09 June 2015
Over the last seven to eight years increasing investment in technology has transformed private hire operations.
However there is one area where the usage of out-dated technology by the vast majority of firms is still limiting not only the service they provide but also their growth and profitability – scheduling.
Old technology is based on a simple linear business model that “all customers are the same” so that planning focuses on the availability of empty vehicles only, on a job by job basis, to “queue” vehicles – and doesn’t include jobs booked for later.
Echo, the dynamic real-time scheduling and dispatch operations platform for private car hire and minicab firms designed and delivered by Magenta Technology, the creators of Addison Lee’s Shamrock platform, provides a unique solution, one that GreenTomatoCars attribute to helping them achieve a 40% growth in a year.
The significant advantages that Echo can deliver are clear from the start. All drivers and all vehicles (of whatever type) are included in the daily planning so that dispatchers can manage activity based upon the status of each driver and the operation as a whole, in real time, not just by job. All contributing criteria needed to find the “best” driver for each job is assessed by the platform every five seconds and every option dynamically compared and recalibrated as necessary to maintain the best plan to for the whole fleet.
Such criteria includes: mileage (to minimise dead mileage); any potential for delay (all drivers should be on time); and consideration of different grades of customer, driver and vehicle. As drivers are typically self-employed, all jobs must be distributed fairly and equally to reduce driver idle time (and dissatisfaction) and so with Echo an upgraded service can be provided, (like perhaps a six seat vehicle), if it is the best decision for the firm and driver in order to be on time and meet the customer’s expectations. The platform can also plan a job for the driver “on the way home” and as the first job of the day, so no wasted time or miles.
With Echo, the scheduling engine with its continual assessing of every job, the final decision is left until the very last minute to ensure the best driver for each job is allocated, improving response times, reducing dead mileage, pick-up times and customer complaints, significantly increasing driver’s earnings and, when necessary, flagging exceptions for human intervention. However, the fact is that 98% of Echo’s scheduling is done automatically, so that any business with this sophisticated technology can upscale easily, without any additional back office investment or recruitment.
Echo’s unique scheduling technology is called auto-allocation. It has driven success for Addison Lee, GreenTomatoCars, Longleys, and Transdev – shouldn’t it be driving your success too?
Slava Andreev, CTO