Early Warning System regarding the Vehicle Availability of a Transport Operating Company

It is a transport operating company’s core task to ensure smooth-running operations in public and regional rail transport. Service cancellations often lead to penalty payments and therefore put a strain on the company result, but they also mean dissatisfied passengers and negative media coverage.

Information management and processes are crucial

In order to ensure a high service quality, various corporate divisions must be functioning and the right information must be available at the right time. Particularly the operational division and maintenance workshop must ensure optimal processes, efficient structures as well as the satisfaction of all employees involved in the procedures.

Thereby the workshop’s determining performance indicator is the vehicle provision for transport services; i.e. the right amount of vehicles at the right time. A coherent forecast of important source data represented by

  • vehicle requirements occurring within a defined period of time (consisting of regular line services, replacement services or possible extra services),
  • current vehicle fleet in the same period of time (taking new procurements and vehicle decommissioning into account) as well as
  • prognosis regarding the non-availability of possessed vehicles (based on statistics and age development)

becomes an important controlling instrument. Often transport operating companies are lacking this consistent view, or required up-to-date information are missing.

In order to enable transport operating companies to take a qualified look at the short-term and medium-term vehicle availability, BSL Transportation has developed a pragmatic and informative tool. In our customer’s case, the individual maintenance sites of this major German TOC uses the tool to optimise the provision of vehicles. Thereby the central controlling division is steering the holistic, strategic company’s vision, whereas the maintenance workshops are controlling the decentralised operational business with the help of this tool.

Utilisation in the daily operations

The long-term view for one business year is only helping in a limited way in regards to work preparation and operational work planning of maintenance workshops. Here it is necessary to provide a short-term view for the next few weeks. Apart from relevant source data, planning aspects are also taken into account. For this, the experience of the workshop manager is particularly important, as he/ she is able to estimate the availability of faulty vehicles. In addition, there are vehicle-related plans for inspections, revisions or e.g. modifications. Thus, the tool is directly integrated into the daily operations of the company’s maintenance division.

All three components (vehicle fleet, requirements and availability) must be carefully planned, and its data must be processed and maintained. Particularly, the prognosis regarding non-availabilities requires profound knowledge of the company’s fleet and according statistics.

The above introduced “Early Warning System”-tool is part of our standard catalogue and is available for our customers in public and regional rail transport. It is an Excel-based tool and therefore easily customised to our customers’ specific needs.

18. March 2019