Michael Schuler Featured in Progressive Railroading Magazine

This is a copy of the article feature in November’s 2023 Progressive Railroading Magazine

Railroad process change is essential.  Where to start and how to do it well.

PST Vice President of Engineering Michael Schuler featured in Progressive Railroading Magazine, November 2023. Bio PhotoAll railroads, regardless of size, can benefit from business process improvements, but the types of improvements that are necessary and most effective can vary based on the size of the organization.

From personal experience, I can tell you that even within larger railroads, there are often smaller silos of activity that need improvement to support the larger organization.

Large roads typically need to focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their complex processes. This may involve automating manual tasks, streamlining workflows, and improving communication and collaboration between departments.

For example, a large railroad might implement a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to streamline its crew management and agreement worker needs.

Small roads often need to focus on reducing costs while improving effectiveness. This may involve improving customer service processes, partnering with local businesses to create growth opportunities, and reducing waste and inefficiency in operations.

Of course, current and emerging technology can also play a significant role in determining the difference between what will be judged as simply adequate outcomes or great outcomes.

PST Vice President of Engineering Michael Schuler featured in Progressive Railroading Magazine, November 2023Fortunately, while challenging, it’s not impossible to continually keep the wheels of re-invention turning. The steps that have worked well for me are:

  • Start by identifying your railroad’s goals. What do you want to achieve with your business process improvements? Do you want to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and/or improve customer service? Once you know your goals, you can start to identify specific processes that need improvement.
  • Get input from your employees. The people who work within the processes every day are best positioned to identify areas for improvement. Ask them for suggestions on how to make the processes more efficient, effective, and customer-centric.
  • Use technology to your advantage. There are many software tools and technologies that can help you to improve your railroad’s business processes. For example, you can use automation to eliminate manual tasks, and you can use qualification software to improve your compliance and safety.
  • Measure your results. It is important to set key performance indicators (KPIs) and measure the results of your business process improvements so that you can see what is working and what is not. Technology can be a big help in this area. This will help you to make necessary adjustments and continuously improve your processes over time.

I’d be happy to share what other things we’re working on for rail operations and help your railroad grow. Let’s talk.


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