With high levels of fixed costs such as infrastructure charges and rolling stock maintenance,achieving profitability is a challenging task for a railway. Rail operators continually need to think how to reduce inefficiency, and more importantly, how to increase their profitability.
This is where the important role of innovation through technology comes in.
The majority of rail companies are still dependent on legacy systems, which makes it hard to focus on innovation and raises the question of how they can organise their data and identify passenger needs. The industry needs a new approach to sell more effectively and build capabilities to respond quickly to customer demand.
Legacy systems do not allow organisations to adapt as quickly as the commercial environment demands, and they cost a lot of money to develop and maintain. At a time of intense competition and market upheaval, this can mean the difference between success and failure.
Yet, how to modernise in a straitened economic environment?
The answer lies as much in limiting the impact on capital expenditure as in looking into the technology options available.
Partnerships bring the necessary skills to anticipate new shifts in customer behaviour and continuously fine-tune the customer interaction. Collaborating with specialised IT companies will secure scalability, raise productivity and flexibility, cut costs, and allow rail operators to focus on their core business: running rail services
Through IT partnerships, railways will find new, more coherent ways of developing and deploying technology innovations that can compress time and complexity – benefiting both their operations and the rail passenger.
The rail industry, which has long been held back by legacy IT systems, should adopt a strategy involving use of next generation IT solutions, similar to those used by other travel companies such as airlines.
Mark Mallants is a chairman of the Management team at BeNe Rail International
THE RAIL JOURNEY TO 2020
Facts, figures and trends that will define the future of European passenger rail traffic. How seamless, cross-border, high speed rail services across Europe can become a reality?
Innovation in Rail:
better passenger experience
As speed, technology and staff education improve, rail companies will have a real chance to get back the full romance of rail travel and create a better passenger experience.