Just recently, DrivenByQ had an invitation to tender for a potential new customer but unfortunately, the tender documentation was so restrictive it effectively ruled DrivenByQ out of the equation. As a modern chauffeur company operating on lean principles and having nearly two decades of experience in the private hire industry, we just couldn’t make such regressive steps to accommodate the customer’s wishes.

The whole episode reminded me of a story I heard many years ago when a Japanese supplier was pitching for manufacturing work in the UK. The customer dictated that the quality of delivered components be in a range of 97-99% acceptable. The supplier was bewildered by this request. After some time to consider, they tentatively asked the potential customer if they really wanted a 1% defect rate to be manufactured in to the process.

Tendering was a welcome opportunity: to embrace the excitement of quoting on new work. It genuinely was refreshing but the more I read, the more I was confused. The customer had not comprehended a world of change. Something as basic as ‘assisting with luggage’ had not been reconsidered. To stipulate this as a requirement in their documentation was frustrating as we could not comply. Trade bodies and government guidelines recommend passengers should handle their own luggage. This protects a driver and minimises the possibility of transmission during a pandemic.

The extensive invitation to tender document wanted a supplier to fit an exact model of what the customer thought an executive car company should be. There was no consideration for how savings are made through efficiencies and technological advancements. Instead, the customer attempted to dictate how a company should be managed and how reporting of performance was critical. I struggle to understand this, especially if everything works as planned.

Within the depths of the documentation, the company stated it had never used a dedicated chauffeur supplier. It had relied on ad-hoc taxi companies who were incapable of performing at a corporate level. The most frustrating part of reading the paperwork was knowing someone had constructed the invitation to tender. It must have taken weeks, even months to prepare. Just imagine the cost to the employer and the futile nature of such cost.

I am so relieved the corporate customers we have at DrivenByQ are sensible. Sensible enough to pick up the phone and discuss possibilities with us before wasting their time, effort and resources dictating how an executive car service should be run. Reporting only needs to be put in place if performance is lacking or undesirable. It is part of a process to improve a failing service. For a reliable supplier, it is an unnecessary resource.

One of the key selling points DrivenByQ pitches to corporate customers is, they do not have to enter a contract with DrivenByQ as an exclusive supplier. They can have multiple chauffeur suppliers at their disposal. This in itself reduces their administration costs and at the same time ensures we are never complacent. If a good quality chauffeur company is really capable of hitting a near 100% performance target, why do you need to treat them as if they cannot?