The Eagle has landed!

Posted: 18 November 2011 | | No comments yet

East Coast is inviting tenders to provide a new up-to-the-minute train maintenance management system, which the company expects will cut waste & boost performance…

East Coast train with logo

Train operator East Coast is inviting tenders to provide a new up-to-the-minute train maintenance management system, which the company expects will cut waste and boost performance.

East Coast is proposing a substantial financial investment in the state-of-the-art system, which it has named Project Eagle, to complement its recently-launched Project Falcon remote control monitoring system and to provide key support functions for its train maintenance.

Invitations to tender for East Coast’s new system are being issued this month with a view to evaluating them between January and April 2012, after which a preferred supplier will be confirmed.

The core of Project Eagle will be a modular Engineering Maintenance Management System. This will provide East Coast with more rigorous control to help reduce waste and improve performance – leading to more reliable train services for passengers and more efficient financial performance for the train operator.

East Coast expects the introduction of Eagle will lead to a root and branch review of business processes, helping to implement a maintenance regime which is cost-effective and efficient. The new technology should help the train operator to ensure optimum stock levels, manage warranty claims, improve vehicle performance and drive a maintenance regime based more on prevention than reaction.

East Coast Engineering Director Ian Duncan said: “Other train operators who have similar systems in place have already seen significantly improved efficiency and reliability. We believe that with the benefits of Falcon – our remote monitoring system – now in place, the time is right to take the next step to bring our engineering maintenance management up to date.

“One of the benefits which we expect a new system to deliver will be a specific module to address wheelset management. It can monitor, analyse and manage wheelset performance against expected wear rates by capturing wheel measurements from wheel lathes and depot wheel-measuring systems. By building up a profile for each wheel across the fleet, it can l provide turning and procurement plans, identify rogue wheelsets and schedule inspections. It can even monitor wheel-lathe operations.”

With the latest engineering maintenance management systems, key spares should never run short thanks to a facility to set minimum stock levels with an automatic reordering command, triggering purchase orders/requisitions. The levels can be set to take into account seasonal factors such as the need for more de-icer during winter months. Stock types can have warranty rules attached to trigger claims if necessary.

The new system will replace heritage mainframe computer systems inherited from British Rail which are proving increasingly unreliable, costly to keep running and do not provide the data or functionality expected of modern systems.

In summary, East Coast expects Project Eagle will deliver:

  • Management and control of engineering processes, down to work records and job cards;
  • Asset and maintenance management;
  • Better matching of competencies with tasks;
  • Tracking mileage, age and condition of components;
  • Automatic ordering of new parts when stock falls to a minimum level;
  • A seamless interface with existing railway and East Coast systems, such as Falcon, Bugle, Genius and Open Accounts;
  • More accurate information in useful forms to allow, for example, examination of moving average trends;
  • More efficient warranty monitoring and claims handling;
  • Automatic alerts to staff when competencies need to be renewed;
  • The ability to use mobile devices, helping remote inspections and fault-finding;
  • Provision for bar-coding inventory;
  • A major reduction in paper used.

Ian Duncan adds: “With the transparency of the new system there is, as an existing train operator using it told us ‘no place to hide’. It becomes obvious if a train is allowed to continue to run with outstanding defects for days after they were first reported. This discipline will help to drive up performance and improve East Coast’s miles per casualty figures – leading to better train performance and more reliable services for our passengers.”

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