“I can’t think of any better way to manage our more than 5,000 tires,” says Bruno Druetta, fleet manager at Bus Company SRL. Two years ago, he and his team decided to purchase the ContiConnect digital tire management solution. Since then, sensors in the tires of his fleet have automatically recorded all the key operating data such as air pressure, temperature and kilometers driven. His team can now check the condition of the tires in just a few clicks via a web portal and an easy-to-use app. For Druetta, who attaches great importance to the digitalization of his fleet, switching over to the solution was a logical step.
I can’t think of any better way to manage our more than 5,000 tires.
Bruno Druetta, fleet manager at Bus Company SRL
Above and beyond the fleet of 500 buses and the staff of 700 employees, Druetta also has a sense of responsibility for the almost 20 million passengers that the company transports each year. Bus Company is responsible for much of the public transport in the Piedmont region, with its buses operating in cities such as Cuneo, Alessandria and Turin. For the tires, this means frequent collisions with curbs, as well as plenty of historic cobblestones that put a strain on their tread. Not to mention the constant stop-and-go traffic, which creates additional stress.
Even on transregional trips – Bus Company provides the fleet for 22 Flixbuses and six other international bus routes – the worst case scenario has often occurred in the past: a burst tire on the open road. “Emergencies like this used to happen almost every day. Thanks to ContiConnect, we now experience them much less often – even if, despite the latest technology, they cannot be ruled out completely. Tomorrow, for example, I have to go to Slovenia to take care of one of our buses there.” He has a very dynamic job, Druetta explains, and cannot help but smile as he does so.
When he is not on the road, Druetta works at the bus company’s central depot in Villafranca, a town of 5,000 inhabitants. His office has two windows: through one, he can keep an eye on what is happening in the workshop at all times. Through the other, he looks directly out at the municipality where he himself was born and grew up. Druetta has solid roots in the region, and it means a lot to him. He likes to invite anyone who visits him on site to accompany him during lunch for a portion of Ravioli del Plin, a typical local pasta dish. It is also important to him that Bus Company is closely embedded in the local community – with the company acting as a sponsor of a local volleyball team, for example. It not only provides the talented women’s team from the neighboring town of Pinerolo with a team bus, but last year it also secured the naming rights for its small stadium. Since then, the team has played its home games at the “Pala Bus Company.”
This partnership with the volleyball team is close to his heart, Druetta says, since it underscores the fact that his company is a reliable partner for the region. He also relies on strong partnerships when it comes to digitalization and innovation: He regularly discusses ideas with Nicola Rossi, his contact at Continental. “We’re always looking for ways to offer our passengers an even more comfortable, safe and reliable service. That’s why ContiConnect quickly attracted our interest,” Druetta explains.
To equip Bus Company’s entire fleet, Druetta and his team purchased a total of 2,700 sensors. Employees install these in existing tires at the company’s own workshop – with a little practise, a tire can be retrofitted in just a few minutes. The effort is well worth it: Druetta’s employees previously would have needed more than 80 hours in total to check through all the tires in the fleet. This work is now no longer necessary: whenever a vehicle drives to one of the seven depots to refuel, a yard reader station installed in the yard automatically reads out the tire data. If there is a problem, the system sends an alert to headquarters – and Druetta’s office team is immediately able to dispatch a technician who will take care of it.
For Druetta, Bus Company is not just any employer, since he himself helped build up the company. His working day only ends once all of the day’s problems have been resolved. Druetta spends most of his time doing things he would not previously have been able to plan for, including day-to-day technical problems in the depots or with the buses on the road. He is often also faced with truly exceptional situations, however, such as when a train derails somewhere in the region and Bus Company needs to be ready at a moment’s notice to provide 20 buses and bus drivers for the replacement bus services. In such emergencies, Druetta’s exceptional qualities as a crisis manager are required.
Since the new solution was introduced, however, he and his employees have not had to spend as much time on tire management. Thanks to ContiConnect, he is now able to focus on the things that really matter to him: growing the company and providing safe and reliable public transport for the entire region. And who knows, maybe every now and then he will even be able to get off work a little earlier.