Mr Prasanna Patwardhan, Chairman and Managing Director of Prasanna Purple Mobility Solutions (Purple), talks about the challenges of running one of India’s largest bus companies and why he chose Trapeze Group to transform his company’s processes, create efficiencies and collate good data.
To learn more about Prasanna Purple's success, watch the extended version of their story (7.20 minutes).
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When I took over in 1985, I told my employees that whenever people think of quality operator they should think of Purple as their first choice.
We were a small company; we just had 6 cars and 10 employees, but we had big dreams. So in 1988, though we started as a car rental company, we spread across Maharashtra and nearby states by starting operations of intercity coaches.
In 2007, central government came up with a scheme under the name of Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, in which they gave priority to improve public transport in cities and they also gave priority for Public Private Partnership (PPP).
We saw that as a great opportunity and we grab that opportunity as a first entrant and we grew from there in city bus business.
With this, we went into PPP schemes with the government starting from a small town of Jalgaon (which is in Maharashtra) and from there we grew to bigger city, which is Indore (which is nearby states).
From there we came to Pune and from there we came to bigger city, which is Delhi, and further also we went to multiple cities in the country and today we have about 9 cities in the country wherein we operate city bus businesses.
This allowed us to realise our dream of becoming Number One company in Pune and in the country.
However, with rapid growth, issues of scalability came up. We have depots spread across India: Pune – 6; Bhopal – 2; Indore – 3; Delhi – 3; Chennai – 1; and with large number of manpower and large number of vehicles, it becomes very difficult to manage this manpower and vehicles.
Collecting data centrally was becoming very difficult and getting right kind of information at the right time is very crucial for growth of the business; and this is where technology comes in and that is why we decided to go ahead with new technology, which will allow us to collect all this data centrally in integrated manner.
We tried for many years to find a solution to this problem, but either it was too expensive or time-consuming.
We approached many local companies, big Indian companies, international companies; but we were not very successful. We also had a software house to build our software solution in-house, but all this failed.
There are some things which come only with experience and domain knowledge, so the company which we worked, they did not had domain knowledge and they did not had experience.
That is why the kind of reports what we wanted, we never got this reports and that is why we decided to go ahead with a technology or a company which is having experience and domain knowledge in the segment.
During my visit to multiple operator, I saw Trapeze software working fine. It is because of their domain knowledge and experience of the sector. So similar to us, they are also working in this segment for last many, many years and that is where we decided to work with Trapeze in March 2016.
We chose Trapeze ERP solution because they have Planning & Scheduling integrated with all other activities such as Maintenance, Rostering, and even Fleet Management.
This will allow us to generate data at multiple locations and give us whatever information we require centrally available, so this is very helpful for our future growth because that will allow us to grow faster.
It is very important, because firstly it will allow us to monitor performance of our staff and buses and secondly it will improve communication between departments.
For example, previously it was very difficult for us to understand available buses, scheduled buses, available staff on one screen. Today with all this information on one screen, our communication and performance will certainly improve.
With all this data centrally available, it will allow us to analyse it better and that central information will allow us to understand what is happening in multiple locations and this will allow us to grow faster.
When we saw the demonstration of Trapeze, we have seen that it is covering all our aspects and we are 100% sure that it will definitely improve our operational efficiency, it will bring down the maintenance cost, as well as it will bring the control on the inventory.
Today, Purple is one of the largest bus company in India. We had 110 buses in 2009. Today we have 1,200+ buses.
We employ 3,500 employees and we carry 4 million passengers per day.
We are the only company which is operating Hop On Hop Off kind of bus services and metro services in our country.
I am very satisfied with our choice of Trapeze.
Trapeze team is good. They have gelled very well with our people and with their global experience and expertise in the segment, they are doing a great job of implementing modern technology at Purple.
Trapeze today also have a reasonably good experience on Indian scenario so they bring in Indian experience plus best practices which are adopted globally, which will allow us to enhance experience for our customer and also increase efficiency of our company operations.
I am looking forward to work with Trapeze towards exciting future what India possesses for this Public Private Partnership. I am sure with our partnership with Trapeze, we’ll certainly realise our dreams of becoming India’s Number One company in terms of quality and customer experience.