After eight years at Northern Rail, Lee Wasnidge is the new managing director at Cabfind. He shares his vision for the business’ future as the on-demand transportation market continues to accelerate
Cabfind‘s connection with the rail industry goes to the very heart of the business and its innovative approach to delivering managed taxi services. The company is now led by newly appointed managing director, Lee Wasnidge with a career background in rail, and in particular, strategic change.
Lee joined the business after being recruited by Cabfind’s parent company, global transport provider Transdev. He is a fellow of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport with an MBA from the Manchester Business School. In his previous role as Transition Director at Northern Rail, Lee led strategic change including customer experience improvements, rolling stock refurbishments and on-time performance.
Now he heads up a company that owes its UK network of 160,000 vehicles to its very beginnings when Cabfind first started to forge links with the rail sector more than 10 years ago. Cabfind provides managed taxi services for crew and passenger movements with a customer portfolio that includes train operating companies such as GWR, London Midland and Northern Rail.
Providing pre-planned, ad-hoc and emergency movements, it blends operational capacities with innovative, added value processes and business intelligence. Its commitment to delivering exceptional levels of customer service is matched by detailed knowledge of the sector and a deep understanding of critical issues such as duty of care and safety.
Last year, Cabfind was crowned Subcontractor of the Year at the 2016 UK Rail Industry Awards in recognition of its innovation and excellence.
Lee explained: ‘The transport sector is going through a period of massive change thanks to technology-driven applications which are raising expectations and offering incredible new opportunities to meet customer requirements.
‘The rail sector continues to be the backbone of Cabfind’s business and during periods of exceptional activity when multiple incidents coincide across the rail network, the whole company mobilises to support its rail team.
‘The same ethos and commitment is applied to all our customers across a diverse range of sectors from retail and freight to media and public sector organisations.’
When travel disruption hits the national news, it is a case of all hands on decks for the team at Cabfind which provides on-demand crew, staff and passenger movements 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
When storm Doris moved across the UK in February bringing strong winds of up to 94 mph transport was widely disrupted with delays and cancellation to train services and flights throughout the day.
As a key travel partner to the rail industry, Cabfind played a huge role in managing the disruption. During storm Doris the company experienced a 250 per cent uplift in calls to their contact centre.
Lee added: ‘Our success in delivering excellent service in such challenging conditions was down to hard work and a strong relationship with the supplier network.
‘Our customers provided positive feedback to its pro-active response and in the post incident review the company was able to identify processes that responded effectively to the emergency situation and areas that required additional support.’
This highlights the importance of agility. Dealing with customers’ planned journeys on a day-to day-basis is standard practice, but when crisis events occur, it is vital to be able to scale up quickly and absorb the additional requirements.
Equally important is application of duty of care considerations to ensure the safety of staff and passengers at all times.
Lee explained: ‘We work closely with our supply chain to build strong relations based on trust and a mutual understanding of the importance of safety, adhering to all essential policies and protocols.’
Interpreting crew diagrams
Central to Cabfind’s service proposition is the company’s capabilities to interpret crew diagrams, delivering operational efficiencies and giving customers the flexibility to adapt and change journeys where necessary.
Lee added: ‘Our IT platform integrates with customers’ systems to interpret crew diagrams, extracting the relevant information which allows the dedicated rail team to coordinate taxi requirements independently without the need for any direct interaction with the client.’
After this, a pre-journey analysis is provided and the customer is empowered with online management tools to amend or modify the booking as they wish in line with changing needs or requirements.
Without this capability, resource managers would have to extract the data manually to identify taxi requirements and then make the relevant taxi bookings, which if they are using multiple service providers, can prove to be a lengthy and painstaking task.
Lee concluded: ‘Not only does Cabfind have the technology to streamline the process to identify taxi journey requirements and provide fulfillment but it can also identify a range of time and cost-saving measures.’
Analysis of costs and performance
Cabfind’s online management tools are designed to provide the customer with real insight into performance, costs and business intelligence. Matched by its in-depth expertise and experience, it relieves customers of the pressure to provide their own in-house capabilities, freeing up valuable time and resources.
Cabfind’s newly appointed commercial director, Daniel Price explained, ‘Our online management tools set Cabfind apart from the competition. It means that we can work alongside customers’ resource managers and really drill down into the detail to identify ways of working smarter.’
For example, it is possible to model against the ratios between high and low touch bookings to help optimise the impact on customers’ busy control room environments.
Cabfind identify ways to make savings on regular routes to get value for money from the supply chain and then monitor incident performance. Alongside the benefits of using a single source provider which consolidates invoicing, cost centres and cost codes, Cabfind’s appetitie to perform and innovate continues.
With the arrival of Lee Wasnidge at the helm of Cabfind alongside a new management team including commercial director Daniel Price, the business is drawing on expertise from across the ground transportation sector.
Daniel has a proven track record within the mobility sector after holding senior roles at Avis Budget Group and Sixt rent a car. He brings specialist expertise from the car rental industry and is focused on getting people and products to the right place at the right time.
Daniel said, ‘Understanding the needs of our customers and the pressures that they are facing is essential especially when it comes to issues surrounding duty of care. The travel and transportation sector is witnessing a period of major change thanks to a combination of factors, not least the rise of on-demand technology.
‘The management team at Cabfind draw on a wealth of experience from different areas with real insight into changing expectations, thought processes and ideas. What never changes however, is the need for strong, customer focused partnerships that offer exceptional service, duty of care and value for money.’