Rail freight

Rail Supply Group set out new 'Act Now' priorities

Earlier this year, the Rail Supply Group, as the leadership body for the UK rail supply sector, established a Coronavirus Taskforce to understand and evaluate the impact of the crisis on businesses supplying to the rail industry and formulated plans to support their recovery and growth.

Following the distribution of a survey to the industry-wide suppliers, the Rail Supply Group Coronavirus Taskforce and its industry Champions completed a review of the original Rail Sector Deal.

The review recognised three priority ‘Act Now’ initiatives and revised existing Rail Sector Deal plans to meet the immediate needs of the industry.

Their new ‘Act Now’ priorities are:

  • Improve work pipeline visibility across the entire supply chain that allows organisations to plan and deliver with confidence, driving improvements in productivity and outcomes.
  • Simplify data access by fast-tracking their work to provide ‘Open Data’ that can be used to bring enhancements to customer journeys and freight to increase economic prosperity and Build Back Better.
  • Change railway access arrangements by working in partnership to help surge productivity and strengthen the rail industry’s recovery.

The Rail Supply Group Chair, Phillip Hoare, said: “Earlier this year, when the Rail Supply Group formed its Coronavirus Taskforce, it was impossible to foresee what lay ahead. This was reflected in your survey responses, which revealed an unprecedented level of uncertainty about the future. The message was clear: swift action was required from the rail industry and government.

“Over the last few months, we have been working closely on our ‘Act Now’ initiatives to provide greater work pipeline visibility and improve cashflow; simplify access to rail industry data; and improve productivity by changing the way we access and work on the railway. Our work to date also shows that all suppliers can act now help the industry.

“In addition to the Act Now initiatives, we continue to make progress across all areas of the Rail Sector Deal. This is an ongoing journey. Whilst this report shows we are making good progress, many of the challenges we have to address are longstanding ones – a fact that tells us there are no easy solutions.

“However, we do now have an opportunity to fundamentally change the way we go about our day-to-day business within industry for the better. Finally, the Rail Supply Group remains fully committed, not just to the recovery of the industry, but to strengthening the capability within the industry to seize the opportunities from the government programme to Build Back Better.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “We welcome the Rail Supply Group’s update on progress and ongoing work of the three ‘Act Now’ priorities to help the rail sector recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

 “These priorities – improving work pipeline visibility, simplifying data access and changing railway access arrangements – are all critical for RIA members in the supply chain, and will help increase productivity and drive change in our industry. Working collaboratively and innovatively in these areas will enable the UK rail sector to plan for the future and help lead the UK’s economic recovery, following what has been a difficult year for many.”

To read the report in full, click here.

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