Key players discussed survey results on procurement, acceptance and delivery of rolling stock at BearingPoint roundtable

Frankfurt, February 9, 2015 – According to a new survey by management and technology consultancy BearingPoint, European railways as well as rolling stock suppliers are changing their approach, with the objective to increase collaboration and transparency through all phases of the product life cycle. Their common goal is to strengthen railways as a whole through optimization of design, quality and delivery of rolling stock. To achieve this, the survey identified key areas that require more collaboration: full documentation exchange, better communication between all involved parties, complete view on life cycle costs and more standardization of rolling stock and its components.

The survey shows both railways and suppliers see a strong advantage in collaboration and the value of joint project management approaches. Both put transparency first, but the survey also recognizes the difficulty to actually implement new approaches.

Francois Lanquetot, Partner at BearingPoint

The survey results were presented for executives and decision makers of railway operators and rolling stock suppliers during a BearingPoint roundtable on January 28 at Bensberg Castle in Germany.

The discussions focused on reducing life-cycle costs and the urgent need for innovation.

There is plenty of room for improvement in rolling stock innovation, but it is a question of culture, of those at the top-management level making it happen.

Alain Bullot, Managing Director Fer de France

Collaboration can drive us towards mandatory innovation.

Juergen Mues, Board Member of SBB Cargo

Concrete ways of achieving cooperation were discussed.

Techniques like Obeya make people work together, share information and quickly identify and solve problems. Using this approach, we were able to bond the project team and achieve a lead time reduction of 25%.

Guillaume Nicolas, Project Planning Manager Alstom

By focusing on standardized components in our trains, we increase reliability and cost effectiveness.

Lilian Meyer, Head of Platforms LightRail & VAL at Siemens

Collaboration as common objective

According to the survey, more than 95 percent of railway undertakings and suppliers currently rely on their traditional project management. On average, half of the participants plan to establish a more collaborative approach in the future. They agree that joint management is a success factor for the completion of projects on time and in budget.

Suppliers plead for improvements of collaboration with railways, especially in life-cycle stages until final delivery. More than 70 percent have strong concerns with the lack of communication in the procurement phase. Also, the low level of standardization is a worrisome issue for the majority of suppliers. On the other side, more than three quarters of railways see problems in spare parts.

Regarding the construction phase, suppliers are struggling with non-transparent processes, and also with the handling of 2nd and 3rd suppliers. Both sides rate high change request management as a significant issue (≥ 70 percent). During acceptance, suppliers see concerns in documentation. The after-sales phase is problematic for the railways, which struggle with service-level compliance and unclear make-or-buy policies.

Digital technology is ready to support the integrated project management between all involved parties in complex project environments - this allows joint engineering, testing and collaboration tasks to be shared among the involved partners - and with visual management even lean principles can be shared across multi-national and supplier teams.

Donald Wachs, Partner at BearingPoint

About the survey

For its survey “Collaboration in rolling stock industry – perspectives from rail undertakings & suppliers” (conducted in October and November 2014), the management consultancy BearingPoint has interviewed 40 European representatives from railway companies and executives of manufacturers and suppliers of rolling stock - including decision-makers from the departments of construction, maintenance, procurement and sales. The survey focused on how railway companies and suppliers would evaluate collaboration in various phases of the product life cycle, how rolling stock project management can be improved and which potentials and obstacles for a closer collaboration exist on both sides.

About BearingPoint

BearingPoint consultants understand that the world of business changes constantly and that the resulting complexities demand intelligent and adaptive solutions. Our clients, whether in commercial or financial industries or in government, experience real results when they work with us. We combine industry, operational and technology skills with relevant proprietary and other assets in order to tailor solutions for each client’s individual challenges. This adaptive approach is at the heart of our culture and has led to long-standing relationships with many of the world’s leading companies and organizations. Our global consulting network of 9,200 people serves clients in more than 70 countries and engages with them for measurable results and long-lasting success.

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