Haulmont develops Addison Lee’s growth into the global taxi market
Addison Lee was founded in 1975 and has grown to become Europe’s largest minicab company with a fleet of over five thousand vehicles and a turnover in excess of £250m pa.
Since 2008, Haulmont Technology has provided software development services to Addison Lee, managing the on-going development of the company’s award-winning Shamrock system, which manages every aspect of the booking, dispatch, and billing for the company.
Haulmont’s experience of partnering with Addison Lee through a period of huge growth and international expansion is the foundation for the success of the award-winning Sherlock Taxi Solution. The cumulative experience of Haulmont developers working in the taxi industry over the last decade and the lessons learned from supporting a world-leading taxi business are fundamental to delivering similar success to Sherlock Taxi clients.
The regulation of the London minicab sector in the early 2000s, along with Addison Lee’s purchase of a uniform fleet of vehicles opened up a huge opportunity to serve the corporate market in London. To meet the huge demand for its services, Addison Lee chose to build a proprietary system to meet a wide range of objectives:
- Manage the increasing volume of bookings
- Improve automated, dynamic fleet scheduling, to make the most efficient use of all resources
- Increase levels of efficiency for drivers, controllers and call centre staff members
- Ensure high levels of customer service are consistent at all times
- Provide the ability to track all vehicles
- Enable customer promotions for future revenue
- Accelerate the booking and job allocation process to allow faster response and handle a greater numbers of jobs
- Reduce dependency on human input, to cut down on human error and accelerate business processes
- Support new smartphone apps, booking websites and bespoke client portals
- Design and build corporate booking platforms and client-specific allocation systems for multiple fleets in the UK and internationally
- Implement a scalable, flexible, highly available, future-proof infrastructure to integrate with other, third-party applications as required
- Produce smart data analysis and reporting
- Integrate with or create new technologies to automate driver routes, enable driver communication, record calls and manage the fleet
Addison Lee’s proprietary Shamrock system started in 2003, with Haulmont’s official involvement commencing from 2008 when two of the Shamrock Project Managers founded Haulmont. Working as one team, Haulmont developers and Addison Lee staff utilised the principles of continuous delivery to constantly iterate Shamrock, delivering new versions of the system in very short time frames, from this Shamrock was developed with nine key features.
Key features of Shamrock:
- The Auto Allocator; an automatic allocation dispatch solution, by using complex algorithms it dispatches work fairly and efficiently across the fleet
- Individual driver profiling; the Auto Allocator can then match the best drivers to highest priority clients
- Customisable booking screens; enables quick guided bookings for the controller
- Smart alert controller screens; notifies controllers on a range of issues before they affect the customer
- Newly added Android apps for drivers; a custom-designed Android app that improves communications
- Customer booking apps; user-friendly custom designed Android and iPhone booking apps for customers
- Customer booking website; a user-friendly customised web portal for accepting customer bookings
- Driver and vehicle management; a complete management suite to manage all live and historical records on drivers, vehicles, licences and insurance information
- Invoicing and wages; automatically generated customer receipts and account invoices
The challenge of handling exponentially increasing volumes of bookings from new customers was addressed by automating the real-time allocation of jobs to drivers via a custom engineered “Auto Allocator” solution. The award-winning solution profiles each individual driver so the allocation system can match the best drivers to the highest priority clients and routes are automatically planned using actual road distances instead of ‘as the crow flies’ to reduce both passenger journeys and waiting times – the Auto Allocator can even plan jobs for drivers to take them closer to home at the end of the night. By utilising complex mathematical algorithms and a real-time event based optimisation engine, the Auto Allocator was brought online with a capacity to process 10,000 jobs per hour.
To achieve increased efficiency and reduce costs, a strong focus was placed upon data and intelligence led process automation and smart alerting. It enables the system to support smart operational decisions without forfeiting all human interaction, authorisation, and controls. Issues-based smart alerts monitor every aspect of the business to ensure regulatory compliance, efficiency, and customer service levels. The system automatically notifies human controllers to intervene where necessary, meaning a small number of staff can manage thousands of customers and contractors to the highest of standards.
As well as creating a bridge between the new applications and legacy systems, Addison Lee needed to integrate a number of existing, previously siloed technologies, including; a radio broadcast GPS system, automated route planner, driver PDA communication, call recording and fleet management software.
Shamrock now manages the entire business processes from bookings through to fleet management, payments, journey management and driver wages with over 50 percent of bookings taken via the app or website portal, meaning no other resource is required before the driver.
Addison Lee currently transports over 10 million passengers each year in London alone, with over 5,000 cars in the City. Over 98 per cent of its bookings arrive on time and it has won two National Business Awards for Innovation and numerous ‘Green Fleet’ awards for reducing emissions via efficient fleet management. It has grown into the largest taxi operating business in Europe and currently manages up to 39,000 customer journeys per day. The company delivered 20 per cent year-on-year growth for five years, founded upon the success of Shamrock.
Within the first three years, peak time performance increased by 50 per cent, the average time making a booking was reduced from 150 to 90 seconds, and ‘dead mileage’ where drivers are travelling without earning was reduced by 22.5 per cent. The “Going Home” function saved the company around 3000 miles of travelling a day, while in a year the fleet itself achieved three million miles less than would be expected under the previous systems.
Addison Lee has now expanded its primary London focused network to the ‘National Network’ and Global Services which covers 350 cities worldwide. The company recently opened a Manchester office which runs on its own Sherlock Taxi installation, seamlessly integrated with Shamrock in London. As promised, the system delivered a technology foundation capable of scaling to support the rapid growth of the business whilst increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
Liam Griffin, Vice Chairman of Addison Lee, said:
“Haulmont is a trusted technology partner of Addison Lee. It has been integral to supporting Addison Lee’s sustained growth over the last seven years. As a company, Addison Lee’s reputation for innovation and service delivery is based to a large degree upon our belief in bespoke software as a means to creating competitive advantage; and Haulmont’s ability to execute that strategy”.