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Rail Specific Revenue Management Functionalities
With everything that’s been going on throughout the world with COVID-19, it is a welcomed time to look back and acknowledge the achievements, advancements on goals and objectives that each of us set for the year. We have diligently been working from home to complete projects as we launch new ones. Aside from maintaining our focus on finalizing customer implementations on schedule, we are also sketching the initial roadmap details to the maintenance releases across passenger and cargo portfolios.
Since our latest Newsletter, we are thrilled to have added a new customer to our growing Cargo family. We welcome on board Ethiopian Cargo, who has chosen Velocity as their revenue management solution in addition to AcceleRate as their pricing solution. We couldn’t be more proud and excited to welcome Ethiopian to the growing RTS family.
In addition, we are pleased to announce that Precision Air Tanzania (PW) have selected RTS Velocity as their revenue management solution and went live with Velocity just recently in August 2020. We also want to welcome Precision Air Tanzania to the RTS family and are delighted to welcome them on board.
We hope that everyone is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and adhering to your local guidelines as well as continuing to stay healthy and safe. Wishing you all the very best for the remaining 2020 year and we look forward to continuously working closely with all of you for the rest of the year and beyond.
We offer advanced software solutions and consulting services that drive growth and profitability by effectively planning your revenue budgets and setting your schedule. Our solutions enable you to get the maximum value out of every departure by optimally managing your flight capacities in terms of seats and cargo space considering origin-destination demand and different service products.
We provide industry leading solutions and services that help you to squeeze additional revenue and profit from your key resource – ships. Our solutions consider key aspects of cruise ferry customer behavior and ship characteristics to deliver the best results from tourists, cabins, and freight decks.
Optimally matching capacity and demand is a big challenge in the rail industry due to adjustable capacities and varying journey lengths. Our experts have developed models and algorithms to determine the optimal prices to sell seats to maximize the profit potential for the rail industry.
Carus User Conference 2020
March saw Jason Codd, SVP Passenger Solutions, heading to Helsinki, Finland for the 2020 Carus user conference. The theme of the conference was “The Elevated Passenger Experience”, with a number of interesting insights into smoothing the online interactions with passengers, and touching the overall digital experience in their journeys.
Attendance was slightly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, although not as much as it would have been later in that month, fortunately. The attendees ranged from large Cruise Ferry operators through to riverboat dinner services.
Jason presented a slot on Revenue Management, introducing the concepts and capabilities to some, and elaborating on the practical applications to others. With the range of delegates at the conference it turned into an interestingly interactive session.
We announced in our previous newsletter that RTS would be attending the 18th annual on board Shippax Ferry Conference planned for April 1-3, 2020 on board the Pearl Seaways.
Regrettably, the COVID-19 crisis had different plans for the world, and as a result the conference has been rescheduled to June 16 – 18 2021.
As with many upcoming events, attendance is going to be based on what restrictions are in place on international travel, but we will keep everyone informed.
Passenger Services Survey and Online Release Review Webinar
At RTS we are always extremely interested to receive constructive feedback from our client base as this really helps us to drive our product direction and services. Typically, the most effective way we have done this is face to face when visiting your offices, or during the annual Summit. As we are unlikely to be able to do so this year we plan to send out a request for feedback this month.
We really hope you’ll take a few minutes to respond as we always listen and act on your valuable input where possible. In fact, the upcoming maintenance release contains many items which are a direct result of client request such as Demand Change Manager and Smart Min/Max amongst others.
Another item you have asked us to do more of is online content where the client community can discuss the product. Therefore, we plan to do the first interactive review of the upcoming Velocity Release 2020.0 in September and we’ll be sending out invites shortly.
We are excited to announce the 2020.0 release is in final testing and should be available for general release by the end of Q3. We will also be providing a 2020.1 release by the end of the year which will feature more client requested functionality. We think these two releases will provide the most important and powerful additions to the product in recent times, significantly enhancing user experience and flexibility, details of which can be found in the next article.
