Increasing Coal Supply Chain Capacity Through ‘Formula 1’ Yard Management System 


Our client recently transitioned from a state-owned entity to an ASX-listed company and had several significant transformation projects running parallel.

A combination of increased global coal demand and many years of underinvestment in rail infrastructure resulted in a coal supply chain that could not service customer capacity requirements from pit to port.

With capital investment to raise capacity in the rail corridor approved but years from completion, a project focused on increasing volume with the existing rail infrastructure was launched.


The improvement proposed was a new management system made up of a series of processes designed to strengthen operational control across the rail yard to improve coal loop turnaround times and on-time departure to the mines.

A vision was created across the yard operational teams to adopt the approach of a “Formula 1” motor racing team, pit crew.

Each yard activity, including unloading, inspection, maintenance, shunting, and driver changes, would be meticulously planned before the train arrived. Then each process would be scheduled to the minute so the time back into the corridor could be accurately forecast and then tightly managed.


The consultancy team digested the Formula 1 strategy document, conducted comprehensive observations across the current rail yard operation, and designed a series of management processes based on lean methodologies to bring the strategy to life.

Communication systems and processes across the rail corridor were upgraded, with a significant focus on standardising communication times, the information to share, and the language to use, ensuring all communications would be coherent and efficient.

The new processes introduced included standard operating procedures to complete all repeatable tasks across the rail yard, supported by target process times and governed by a daily audit program. The audit program enabled compliance performance reporting in the form of KPIs.

A tiered visual management system was introduced for presenting the compliance KPIs alongside other operational performance KPIs for safety, delivery, cost and people. The visual management centres became the focal point for performance management and problem-solving. Formally documenting the entire system in a user handbook, branded the ‘F1 Toolkit’, provided all stakeholders with a simple training tool and system guide.


  • 20% improvement in rail yard turnaround time
  • 4.5 Mtpa increase in rail corridor capacity ($45M)