Professional Driver Services

Origins

The initial motivation was to deliver the National Driver Improvement Scheme (part of NDORS) to South Wales Police after the local authority that held the previous contract decided not to tender again. PDS was formed specifically to deliver this service to South Wales Police as the founders believed that the service could be run by a private company in a more efficient and cost effective manner whilst also improving on the road safety results.

Our main challenges when starting the business

The main difficulty facing PDS throughout the first three years of trading was the availability of temporary cash-flow and capital investment to pursue other road safety activities aside from those directly involved in NDORS. The bank assisted PDS with providing temporary cash flow through low interest loans, allowing it to expand, recruit and implement the proposed business plan and business objectives in new markets. The availability of quality assured driver trainers was also a major issue since without these specialist trainers, the quality of the course delivery would be impacted and the quantity of courses which could be scheduled would be finite. PDS engaged in a recruitment and training programme to help standardise the level of instruction provided by driver trainers in the industry. This initiative revolutionised the levels and standards of corporate and public sector driver training in South Wales.

Success Factor

The main factor for PDS’ rapid growth was the identification of an untapped market, in terms of supplying an efficient and cost effective administration tool to deal with high volumes of referrals. This became an obvious deficiency in the sector when a new NDORS initiative, the Speed Awareness Scheme, was introduced following on from the success of the National Driver Improvement Scheme in producing tangible and measureable road safety results. With the introduction of the Speed Awareness Scheme, the volume of referrals to an average Service Provider increased from approximately 1500 per annum to over 20,000 per annum. Since the existing methods of controlling the administration of these schemes was mostly done by manual methods, it became immediately obvious that a gap in market existed to provide a software solution. PDS then commissioned the development of Atlas and has since grown to be the largest administration system in the market with over 20 regions in the UK now using the application. PDS now provides licencing, support, maintenance and procedural advice to many local authorities and police forces and customers rely on the company to ensure compliancy with legal frameworks and contractual obligations. This development has allowed PDS to have a healthy cash flow and invest capital into new business areas. Without the development of Atlas, PDS would not have seen such rapid growth and would not be the largest driver training organisation in Wales.

The Future

PDS believe that an expansion of private sector activities should be the main focus of the short term business objectives. The main objective will be to raise the standards of driver training and the delivery of services to businesses in the UK. It is the aim of PDS to provide the highest quality driving instructor training thus contributing to a greater number of high quality advance driving instructors. The aim is to place an emphasis on quality rather than quantity which, in turn, helps to raise the standard of driving instructors who have opted for PDS’ training as opposed to one of the established providers. PDS also aims to expand on its activities in fleet driver training and road risk consultancy. With the introduction of new legislation requiring companies to risk assess activities its employees conduct on behalf of the business and a new emphasis on corporate responsibility and accountability, there exists a market to provide cost effective solutions for road risk management that will return tangible and measureable returns to the business if implemented.