Stuart Overell is the Chief Operating Officer for 13 Cabs, which services Melbourne and surrounding suburbs. Stuart’s over decade long experience in IT Management and career as an Army Reserve Officer have helped to cultivate both his technical prowess and his leadership skills.
From 2000 to 2007, he was IT Manager at national and multinational companies where he managed considerable IT & T resources and used mobile technology to interconnect large sales teams. His considerable experience reinvigorating outmoded IT departments ensuring that IT had continued relevance in the boardroom.
As Chief Operating Officer at 13CABS, Stuart leads an innovative team. In 2010 they developed an award winning iPhone app that streamlined bookings and provided rich GPS-enabled functionality that integrated with their online booking service. The app has since been developed for the Android and Windows Phone 7 mobile operating systems and achieved a number one App store ranking.
We spoke with Stuart Overell to learn more about his “Case Study Presentation: Driving Changes in Service Delivery with Mobile Apps” at CeBIT’s Mobile Conference.
Stuart started by telling a story about his experience working at 13 Cabs for the past 5 years:
“I joined 13CABS as IT Manager with the directive to resurrect the technology within the company. This required specialist knowledge integrating radio, IT and telephony solutions which I had gained from my previous positions in diverse industries such as manufacturing, management consulting and Defence. The resurrection of the technology lead to my role of becoming Operations Manager and now Chief Operating Officer at 13CABS.”
“One of the key performance indicators used by taxi networks across Australia is their ability to reduce the cost overhead of taking the millions of booking requests we receive each year whilst providing a better customer service experience.”
“I have a keen interest in continuous improvement and have studied and implemented solutions using Lean Six Sigma.”
Lean Six Sigma is a methodology for improving businesses that has been adopted worldwide. Organisations of all sizes, from completely different industries can use this method to transform themselves and improve performance.
Potential organisational benefits of Lean Six Sigma if done correctly are more satisfied customers, reductions in waste & costs and increased sales revenue/profits.
Discussing his work experience it became clear that Stuart is a hands on IT manager who is always keen to improve business processes.
He said that his Case Study presentation at CeBIT will discuss how 13 Cabs used Mobile Apps to achieve improved customer service and simultaneously reduce the cost of doing business.
He will also discuss the techniques they used to understand customer behaviour and change the business to better service these behaviours.
In terms of current projects currently being undertaken by 13 Cabs that Stuart will discuss at CeBIT he said that:
“The growth in our mobile app booking channels has pushed the ability of our existing systems to handle the requests to the limit. Consequently we are undertaking a full backend upgrade of our systems to more tightly integrate the Mobile Apps with our core dispatch systems and other booking products we have in the market.”
“I will discuss the importance of being able to ‘feed’ your mobile apps the desired data in a timely manner to ensure customer satisfaction. We are also looking at opportunities to integrate social media into our Apps and will discuss the challenges we have faced in this area so far.”
Trending Topics in Taxi Industry
Stuart explained that mobile technology is having a big impact on the taxi industry.
Initially this was in the form of applications that can be used to book taxi’s, find cab ranks, check on the last known location of your cab. There’s even a feature in the 13 Cabs app where if the user shake their phone it plays a loud Taxi Whistle.
However he said that more advanced trends include:
“The current growth of Mobile App taxi ‘dating services’ which connect passengers directly to drivers. These applications still have a lot of passenger safety issues that need to be addressed and have been banned in some states due to regulatory issues.”
“Within the next few years I anticipate a higher emphasis on using apps for security and tracking purposes within the taxi industry. This will most likely be an evolution of our TaxiTracker service currently available on all our Mobile Apps.”
In the USA web and app services like Sidecar offer peer to peer community taxi-like services, it will be interesting to see how they evolve and if similar collaborative consumption unregulated services try to take off in Australia.