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Strategy & Analysis

As trusted advisors to rail executives, we conduct high-impact, data-driven evaluations, and provide actionable recommendations.

Strategy

We help executives to develop and rigorously assess services and products; expand geographically; and evaluate acquisitions, partnerships and alliances.

Successes

  • Assessment of value proposition and processes for a potential new venture at a Class I railroad.
  • Evaluation of domestic equipment and commercial strategy for a rail car management company owned by railroads.
  • Custom simulation and optimization solutions for a Class I and a Class II railroad to evaluate process improvement, policy changes and what-if scenarios at intermodal terminals.
  • Review of the distribution of intermodal rail cars to the Class I railroads for the Intermodal Advisory Committee (IAC).

Mergers

We help answer a wide range of questions, often using optimizing simulation technology, regarding the impact of potential changes and improvements resulting from a merger.

Successes

  • Advised leaders of a freight railroad network, co-owned by two Class I railroads, to improve service and efficiency.
  • Integrated organizational structure and operating rules for two separate, private railroads of an agribusiness to achieve more efficiency and flexibility.

Network Optimization

We help rail executives confidently and quickly make decisive, positive business decisions about their network, by building or customizing tools to recommend the best combinations of multiple, simultaneous parameters or policies.

Successes

  • Helped a Class I railroad create a new business model that leveraged optimization to provide the immediate, real-time presentation of route options, schedules, capacities, and price directly to shippers and transportation brokers.
  • Development of the Route Costing Optimizer, a strategic decision-making tool that precisely analyzes the cost/benefit of shipping options for defined origin-destination pairs worldwide. The tool incorporates the latest market outputs, such as charter rates and bunker prices, and changing market-segment definitions, and it determines the sensitivity of routes to many factors.
  • Evaluation of the impact of load planning optimization for containers arriving at facilities by truck or rail for a Class I railroad. 

Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity Planning

We blend IT and management consulting to conduct rigorous DR/BCP planning for organizations and large-scale systems.

Successes

  • DR/BCP project entailing the review of hundreds of job descriptions and interviews of a rail car management company’s executives at manager level and above, recommendation of related software, and plans for all business units.
  • Development of a disaster recovery plan for a complex dispatching system for a Class I railroad, which featured a custom interactive tool to evaluate technical failure scenarios at levels of component or location.
  • Analysis of a PTC system’s high-availability architecture to ensure uninterrupted service.

Enterprise Metrics

We help define and standardize measurements of success in complex rail environments, which typically involve many stakeholders and operational and technical systems.

Successes

  • Creation of a coherent set of detailed and summary enterprise business metrics for a leading transportation management company, which entailed conducted interviews throughout every business unit, including corporate leadership.