What’s the background to the Charter?

In July 2020, the government asked the Rail Supply Group to set up and lead the rail industry Covid-19 Taskforce to drive forward an industry-wide recovery and stronger bounce back.

The RSG was well placed since it was already committed to working with government on fostering the delivery of the Rail Sector Deal between industry and government working in partnership. The Rail Sector Deal seeks to exploit the opportunities of new technologies, improve the efficient use of our rail network capacity and enhance the experience of those who use our railways.

The RSG Taskforce commissioned independent market research organisation Savanta ComRes to find out from UK rail businesses their main challenges. The industry was unanimous on three priority actions. Firstly, to improve work pipeline visibility; secondly, simplify data access; and thirdly improve railway access arrangements. When we took a follow-up pulse survey in early 2021, we were told that work pipeline visibility was now the highest priority in the rail supply chain to achieve long term success.

This has provided the impetus to drive forward this Charter, enabling organisations throughout the supply chain to plan and deliver with confidence. Taking action also improves productivity significantly – we know this and we know it is possible having carried out the pilot projects to assess the impact of better pipeline visibility.

The 8 pilot projects spanned the full range of sectors working across the rail industry, and, as projects that were already up and running, the focus has been on sharing “in-flight” visibility of the work pipeline across the supply chain. It is clear from these pilots that cascading this information to suppliers has significant benefits and incurs little or no cost.

Philip Hoare“We found a virtuous circle. Committing to share in-flight work pipelines increased collaboration and trust. And increased collaboration and trust created an environment where work pipeline information could be shared without it being exploited by either party.”

Philip Hoare, Rail Supply Group Chair and President of Atkins

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