So, how will the industry weather this storm?
First, the obvious starting point is to ensure that every opportunity to deliver work is maximised, every pound spent delivers more than before, and every minute spent on track wins two back. Easy to say – but more complex to turn into tangible actions.
Also, what if your interest lies in delivery? From the contractor’s perspective, it is necessary to maintain a competitive edge in this ever-changing and challenging environment. However, what are the key characteristics to drive future growth? Without a doubt, open collaboration across the industry will be critical to ensure favourable outcomes for both the rail operators or contractors and the client, but the pressure to ensure every task delivers more for less is not going away. Instead, a new perspective is required on maintaining a competitive edge by delivering what the client needs both now and, in the future, finding efficiencies that maintain margins, retaining flexibility and being agile in an environment of output-based specifications and financial restraint.
There’s also no doubt that track access is at an absolute premium for all parties. Competing departmental work banks, project work, emergency interventions, innovation activity and service changes all eat up the slots available to deliver work on the railway. Also, the difficulty in planning and executing overlapping work, particularly ensuring safe and effective outcomes when one task may confound another, is challenging. So how do you ensure you get sixty seconds’ worth of distance run into each minute of access?
The win for all parties lies in collaborating to successfully bring technology onto the network to bridge the compliance gap between delivering manual inspections, maintenance and testing – as standards challenges and changes progress. This is where innovative partnerships between the maintenance engineer, delivery teams and contractors can pay dividends, ensuring that all parties have an eye on developing the right mindset to identify, take and exploit opportunities that maximise the amount delivered per available slot – safely and efficiently.