuilder in another core application called the Terminus Management System (TER) to automate terminus operations covering bus termini around Hong Kong. Terminus Supervisors access and record essential information such as operational data and real-time bus schedules using a PDA that runs PocketBuilder. This system has replaced a paper-based system and gives employees even more flexibility and mobility when working around the terminus. With the TER architecture in place, staff are also able to liaise directly with the KMB control center and other termini.

A New System - Better Efficiency, More Access
Implementing the TOM system powered by Sybase ASE and PowerBuilder has transformed KMB, delivering immediate benefits to customers, employees, and KMB's back office. TOM has replaced many manual processes including the manual sign-in procedure for employees that used to take up to 10 minutes and now takes only seconds. Each duty assignment sheet containing the location of the bus, route number, vehicle registration number, and a remark column is now automatically produced.

Training time spent on depot staff has also been shortened significantly as the system negates the need for staff to memorize bus features, bus captain experience, and particular route requirements. Route information and assignments are now automatically generated - faster and with much less required human intervention.

"One of the major advantages of Sybase PowerBuilder technology was time-to-market. It took us under three months to implement the mobile application and have it up and running - we were very impressed," summarizes Tommy Leung.

TER, using Sybase PocketBuilder, gives Terminus Supervisors greater mobility via the use of PDAs. Using PDAs, KMB staff have been able to greatly improve efficiency as it allows for instant communication with the depot and related departments. In addition, the use of Pocket Builder has helped the KMB minimize paper waste by saving around 250,000 pages of terminus log paper.

"PocketBuilder had the added benefit of being really easy to use, so for staff the learning curve was almost non-existent. Getting people familiar with new technology is usually the biggest hurdle of any implementation and with PocketBuilder it wasn't an issue.

"All three Sybase solutions including ASE, PowerBuilder, and Pocket Builder have greatly enhanced our business and the service we provide customers. The technology has been essential in taking our business to the next level of efficiency," said Tommy Leung, KMB.

Why Sybase?
"Introducing the TOM system and TER with its unique mobility capability was very challenging. We knew we needed a technology provider that would not only provide seamless implementation but, more important, remain our partner long after the implementation was complete.

"Sybase was able to demonstrate the superior performance of its products together with the ability for these products to grow with our business," said Mr. Tommy Leung, KMB.

•   •   •

Reprinted with permission from Sybase

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named "Media Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...