Sherlock customers pivot to parcel delivery to weather the storm of Covid pandemic

Sherlock customers pivot to parcel delivery to weather the storm of Covid pandemic

Haulmont’s Sherlock platform is used by taxi and private hire fleets across the globe to manage the full lifecycle of bookings from allocation and dispatch through to client invoicing, customer rewards, driver wages and business intelligence analysis.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, world wide demand for taxis has significantly reduced. UK-based fleets have reported bookings falling by up to 80% as customer demand has dried up due to lack of socialising and nightlife, no tourism and school closures, and this trend is mirrored in almost every country.

Business owners have needed to be innovative and forward-thinking in order to keep their heads above water and give their drivers the means to earn an income, albeit reduced, throughout the pandemic. Many Sherlock clients have turned to a courier model; offering delivery services to vulnerable residents in the local community who need medication, supplying supermarket essentials as delivery slots have become more difficult to secure, partnering with local restaurants to provide takeaway services and helping account clients to ensure their employees have what they need to work from home by delivering IT equipment.

Parcel delivery functionality has been part of Sherlock for some years which has meant that critical features were already available in our clients’ systems, allowing them to quickly rollout new services in response to the Covid lockdown, without incurring extra costs. By choosing a forward-thinking and innovative tech partner, Sherlock customers didn’t need to wait for their dispatch provider to devise new solutions or facilitate relationships with third-party delivery software platforms in order to pivot business models, all the technology required to turn taxis into couriers was already live.

Sherlock’s courier services are so easy to configure that clients were able to place a request with the support team and have them set up within a day. The services are designed to automatically capture relevant information regarding contact details at pick-up and drop-off locations, with the ability to include features such as capturing signatures for proof of delivery emails. All features are available across all booking channels - web and mobile included - and at no additional cost to our customers. These features have allowed nearly half of Sherlock clients to introduce this secondary revenue stream during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is easy to see why this kind of work has been very useful during rolling lockdowns and restrictions as a means to ensuring that drivers and companies continue to make money. Many clients see parcel deliveries as a segway into new revenue streams to de-risk their businesses. Some fleets are looking to introduce a hybrid model in which traditional taxi services remain the core of the business with courier considered an “add-on” to try and reduce downtime for drivers.

Regardless of what the future holds and whether courier work is a temporary stopgap for our customers or something they want to continue to build on post-Covid, having a tech partner that continuously invests in the product to keep pace with the fast-moving world of technology has undoubtedly given our clients the tools to stay one step ahead of the competition.

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