Go-Ahead Group | Huddle
Company size: 23000+
Related industries: Transportation & Logistics
Related use cases: Collaboration File Sharing

Collaboration keeps Go-Ahead moving

Go-Ahead is one of the UK’s leading providers of quality transport. It employs 23000 people and every year more than one billion individuals travel on its train and bus companies that include London Midland, Brighton and Hove Buses and the Oxford Bus Company.

Go-Ahead operates a significant proportion of UK public transport franchises up and down the UK. It is particularly active in the rail network. A key part of its rail business is bidding for franchises that are released by the Government. In order to respond to the bid that has been issued, Go-Ahead needs to bring together a mix of specialist skills, including internal Go-Ahead staff, consultants and specialists. Responding to an invitation to tender launches an intense three to four week period. During this period Go-Ahead must capture all the required work streams, draft documents, research and create a final submission for The Department for Transport. Kevin Goodman, Head of Business Excellence explains:

“In my mind we had two key challenges that we wanted to address. Firstly, in the past we have worked with a lot of consultants, but as soon as the bid process was over we would lose that experience and thinking as individuals moved on to other projects. I was really keen that, rather than let that knowledge walk away, we should retain it and the ideas developed as they may well be appropriate for future bids,” he said.

“Secondly, we needed to get a grip on version control. With so many people working on one document, it could get very confusing, very quickly. It was difficult to establish which was the right version, where the document was in the editing process and who had responsibility for it. When you’re working with teams of up to 40 people, all potentially based in different locations, this really slows the process down,” Goodman continued.

"Huddle has just been a revelation."  

Previously, Go-Ahead managed the bidding process via a shared drive, but found it to be unwieldy and cumbersome. Alongside streamlining this process, Kevin also wanted to help equip employees with a wider knowledgebase of the industry. A lot of interesting reports and newsletters end up sitting on people’s desk, but making that information more widely accessible was tricky. Go-Ahead wanted to create a central reference library where staff could go for the latest news, industry updates and statistics.

Kevin approached the IT department who were already in discussions with Huddle. Once the platform was implemented, Go-Ahead set up three distinct workspaces.

The first was for knowledge management. This was the creation of a central reference library for all staff. When new documents are uploaded, staff are notified via Huddle. The email contains a link that takes them directly to that document.

The second was pre-qualification. This is a workspace dedicated to the first part of the bidding process when Go-Ahead must write a submission based on limited criteria before it is invited to respond to the bid in full. Go-Ahead wanted to keep this area discreet from the dedicated bid team to avoid confusion. Here, the company stores information that relates to the prequalification stage, such as company results, and people can be sure they are accessing the latest version.

“We’re using a mixture of discussion forums and documents to build up a constantly updated live picture of the information available to support a bid. This removes the need to start from scratch each time, which we were having to do previously,” Goodman said.

Lastly, the third workspace is dedicated to running the bidding process. Work streams are created for each author responding to a different part of the bid. Once the individual elements of the bid have been created, the final submission can then be worked on. Editors are also able to lock files down so that only the production team has access at this stage, creating more control over the current version and who owns it. The audit trail also enables users to see who made amends last.

“For us, Huddle has just been a revelation. Simply put, what was a complicated process has been made a lot more straightforward. It is very easy to use and as such I can personally see a number of different ways in which it can be applied across the different aspects of our business to the benefit of our organization, as well as the customers we serve,” Goodman concluded.


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