(From left to right: Mr Sebastian Yap, Executive Director at Transtar Travel, Member Parliament Mrs Josephine Teo, Mr Elson Yap, Managing Director at Transtar Travel) 

Transtar Travel, a land travel and tour company, has been plying routes from Singapore to major cities in Malaysia since 1994. As an affordable means of travel, coach travel is undoubtedly a popular option amongst budget travelers, students, or travelers seeking comfort and convenience. 

With competition from low-cost budget carriers and railway travel, Transtar saw the need to enhance its customer journey to remain market competitive. With this vision in mind, Transtar embarked on a digitalisation project to keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape. 

In May 2017, Mr Elson Yap, Managing Director at Transtar Travel Pte Ltd, approached the SME Centre @SMCCI to seek the assistance of a Business Advisor. Mr Yap was referred to one of our Business Advisor, Mr Vinod Chauhan, where he was introduced to various government assistance schemes to support Transtar’s digitalisation efforts. 

A Digital Technology Roadmap

In partnership with Mr Baharudin Nordin, Principal Consultant at SME Digital Tech Hub, a business needs analysis was done to eliminate gaps and identify opportunities for growth within the company. Mr Baharudin proposed a technology roadmap to integrate enhanced and new solutions to its existing systems. 

As part of a digital transformation strategy, Mr Baharudin and Mr Vinod proposed the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to manage the business functions on a centralized platform. 

The ERP is a comprehensive suite of business applications that include Sales Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resource (HR) and Fleet Management among others. It provides companies with access to real-time information and metrics to effectively manage key business decisions. 

As part of the SME Go Digital programme, Mr Baharudin and Mr Vinod went through the ready-to-go solutions that may be suitable for Transtar to adopt for their business operations such as CRM, Accounting and HR systems. 

However, the client did not find that the ready-to-go solutions were able to meet their requirements. 

Mr Baharudin provided client with the various options to proceed:
– Customized solutions by the pre-approved vendors
– Microsoft partners (ICM vendors)
– SME preferred ICM vendors from other sources eg. SME Centre 

Mr Baharudin advised on the evaluation and selection process of the solutions, which should also include digital capabilities such as Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, IoTs and Artificial Intelligence. In addition, he arranged for pre-approved vendors and Microsoft partners who have experience working on digital solutions in the travel industry. 

Upon evaluating a few ICM vendors, Mr Yap engaged Bona Technologies Holdings Pte Ltd, an IT solutions company, where the various stakeholders collectively sat down and discussed the enhancement features of this ERP system. Mr Aloysius Koh, Chief Technology Officer at Bona Technologies, recommended a highly customised ERP system that was able to incorporate its existing systems and operate cross-function. 

Capabilitiy Development Grant (CDG)* 

To support this digital transformation strategy, Mr Vinod suggested that Mr Yap tapped on the Capability Development Grant (CDG). This grant is a government assistance scheme under Enterprise Singapore, where eligible companies may receive up to 70% funding of qualifying project costs in development areas such as Productivity, Business Excellence, Product Development and Business Model Transformation. 

Since the commencement of the project in May 2018, Mr Yap has seen significant growth in productivity and has been able to save on manhour cost of up to 15%. 

“The ERP solution allows us to integrate some of our existing systems such as our fleet management system and tailor it to suit our needs. The ERP system is being onboarded in phases, and currently we are already seeing significant improvements in productivity. By streamlining processes, the team can now focus on value-added tasks such as sales and customer service. With access to real-time data such as popular routes and traffic congestion, we are able to make more informed decisions and anticipate obstacles well ahead of time,” shared Mr Yap. 

The ERP solution is expected to be fully implemented by February 2019. 

*The CDG grant has been replaced by the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) as of 25th October 2018. To find out more about this grant, book an appointment with one of our Business Advisors today.