Operational and Dynamic Scheduling Platform for Addison Lee

Addison Lee is Europe’s largest minicab and chauffeur business based in London, UK. They currently operate 3,000 premium minicabs, 200 Mercedes E and S class chauffeur vehicles, couriers, vans and coaches across the capital. Addison Lee employ approximately 900 back-office employees and 4,500 professional drivers.

London’s private car hire market is a highly competitive business sector where companies are only successful by providing consistently excellent customer service levels, constantly improving operational performance and increasing the productivity of their assets and resources. Having always had a reputation for being a highly innovative player within the industry, Addison Lee relied heavily on software in streamlining the job management processes, controlling and operating their large fleet of vehicles efficiently and ensuring effective customer communications.

While the company already had a well-developed hardware and software infrastructure, in 2006 Addison Lee decided to move the business forward by replacing their existing operational platform that was struggling to to cope with growing volumes and advanced operational strategies applied within the business. They commissioned Magenta to develop ‘Shamrock’, an innovative end-to-end operational and automatic scheduling platform capable of supporting Addison Lee’s ambitious business growth. ‘Shamrock’ was then further independently developed by Magenta into ‘Echo’, the second generation of operational dynamic scheduling solutions for private car hire and courier businesses.

Customer Challenge
Addison Lee was looking to sustain annual revenue growth rates of 30% and quickly move the business forward technologically; however, the existing operational software platform was not able to support this scale of growth due to:

  • The technology used, solution design and database architecture was outdated and unable to cope with the increasing volumes of users and jobs;
  • With a large number of software packages covering various operational areas, the business software platform involved complex integrations, inevitably resulting in a fragmented software infrastructure and business data lost in integration;
  • To be able to confidently grow further, Addison Lee needed a new solution to be able to capture more business data, job management details, customer preferences and requirements, with new functional blocks to be added on top of the existing ones – something their existing vendor could not provide and their existing system could not support;
  • Growing the business to this scale meant considerably larger job volumes. In order to deal with them, Addison Lee needed to either hire a larger team that inevitably had to be trained and supported, or automate the majority of the key business processes or give their staff quicker and more efficient software tools to be able to process larger volumes.

While Addison Lee had their own large IT Team, undertaking such a major software project required a reliable and experienced software development partner:

  • capable of delivering enterprise level software;
  • with a proven track record of implementing successful dynamic real-time scheduling solutions;
  • having extensive experience in business change management;
  • able to provide development capabilities and immediate response to change requests.

Following detailed research and based on excellent references, Magenta was selected to provide Addison Lee with a new advanced end-to-end operational and scheduling platform with the primary focus being to streamline the job and customer management processes, enable the scheduling of cars and bookings in real time, optimise Addison Lee’s vehicle fleet with a view to delivering enhanced customer service levels, and also improve the utilisation of the available fleet and reduce empty mileage, resulting in significant cost benefits and a reduction in carbon emissions.

Magenta’s Solution
Implementation of the new Shamrock Solution was provided in two stages.

Stage 1 of the Shamrock project saw the replacement of the existing software package with Magenta’s new advanced software platform covering all operational areas of Addison Lee’s business – from booking, controlling, customer account management to driver and vehicle management.

The new platform was seamlessly integrated with 3rd party software systems to avoid any loss of important business data and eliminate the need for double data entry. Magenta also worked very closely with the customers team to enable quick, easy-to-use screens with highly functional workflows that are automated wherever possible – to improve speed and accuracy of booking taking, allow the capturing and sharing of important customer information, and ensuring a more personalised,, higher quality service for Addison Lee customers.

Stage 2 of the project saw the new dynamic real-time scheduling solution go live in January 2008, installed in addition to the previously implemented Shamrock customer booking and management software platform.

Integration of the new dynamic real-time scheduling solution with the booking platform provided the system with an understanding of the current vehicle locations, availability of real time navigation and communication tools, allowing the new auto-allocation software to know where and when a vehicle is due to become empty and schedule the next job for it accordingly. The system is able to react to car positions, customers’ and drivers’ preferences and other real time events. Moreover, knowing the drivers’ working hours and home addresses, Magenta’s auto-allocation software ensured the drivers never return home empty but are scheduled to pick up and drop off passengers on the way home, with minimal diversion from their route. The unique capabilities of the new scheduling solution – capable of making 200 scheduling decisions a second – ensure even higher customer service levels, maximum fleet utilisation and trip efficiency.

Customer Results
Addison Lee work hard to make sure the two most important elements of their business, customers and drivers, are satisfied and happy and now have the software in place to help them achieve this. Implementation of the Shamrock solution immediately allowed Addison Lee to:

  • Dramatically improve their fleet utilisation by:
    • Reducing dead mileage by 17.4% and minimising the overall fuel consumption by an equivalent of 3 million miles,
    • Increasing the number of jobs per driver by 2 per week (with 1,000 additional jobs across the fleet in the first week after the solution went live). This has resulted in increased driver earnings of 10%, achieved by performing more jobs within the same time and driving distance – in conjunction with additional profit per car for Addison Lee;
  • Significantly decrease the workload on the existing team of controllers and co-ordinators by allocating 97% of jobs automatically, thereby allowing them to concentrate on the most complex cases – jobs with additional requirements or incomplete booking details. Automatic allocation of jobs also ensures that there is no unnecessary bias towards certain drivers:
      • Providing equal opportunities for drivers,
    • Eliminating conflicts;
  • Considerably improving the telephonist booking process due to improved and partially automated workflow, which ensured:
    • Reducing booking time by 40%,
    • Reducing average customer response time by 7 minutes;
  • Removing the reliance on the expertise required to take bookings and allocate jobs to drivers and minimising the company’s dependence on the daily availability of highly skilled and experienced team members. Implementation of the new system enabled Addison Lee to reduce new staff training time by 75%;
  • Enrich the overall customer experience by improving their customer profiling, being able to meet their most complex requests and providing unprecedented levels of customer support.

Such developments have allowed Addison Lee remain on target in acheiving their strategic plans of growing sales by 30% per year over 3 years, thereby delivering significant bottom line improvement. Overall, the solution delivered to Addison Lee proved to be extremely flexible, allowing them to rapidly build and add new functionality and scale the solution accordingly – adapting quickly to new market and customer requirements and providing an ideal platform for their fast growing business, whilst keeping the maintenance and support requirements to a minimum.

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