What We’ve Been Doing During COVID-19
During these times of uncertainty, our industry and communities have certainly been altered. We are all doing our best to understand the significance of the crisis amongst so much concern. We here at RTS want to reassure you that we are continuing to do our part and are constantly monitoring the situation. We are maintaining our work from home schedule as well as making sure our employees and our offices are following the local, state and national guidelines. We continue to follow the suggested social distancing protocols, sanitize thoroughly and wear face masks accordingly. We want to continue and make sure we are doing our part in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As always, our focus is to assure projects are delivered, that our customers are supported and that we maintain our efforts on maintenance releases and enhancements. Thank you to our loyal customers, we truly appreciate your valued partnership and support and want to thank you and our employees for all of the hard work, time and dedication everyone puts it. We couldn’t do it without you. We look forward to connecting with you all again in person soon. Stay safe.
Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services Partners with RTS on Cargo Revenue Management and Pricing Solutions
Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services, Africa’s largest cargo operator and multi-award winner, has partnered with RTS Cargo Revenue Management (Velocity) and Pricing (AcceleRate) Solutions.
Raja Kasilingam, President of RTS remarked, “We are delighted to welcome Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services to our rapidly growing cargo community. Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services is our first cargo customer in Africa and we are quite excited to partner with Africa’s largest cargo operator on multiple solutions to improve network wide profitability.”
Mukundh Parthasarathy, Senior Vice President for Revenue Technology Services chimed in, “We are super pleased that Ethiopian picked Velocity and AcceleRate to automate revenue management and pricing. At the rate at which Ethiopian Cargo is growing, the solution would be instrumental in automating the revenue and pricing management.”
Fitsum Abady, MD Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services stated, “We are very optimistic that having Revenue Management and Pricing system will help us to maximize revenue by utilizing the available capacity for high yield cargos. This revenue maximization would be achieved using an automated decision-making system that would be accurately forecasting cargo capacity by flight and a price range for evaluating pricing requests. It also helps allocate capacity to the appropriate products in such a way that maximizes profit. “
Precision Air Joins the RTS Family
RTS is pleased to announce that Precision Air Tanzania (PW) have selected RTS Velocity as their revenue management solution. With a slightly longer than planned implementation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Precision Air were able to go Live on the RTS Velocity solution in August 2020.
Product Happenings – Cargo Solutions
2020 Cargo Maintenance Release
We are working our way into our 2020 maintenance release for the cargo solutions suite with a November target date. The release includes major technology upgrades and various product specific enhancements across our solutions including Velocity (our revenue management solution), AcceleRate (our pricing solution and Foresight (our revenue planning and sales budgeting solution).
The 2020 Velocity (Airlines & Cruise Ferry) includes multiple enhancements to the capacity management, allotment management and network management modules to efficiently manage the flight capacities and demand. RTS is also evaluating speech recognition technologies to incorporate into our solutions. The forecasting algorithms will get a significant boost with newer models and the booking evaluation will also be enhanced with additional business rules. The release also includes additional performance reports, enhanced mobile solution, other minor enhancements and bug fixes.
The 2020 AcceleRate will include automation of weight distribution, redesign of the contract negotiation module and enhanced rating business rules engine. The release also includes additional reports, enhanced mobile solution, minor enhancements and bug fixes.
2020 Foresight includes enhanced router and sales targets functionality and additional reports. The release also includes other minor enhancements and bug fixes.
Our services team will be contacting the Client’s project managers to schedule the maintenance release deployment.
Product Happenings – Passenger Solutions
RTS Velocity 2020.0
The major items included in this release are as follows:
Improved Forecast Workbench
Forecasting is a critical element of the revenue management system, and a vital component of the optimization process. It is therefore extremely important that the process of configuring, creating and ongoing management of forecasts is made as user friendly as possible.
Changes have been made to the key forecast profile workflow which simplifies the process, and with additional improvements to various screens, reduces the time it takes to set up and generate the next set of forecasts.
Identification of off trend departures is simplified.
Forecast accuracy aggregations have been enhanced.
Improvements to search and filter criteria in certain functions provide a very powerful addition to flexibility within the workbench.
Enhanced dynamic rules for class constraints will increase the flexibility of these optimization settings.
The revenue and volume/unit targets data is an increasing important component in Velocity. The mechanism for loading and reviewing the data has been improved. Additionally, retrospective loading of target data will ensure full budget periods can be displayed and reported on.
