Increasing Wagon Fleet Capacity Through Increased Maintenance Efficiency

OBSERVATION

This government-owned railway company is responsible for nationwide rail operations and asset management for freight rolling stock and network infrastructure.  

A key strategic objective for the government is to redevelop the rail network to compete against alternative modes of transport for national freight movements. 

Wagon fleet capacity was a critical issue restricting the freight movement growth on the railway. On average, 470 wagons were unserviceable daily, resulting in $47.6m lost revenue capacity. 

Following a study of the current situation, including regional customer demand,  fleet planning practices and maintenance operations, a project to expand the fleet by improving maintenance efficiency to reduce wagon Turnaround Time (TAT) was initiated.

ORIENTATION

ORBIZ were engaged in developing and implementing a Lean management system and supporting modern maintenance practices to create operational excellence for wagon asset management. 

The new system and practices would be trialled and established in a pilot site, then reproduced at six other regional depots across the country. 

Engagement with a dispirited workforce, active union, and various stakeholders from other functions within the organisation through a robust change management process was critical to project success.

OPTIMISATION

A sequence of workforce engagement workshops involving each team member studied the current operating practices and gained consensus to implement a series of system and process improvements. 

A visual performance centre comprising company and depot KPIs became the forum for daily pre and post-shift meetings, resource planning, performance review, and problem-solving activity. 

Standardised processes for completing maintenance activities safely and efficiently each wagon type was agreed upon, documented and formalised through operating procedures. 

Standard tooling and equipment kits to ensure safety, engineering compliance and efficiency were agreed upon and formalised through operating procedures and shadow boards. 

The depot layout and process flow were reviewed and redesigned to optimise safety and efficiency. The team embedded a 5S culture through training, provision of equipment and an audit process. 

The team redesigned the Stores and inventory areas improving material control and process flow, then developed a kitting system to supply repair kits directly from stores to the lineside. 

ORBIZ provided training and coaching in all aspects of Lean management introduced to all workforce members, including management, frontline leadership, and tradespeople. 

ORBIZ project managed the procurement and delivery of minor civil works, the acquisition of new tooling and equipment, and the execution of all aspects of the implementation program.

IMPACT

Commercial benefits delivered at the pilot site:

  • 33% improvement in maintenance costs
  • 44% increase in wagon overhaul TAT (9/week to 13)
  • $6.6m pa increase in wagon fleet revenue capacity