Business insights

Strategies for added value for customers with efficiency and reliability

Strategies for added value for customers with efficiency and reliability

Jochen Decker, CIO at Swiss Federal Railways, explains how mobility has evolved in recent years, contributing to creating a different kind of transportation experience embracing new types of travelers; digitalisation is playing a major role in offering innovative and smart travelling opportunities, leveraging new technologies also derived  from hackathons, open innovation or open data approaches. 

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Agile methodology is one of the key factors to develop new app for passengers that is flexible and close to customer’s needs, revolutionizing the future of transport.

How has the mobility sector developed over the last few years and how do you think it is set to develop in the future? SBB is one of the leading European railway operators: which strategies has SBB harnessed to create added value for customers, increasing efficiency and reliability?

SBB brings millions of people together with other people and with goods. We are connecting people and places in Switzerland and beyond - day after day, night after night.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to drastic changes in customer demand: before the pandemic, commuters were our most important customers. While this segment is still very important to us, leisure traffic has become much strongerJochen Decker, CIO at Swiss Federal Railways and international traffic is experiencing an upswing. Mobility will fluctuate even more in the near future and will become less predictable and thus more volatile. That is why customers demand user friendly and sustainable travel options.

Railway is a key player in sustainable mobility, and we will adjust our offer accordingly.
Reliable capacity management and improved planning capacities are the foundation of our operating model: we constantly improve our Traffic Management System (TMS), which schedules traffic in real time and increases overall network utilization.

On the other hand, a constantly denser timetable, thousands of construction sites and extra trains every year have made rail operations increasingly complex.
With Integrated Production Planning (IPP), we will address these additional challenges.
We will simplify and integrate the planning of our staff time and rolling stock to increase the flexibility of the rail system, stabilize production and, at the same time, ensure better shift planning for our workforce.

Furthermore, rail travel should become much easier for our customers: together with the public transport industry, we are simplifying fare rules and optimize our product range, sales and digital touchpoints. This will allow us to respond even better to the mobility needs of society and to lower the barriers to public transport.

SBB was one of the first operators to introduce a versatile app for passengers that is really successful and appreciated by many travellers: which are the winning features of this app?

With 3.5 million users per month, SBB Mobile is one of the most widely used apps in Switzerland and is now our strongest sales channel: around 350,000 tickets are sold via SBB Mobile every day. Currently, over 70% of our tickets are sold digitally.

SBB Mobile with its basic functions is designed for the needs of the majority of out customers. In addition, we offer other apps for specific target groups, SBB Inclusive, for example, is aimed at people with visual impairments.

App development with SBB is agile with fast and iterative cycles that keep us close to the customer’s needs. That's why we have the SBB Preview App to test innovations in mass business.
250.000 preview customers are supporting us every day. Many of the features tested are now included in the regular SBB Mobile app. One of them is EasyRide. It offers a check in/check out-ticketing-system and has become very popular: 1.5 million EasyRide tickets are sold monthly.

It is also important for us to be open to suggestions from outside, be it via customer feedback, hackathons, open innovation or open data approaches. For example, the tile design of the "SBB Mobile" app was invented by a third-party company. As this solution received a very good response from customers, we integrated it into our app.

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Francesco Moretti - Fincons Group Francesco Moretti

Fincons Group

Group Deputy CEO and CEO International