We will also introduce improvements or changes to Round Trip optimization, worksheet shortcut keys, Graphical Advanced Bookings drilldown capability, a number of reporting updates, and Theoretical Capacity usage ratio worksheet direct overrides.
Help File Updates
A comprehensive review and update of the help files will be available with this release.
RTS Velocity 2020.1
Development work is currently under way on the final release of 2020 with key functionality to include the following features:
Demand Change Manager is designed to provide improve forecasting accuracy for campaign and event management.
Significant enhancements to the existing Competitor Insight tool for automation and application of a range of controls.
Stepped pricing controls for the airline product which were previously only available to the Cruise Ferry product.
Adjusting to business with an AI powered workforce
What makes a great company is open to debate. Depending on who you ask or the focus of the articles you read, you will find different answers. Most of those answers are centered around the following characteristics:
Ability to foresee trends
Knowing their customers and offering great products
And the list could go on…
Think about any company that you consider to be a great company and you’ll find some of the above attributes, if not all, in their DNA.
People are the biggest asset
I have worked for companies that display some of the characteristics mentioned before but what has resonated with me as the key differentiator between good and great is the people and the human capital that is built through knowledge and experience.
And it is because people are a company’s biggest asset that whenever there are decisions that involve change, having employees’ buy in can either make or break an initiative. It is well documented in business literature that successful change initiatives are driven by people who have embraced an idea and are committed to allow change happen. This is true for any new technology or any new ideas that are disruptive to the status quo.
The disruptive potential of AI
Whether we realize it or not, and I’m sure most of us do, artificial intelligence seems to be everywhere now. From helping you select what movies to watch, to helping you get the balance in your bank account, to potentially driving your car for you in the not so distant future, AI is here and it is here to stay. We now have the computer power that enables AI to thrive, which was not the case over 50 years ago when the term was coined for the first time. Thanks to this enablement, there is a new range of possibilities that is opening up in this front.
Thus, implementing AI has the potential to be transformative for any business as it provides the set of tools that empowers companies to gain business value, create efficiencies, optimize processes and develop products that were not possible in the past. All of these are real possibilities now, and probably most of all the great companies you thought about at the beginning of this post have adopted AI as part of their business model.
All of these potential gains, however, don’t come without challenges. One of the biggest challenges that artificial intelligence presents to companies is the fear that people have about having to compete against machines or being replaced by them all together. And, the feeling that the knowledge they have gathered through experience and time may not be enough to keep them relevant in the workplace.
These fears are expected when there is a technological change that is disruptive enough, loud enough that people have to pay attention to it. The issue here, I argue, is finding a way to make the most out of the technology while preserving and empowering the human capital that is vital for any organization.
Bridging the gap between people and AI
At RTS, we are addressing this challenge by enabling our clients and their employees to uncap the potential of AI. We believe that people and technology are complementary and for that reason there is no need to compete; moreover, there is certainly no need to fear technology either. The role of technology should be to empower people to spend more time doing what they excel at.
This belief is reflected in the products we offer. Our solutions not only have machine learning powered algorithms that help our clients achieve their objectives by giving them confidence to make decisions but we are also working toward incorporating AI to improve operational efficiency. This will allow our clients to preserve human capital while taking full advantage of the benefits of working with AI.
One example of how we are using machine learning techniques is in our Revenue Management solution, Velocity. Machine learning is a form of AI where a system learns directly from data and not from explicit programming. The predictive models in Velocity return accurate outputs that are achieved – thanks to the use of client specific data which is what shapes the models. These accurate outcomes are the result of the training process and automation that come with machine learning.
In terms of operational efficiency, our vision for our Pricing solution, AcceleRate, is to reduce manual inputs as much as possible via AI tools and workflow automation. This will not only allow users to spend more time focusing on their core activities and doing what they do best but it’s been shown that workflow automation also results in improved accuracy by reducing user error.
Regardless of where you are in the AI journey, avid adopter or still on the fence, our solutions are designed to bring our clients a step closer to achieving their corporate objectives by letting technology do the heavy work and eliminate the fear of change by freeing up people’s time, enabling them to be creative and do their best work.