Invest in Your Agency’s Long-term Success

When COVID-19 hit, many transit agencies suddenly found themselves with reduced routes, staff working from home, and a completely different environment for passenger communication. Technology underlies all of these changes, and some might have learned the hard way that the old ways of doing things are not going to cut it in the new normal.

Maybe you learned that the spreadsheets you relied on for tracking don’t hold up as well when staff members are not sitting next to each other in the office. Or that your methods of communicating with riders don’t allow you to be nimble as conditions change. Or that you can’t adapt your fleet utilization as conditions evolve.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we all know how long changes can take in our world. Anything you think of today will likely take at least a few years to fully realize. However, that does not mean you should abandon the vision for large-scale change.

Now is the perfect time to take stock of what’s working — and not working — in your organization and determine how technology can help improve your operations moving forward. Time and money are on your side, thanks to the CARES Act and decreased day-to-day obligations for staff.

Here are a few ways you can use this time and the funding that’s come with it to understand your technology needs and create a plan to address them.

Breaking Down Silos

It takes a lot of moving pieces to make a transit agency function — finance, operations, and administration just to name a few. As with any large organization, individuals tend to become focused on their own work and not take the time to understand the bigger picture of what’s happening around them. This is especially true when everyone is working remotely.

Before changing or adding to your technology infrastructure, you need a clear understanding of the current state of affairs. Use this time to bring staff together remotely to understand how each department works and identify opportunities for collaboration and information sharing.

Staff in the finance department might not have any idea what maintenance managers do and vice versa. Now is the perfect time for that learning and information sharing across the organization.

Any habits developed now in a remote environment can easily be transitioned back into the office when in-person work resumes. Working outside of individual silos will help each employee see how their work fits into the big picture and keep morale alive during a stressful time.

Not only will your organization operate more cohesively, but you’ll also be ready to transition to enterprise transit management software when that time comes. Everyone across teams and offices will be accustomed to sharing data and using that information as an opportunity for communication and collaboration.

Taking Stock and Assessing Needs

This period of reflection is a time for honest conversations. Your organization can’t change for the better if you are not willing to talk openly about the problems you need to address.

When a potential customer reaches out to Avail, they are often bogged down in what pieces of technology they need without first having a clear understanding of what problems they want that technology to solve. We work together on a plan that makes sense.

Once your teams are in the habit of working together, they can begin to talk honestly about how well the status quo is working for you. Too often, enterprise-level changes are initiated from the top down without properly consulting the people who are responsible for doing the work day-to-day.

Use this time to have your teams complete SWOT analyses or utilize other methods to identify what they need to do their jobs better moving forward. Part of that solution will no doubt be technology-based, but technology can’t solve every problem.

Doing this work will also help identify areas for process and staffing changes that you can begin to implement while you are waiting for a technology solution to be implemented.

Completing a needs assessment will also help you determine how to allocate funding from the CARES Act and other funding sources that may arise. When things are stressful or uncertain, it can be tempting to throw money at every little problem that arises, but that will not serve you well in the long term.

Instead, focus on the big-picture needs when it comes to finance, maintenance, staffing, administration, and other core areas of operation. Knowing what you need will make your job and ours much easier when it comes to finding solutions to meet those needs.

Future-Proof Your Organization

No one can control what the future will bring, but you can control how prepared you are for those changes and ready you are to react to them. Enterprise transit management software gives you the tools and the data you need to be nimble, but you do not need to wait until that software is in place to begin changing your thinking.

Use this uncertain time to double down on making sure your agency is optimized for success. Convene meetings with staff to break down silos and take an honest look at what your needs are and where you can be better moving forward.

If you can do those things now, you will improve your organization’s performance in the short-term and be ready to make the long-term changes that come with enterprise transit management software. You’ll also be setting yourself up to avoid the mistakes and difficulties that arose during COVID-19 whenever the next crisis inevitably comes your way.

To learn more about how Avail can help you invest in your organization’s future, contact us to connect with a sales representative.