Market Management & Control in Transport services

What’s the challenge?

Many councils commissioning transport services rely on a small number of providers. Some believe that using a limited number is more efficient and manageable. Often this mindset comes from those councils with limited resources, who are seeing demand rise and the pressure to evidence value increase.

The reality is that this approach reduces effectiveness and sustainability for everyone.

Experience tells us that the main issue with this mindset, is the risk to delivering a service when unforeseen circumstances mean a provider can no longer deliver a requirement. Sadly, this is becoming more frequent as councils continue to work with limited providers whilst relying on ad-hoc routes when things go wrong.

One London authority found themselves in this scenario when one of the largest passenger transport providers in the city ceased trading. The authority used this particular provider to deliver all their passenger transport needs and as a result, it caused disruption to the people that relied on their services the most.

It is in these moments that Councils find themselves at the mercy of providers (and their capacity), leading to further risks such as safeguarding, compliance and increasing costs.

What is the root cause and what can you do about it?

The cause as we see it, is a significant lack of visibility, engagement and control over all the available providers in the market. Of course, operating as you do currently is entirely logical, because you’re working within your means. But time and again this points to reduced competition, high prices and many niche providers excluded as a result.

Not to mention the knock-on effect this has on the person needing the service, who is almost overlooked throughout while you’re fighting what seems like endless fires.

This means collaboration between Council and the market is vital.

It’s also entirely normal to believe you’ve exhausted all options. You’ve tried everything and it simply leads you back to how you’ve always worked. And you’re not alone. Others up and down the country are facing the same problem.

However, results show that there is an established alternative, which is sustainable and which is proven to be effective.

Digital Commissioning and proactive Supplier Engagement is providing the desired management and control councils such as Essex, Haringey, Waltham Forest, Merton, Cornwall and many more need to ensure a safe, quality and consistent service for their people.

The results:

Waltham Forest increased their provider base by over 200% by coming away from a fixed framework and was better equipped at managing and engaging with them through Digital Commissioning technology.

Cornwall Council have increased their supply base by 70% and now receive an average of 4 offers in response to every new route.

Haringey have increased their SEN transport providers by 120% and saved more than £345,000 on like-for-like routes over the last two years.

This approach encourages engaged providers who operate on a level playing field. Increasing involvement and competitiveness to drive up quality, meaning the best providers receive routes that are matched seamlessly to the needs of the service user.

Managing your market is just one aspect of total transport commissioning. To meet the demands of today’s market you may also want to find out more about improving the commissioning process and identifying the inefficiencies impacting service deliver and vital savings.