With rail investment set to rise, new technologies will ensure returns

Aberdeen, UK, 27Th July 2017 – Ninety per cent of rail professionals believe that operational excellence (OE) is important to their organisation’s success and three quarters agree that technology is an enabler, according to new research by Petrotechnics, the developer of the rail industry’s first software platform for OE.

However, despite what these results suggest, less than one in eight are seeing return in investment in OE. Analysis suggests that the issue lies in an inability to visualise and harness data, with only 28 per cent using big data and analytics.

Petrotechnics surveyed rail infrastructure managers from across the world to unveil industry attitudes in the Operational Excellence in Rail Index 2017.

Nine out of ten survey respondents agree that OE can be defined as ‘the pursuit of world-class performance. It requires everyone, from the boardroom to the trackside, to consistently make the most effective operational decisions, based on an integrated view of operational reality, based on risk, cost and productivity’.

“The results clearly show that infrastructure managers can see the significant benefits of pursing OE and realise that technology is the enabler,” says Michael Brown, rail subject matter expert at Petrotechnics. “The worrying thing is that so few are using the right technology. This means that they aren’t benefiting from an integrated view and aren’t seeing the expected returns on their investments.”

What’s more, 62 per cent believe a benefit of OE is improving customer satisfaction with reliability and cost. And, more than half of those surveyed agree that OE can enable safer and more effective routine operations that ultimately keep trains running on time.

Brown continues: “Over the coming years we are going to see significant investment in our railways – a trend that is reflected globally. New OE technologies are an imperative for infrastructure managers and organisations that want a true picture of operational reality – what’s happening, where it’s happening and when it’s happening. Only then can best practice become common practice.”

Additional survey findings include:

  • Key drivers for OE include optimising work programmes, influencing cultural and behavioural change, achieving greater cost efficiencies, reducing operational and major accident risk and improving project performance.
  • Respondents state that OE can improve employee retention, possession management, working and culture practices and maintenance reliability
  • Just under half of respondents believe OE means more effective and timely project management and / or keeping more people safe on the network
  • 80 per cent are somewhere on the path to an OE framework, and 70 per cent are using enterprise asset management or asset performance management software
  • 43 per cent believe OE is the responsibility of everyone on the organisation


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