"The whole organization is really happy about ObservationsApp. It has made quality control much faster and more flexible and valid."
IT Senior Systems Manager
DSB is an independent, state-owned company, which has been one of the cornerstones of Danish public transport since 1885. DSB has 11,670 daily train departures, 7,400 employees, 298 stations and serves approximately 500,000 travellers per day.
Innofactor and DSB have, within in a short period of time, built a solution that digitalizes the time-consuming and paper-based process of taking random sample measurements of train arrivals and departures at stations across the country.
Trains should preferably run on time. So, when they don't, it's important to know why. DSB therefore regularly performs random checks on stations across the country and records all incidents from a train arriving – e.g. when the doors close and the whistle blows - until the train set starts rolling again.
"It is partly about learning from teams and situations where everything goes according to plan, and partly finding patterns in the circumstances that cause delays," explains Stefan Lissau Erichsen, department manager for DSB IT Sales Systems, who develops apps and online solutions for the rest of the business.
Traditionally quality control has been a time-consuming inflexible process. For example, the employee should record all observations on a paper list provided and should then input them manually.
"There were many people involved and errors occurred easily, so it took a long time to commence the analysis work. Thus, potentiating the process was an obvious step," notes Gitte Tynell, IT Senior Systems Manager, IT Sales Systems.
IT Sales Systems – together with Innofactor, which they have worked with for several years – decided to build a solution based on Microsoft's Power Platform. The solution, which was named "ObservationsApp", was built in Power Apps and works on both iOS, Android and in web browsers. Microsoft Flow is installed in the application's background, performing several tasks such as archiving data and ensuring good performance. The app exchanges tasks and data with a list in SharePoint Online and the solution works roughly as follows:
"The whole organization is really happy about ObservationsApp. It has made quality control much faster and more flexible and valid. You can create, implement and gather the results of the observations on the same day. They have even started sending student assistants out on the train platforms to register the observations, since you do not need any technical or specialist knowledge of railway operations to perform the task," says Gitte Tynell.
ObservationsApp has, however, not only facilitated a process that was previously a bit of a headache for DSB – it has also been surprisingly fast and easy to develop.
"All in all, together with Innofactor, we have spent approximately 85 working hours on ObservationsApp – documentation and help functions taken into consideration – and we are in fact already on version 2. This is because it is so much easier and faster to build solutions in PowerApps than we are used to," says Stefan Lissau Erichsen.
"In version 3, we also use the third element of Power Platform, namely Power BI, which makes it easier to analyze and visualize data. This will make it even easier to identify patterns and "outliers" in the datasets," he adds.