Interstate Transportation in High DemandMon, 09/01/2014 - 11:26
Bus passenger transportation in Mexico has thrived due to the absence of a comprehensive railway system and the cost of air transport. For this reason, bus companies like Grupo ADO have expanded the range of services they offer to customers, as explained by Juan Carlos Uriarte, Director General of Grupo ADO. “The company started out in interstate transport, but it has ventured into other businesses by following the needs of its passengers. Most of these services began in a rudimentary form,” says Uriarte. An example of this is the company’s shipment service, which began when some people entrusted parcels to the company’s drivers, who delivered them to the destinations where they were headed. Its entrance into tourism transportation and the creation of Autotur, Grupo ADO’s brand for that segment, began similarly. Customers flocked to terminals to to board buses heading toward tourist hotspots, and Grupo ADO identified a great opportunity. “We realized that there were mature markets showing little growth, and we had to look for other alternatives for expansion,” comments Uriarte. After the 1980s, the group began to carry out its expansion in an institutionalized and planned manner. It became active not only in tourism and parcel transport, but also in urban transport services by creating brands like Turibus and Metrobus, both of which serve Mexico City.
With a national market share of between 20-30%, Grupo ADO primarily serves the southeast region, the Gulf of Mexico region, and a small strip in northern Tamaulipas. For destinations in these regions the company offers interstate transport services in all its different segments, such as courier services, travel services, and urban transport. With its vast knowledge of the market, it is understandable that Grupo ADO has been pushing the development of the automotive industry in Mexico. Grupo ADO has maintained constant communication with OEMs established here, such as Mercedes-Benz, Scania, and Volvo, to such a degree that these turn to Grupo ADO for assistance in improving their products. “When companies launch a new model in the segments we cater to, the best place to test it out is with ADO,” proudly expresses Gerardo Ramírez, Maintenance Director of Grupo ADO. “We provide the opportunity to bring equipment from abroad and configure it to suit the characteristics of a company’s operations in Mexico. Grupo ADO staff members often make contributions by suggesting improvements to products from OEMs and auto parts companies.” Grupo ADO’s involvement in these processes responds to the need among OEMs to quickly become familiar with the unique features of the Mexican market, roads, and people. Grupo ADO offers training, technology, and strategic partnerships that, according to Ramírez, have driven developments in terms of body weight, powertrain, and compliance with environmental standards for buses. “The OEMs bring technology and global compliance and Grupo ADO provides bus configurations with the best features for Mexico’s highways and byways, meeting the needs and demands of Mexican passengers,” says Ramírez. Once the configuration phase is completed, Grupo ADO uses buses for pilot programs and tests. For instance, new models are tested in different markets and driven along different routes and under different climate conditions. This leads to a monthly analysis to verify performance, fuel economy, tire wear, and other factors and faults that may arise. Only once all pertinent improvements are made, can a unit become a fulltime part of Grupo ADO’s fleet. When purchasing a unit, Grupo ADO focuses on market requirements, environmental compliance, performance, fuel efficiency, and components as well as brand perception among passengers. However, buses of major OEMs may only have small differences in such aspects, meaning that aftersales service and infrastructure take pride of place in defining a sale. “The differentiator now lies in the support companies provide and the flexibility in their portfolio,” says Uriarte.
To guarantee the comfort and safety of its passengers, Grupo ADO performs preventive, corrective, and predictive maintenance activities. Preventative maintenance refers to following the manufacturer’s indications in terms of maintenance and the replacement of components. Corrective maintenance relates to the solving of daily wear and tear, and predictive maintenance consists of maintenance activities based on statistics and component durability. Knowing the mileage obtained by each component enables Grupo Ado to change these ahead of time and prevent their failure. “Every time a bus enters the terminal, it is scheduled for maintenance according to the mileage it has. We have indicators that tell us if we are following preventive maintenance. One of the most important indicators is the number of breakdowns happening out on the road,” explains Ramírez. When such a breakdown happens, the terminal receives a message and the workshop gets a call so that Grupo ADO’s team can begin solving the problem. Once the issue is taken care of, Grupo ADO seeks the root cause to establish corrective actions.
Grupo ADO will continue to provide the services for which it is recognized in the market, but it is now looking to venture more strongly into urban and tourist transportation. “We want to be seen as a mobility company and more than just a carrier. This means looking to meet our customers’ requirements from their front door to their final destination, whether they are travelling for business or leisure,” says Uriarte.