Commonwealth Worldwide owner Dawson Rutter was named 2014 Limousine and Sedan Operator of the Year by the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association (TLPA).
Find out how his company uses “The Commonwealth Way” and technology to stay ahead of the game. In 1982, Dawson Rutter, Commonwealth’s founder, had already been in the taxi industry for over 10 years. During that time, he worked his way up from taxi driver, to dispatcher, and eventually to operations manager. The experience provided Rutter the knowledge needed to run a successful taxi business of his own. However, sensing an unmet need, Rutter decided to go a different route and went into the chauffeured transportation service instead. Using his savings, Rutter purchased his first limousine, and Commonwealth Worldwide was born.
Today, with over 400 employees, Commonwealth has grown to become one of the largest and most respected transportation companies in the country. The company serves clients world-wide using a vast network of carefully-selected global affiliates in 79 countries.
During its three decades of operation, the company has received many accolades and awards, including:
- TLPA 2014 Operator of the Year award for Limousine and Sedan
- New York City’s “Concierge Choice” award for Best Limo Service
- Five-time winner of “Best of Boston” award for Best Car Service
- Two-time winner of Hartford Insurance Award of Merit for safety.
“The Commonwealth Way”
Commonwealth’s success can be attributed to its core beliefs and values, which form the basis for the company’s motto: “The Commonwealth Way.” The Commonwealth Way focuses on delighting clients, maintaining employee morale, and optimizing operations while minimizing cost. The primary way the company achieves this is by hiring and training full-time employees instead of using independent contractors. By fostering a close team-based culture and positive workplace, employees are motivated to provide superior client service which, in turn, produces client trust and repeat business.
The Technology Edge
Commonwealth also relies heavily on cutting-edge technology to cut costs and stay ahead of their competition. They maintain a full-time IT staff to keep on top of the latest apps and technologies and to develop their own in-house apps. The company has been an early adopter of technologies such as outward-facing vehicle cameras, push-to-talk communications, and GPS tracking and monitoring software. The entire client experience, from start to end, is managed and enhanced with the use of these technologies. Here is a rundown of some of the apps and technology Commonwealth uses in their daily operations:
Reservations: Commonwealth uses a highly integrated booking system. The company is part of the Sabre, Galileo, and Worldspan ground transportation network (GDS). With GDS, travel agents and clients can easily book directly with the company. The reservation system is integrated with Global Ground Automation (GGA), a major GDS provider which enables bookings from most major corporate booking tools. Clients can also make reservations from:
- Their US-based call center, which is manned by live travel coordinators, 24/7
- The company’s website reservation portal
- The company’s free mobile app “CWW Mobile.”
Communications: Commonwealth uses cutting-edge voice technologies to enable fast and accurate communications between dispatchers and chauffeurs. Zello@Work, a push-to-talk (PTT) walkie-talkie app, provides a live voice communications system without the range limitations of 2-way radios. Zello allows dispatchers to instantly transmit work orders and route information to chauffeurs, and allows chauffeurs to stay connected with the main office. The app runs on Wi-Fi or data and on any carrier. Most platforms and devices are supported, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and even 2-way radios.
Skype, another popular voice app, is used to communicate with dispatchers or other chauffeurs while on the road. Chauffeur devices are always docked to ensure hands-free operation, as required by law. The company also uses its own proprietary app to distribute work orders to the chauffeur and greeter staff, and it allows them to report status and GPS locations electronically.
Vehicle Safety and Fuel Efficiency: To ensure clients and chauffeurs are safe at all times the company uses several monitoring apps. Live dispatchers monitor chauffeurs by using Google Maps to track vehicle locations, speeds, and even idle times. Shortest routes are identified to save fuel and reduce emissions. GPS tracking units combined with outward facing DriveCams™ can help report and correct chauffeur driving behavior. As a result of these systems, the company has greatly increased client safety, while reducing fuel costs, carbon emissions, vehicle damage, and workers’ compensation and injury costs.
Client Satisfaction: “The Commonwealth Way” is defined as providing courteous, professional, and reliable service that delights clients and builds trust. To achieve these goals, clients are never left waiting or unsure of what to expect. Chauffeurs are equipped with FlightView™ tracking software to make sure they arrive at least 15-20 minutes before a flight lands. Chauffeurs and greeters are provided proprietary apps to message clients about vehicle status and display clear greeter signs on their tablets. Clients can also use the company’s free CWW Mobile app to manage reservations, track vehicles, review itineraries, and even contact their chauffeur.
Device Management: Since the company provides devices to all its employees, it strives to keep the devices up-to-date, providing employees with the most functionality and ease-of-use. Currently, Android Samsung tablets are used company wide, while chauffeurs also have Android smart phones for Zello use. To make sure device adoption by employees is pain-free and effortless, all company-approved apps are pre-loaded onto the tablets. Citrix XenMobile device management software (MDM) is used to lock down the tablets so only company-approved apps can be used. This ensures devices are not misused during working hours and improves employee productivity.
In the past, the company’s employees used a combination of 2-way radios, cell phones, and PCs to do their work. By consolidating apps onto one tablet, employees can easily perform multiple tasks from one device while saving the company money on hardware acquisition and upkeep costs.
“The Commonwealth Way” is clearly a successful model for the chauffeured transportation industry, but it can also work well in many other industries and services. An integral part of Commonwealth’s success is their extensive use of innovative technology. Companies who want to stay competitive need to keep abreast of the latest mobile and fleet solutions available. We hope this article has helped to help identify some of the most promising ones and how they can be used to modernize and optimize your service. //LD
Nancy Pickering is a Community Manager and Social Media Coordinator at Zello Inc., a software company based in Austin, Texas. Zello and Zello@Work walkie-talkie push-to-talk (PTT)
apps provide live voice communications for over 70+ million
users world-wide. For more information, see www.zello.com.