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Case Study: We Doubled The Deployed Vehicles in Kuopio, Finland By Solving And Fixing Offline Issues
Case Study: We Doubled The Deployed Vehicles in Kuopio, Finland By Solving And Fixing Offline Issues

At the heart of every successful micromobility business lies the crucial task of maintaining the fleet in optimal condition. Even with robust fleet managers and reliable fleets, there are potential obstacles that could disrupt the services – offline issues being a prevalent problem. This case study explores how we, Dubs, managed to significantly increase the number of deployed vehicles for a fleet of Bird electric scooters in Kuopio, Finland, by tackling offline issues with a methodological approach.

In the summer of 2023, we took on the consultancy gig of getting a fleet of 220 Birds ready for the streets of Kuopio, Finland. While these scooters might have appeared to be in optimal operational condition to the naked eye, nearly 60% of the fleet was deemed offline due to various issues including “assumed offlines”, “conventional offlines”, “bricked batteries”, “dead batteries”, and other mechanical repairs – categories we invented during this mission. Our mission was to understand the root causes of these issues, develop solutions, and implement them effectively to deploy the vehicles on the streets.

With 48 hours on our hand, our methodology was defined by an initial assessment of the fleet, identifying the problems, and devising the solutions accordingly. Our solutions revolved around thorough diagnosis, careful problem-solving, and rigorous testing to ensure the Birds were street-ready. Upon completion, we delivered a 10-minute documentary, a written report, and presentations on the subject matter to Bird.

1Assumed Offlines

2Conventional Offlines

3Bricked Batteries

4Dead Brains

5Mechanical Repairs

On-site at Tero's fleet, our diagnostics allowed us to categorize the issues effectively, which was pivotal in determining the appropriate solutions.

Tackling each identified problem required a unique blend of diagnostic skill and hands-on technical acumen. The key was having a deep understanding of the Bird S’s – in other words the Okai ES400D – intricacies, which we have accumulated over a lengthy career in fleet managing.

Some scooters were thought to be offline due to a bug within the lock/unlock status. While replacing a battery, a scooter could mistakenly lock itself, even though the app displays an unlocked status, potentially confusing fleet operators. These cases required a straightforward adjustment, restoring the scooter’s functionality by refreshing the lock status. Another batch of scooters were simply hibernating, needing only a “charge and pin” to wake them up and get them running smoothly again.

Moving on to more complex issues, we identified a number of scooters with “bricked” batteries. This could be diagnosed through certain key indicators, such as a lack of pulse in the brain or the charger light remaining green, falsely indicating a full charge. We addressed this by using a method specific to Dubs and the Okai ES400D (BUK, battery-unlock-keissi) to manually open the battery hatch, replacing the bricked battery with a functioning one, thus bringing the scooter back online.

More rarely, we encountered “dead brain” scenarios, in which the brain of the scooter showed no pulse even when connected to a power source. By disconnecting the battery from the brain and then reconnecting it within a functioning circuit, we were frequently able to rejuvenate the battery and subsequently restore the scooter’s operation.

Out of the total 68 Birds with issues, we achieved an impressive 88.24% success rate. Importantly, we resolved 100% of the offline issues, our primary focus. Although we didn’t reach a full 100% success due to focusing less on simple mechanical repairs, our results highlight our effectiveness in managing and resolving complex offline problems.

An alarming discovery was the inflated number of assumed offline Birds. Upon closer inspection, these Birds were not offline but instead suffered from other problems, reflecting a knowledge gap among the fleet managers.

Another concern was the absence of sufficient technical support & materials for fleet managers. Providing comprehensive training and materials could alleviate these issues and streamline operations. Had these materials been readily available and shared transparently, our intervention might not have been necessary.

Here’s an excerpt from our comprehensive 17-page consultancy report:

…Had these materials been readily available and shared transparently, our intervention might not have been necessary.

To address these gaps, we highlighted for Bird and learnt ourselves the importance of:

Strengthening Scooter Diagnostic Skills for Fleet Managers: Enhancing their capabilities through comprehensive training and in-depth tutorials would optimize operational efficiency, as they would likely be capable of solving such problems themselves.

Proactive Monitoring: By keeping a close eye on the brain’s performance and cellular tracking, fleet managers can rapidly spot offline incidents, hopefully minimising the time these scooters will spend off the streets.

Correcting Our Approach: Prioritizing the initial diagnosis of the fleet, developing tailored solutions based on these insights, and presenting a comprehensive analysis to the client.

In conclusion, our experience in Kuopio, Finland, reemphasized the importance of a hands-on approach to scooter management and maintenance. By solving the offline issues, we not only doubled the number of deployed vehicles but also created a framework and a diagnosis system that could be used in similar scenarios, across all the Okai ES400D markets. Ensuring the optimal performance of shared scooter fleets is not only crucial for operational efficiency but also vital for delivering an unparalleled riding experience for customers.

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