Reducing actual and potential train failure by applying the Unipart Way

The challenge

First ScotRail challenged Unipart Expert Practices to develop and implement Lean ways of working at four depots that will reduce actual and potential train failure by identifying the problems at their root cause through the engagement of all of their employees.

A key challenge was to improve communication and teamwork. There was limited communication of the reasons for train failure and shop floor staff were excluded from making any contribution to this process.

How we helped

Our own experience, in our own company, has shown that a high level of employee engagement is the only way to sustain new ways of working.

Our solution centred on developing the use of Visual Management, creating real ownership of new processes and generating engagement of all operatives in solving problems.

  • Over 70 days a new Communications Centre comprising of highly visible Performance Improvement Boards and supporting processes were developed within each depot. Each board (or part of) has an owner responsible for keeping it up to date.

Three key meetings bind the processes in the Communication Centres together:

  • The daily review of yesterday’s performance via the Headline Board and the daily review of today’s workload take place between Managers and the operational teams.
  • The weekly review of the Performance Board highlights reliability issues and visually tracks progress of reliability countermeasures.
  • The monthly review of the content and the processes within the Communications Centre is used to identify potential improvement projects.
  • Structured problem solving was also introduced together with teamwork that involved and engaged staff.

Key process activities which had become bottlenecks were identified through the Communications Cell process. This led to mini improvement activities being implemented with the operational teams which resulted in immediate productivity gains while also contributing to longer term solutions.

To download the case study as a PDF, click the 'download the case study' button at the bottom of the page.

The results
  • A 50% reduction in potential train failure at Haymarket Depot was achieved combined with other depot initiatives
  • In combination with a client initiative on reliability, we further contributed to a 40% reduction in impact minutes (the financial penalty payable for not meeting franchise agreements on customer service levels)
  • 15% improvement in productivity on planned maintenance activity – B Exams
  • 60% improvement in productivity on wheelset changeout

We delivered the hand-over of a sustainable process to First ScotRail that will continue to further improve fleet reliability through the use of the new Communications Centres.

To download the full case study on First ScotRail, click on the image below.