Smart Thinking for Optimisation of Assets

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In the past decade, the Australian Railway industry has been experiencing change ranging from volatile commodity prices driving a                  boom-and-bust cycle in project expansion, to massive infrastructure development in the public transport sector that will help shape the future of our cities.

Changes have been made with many adopting more stringent project management processes to provide governance and therefore prevent large project blowouts. This governance hasn’t always had any discernible impact. Procurement has played an increasing role in many businesses to enforce strategies designed to save cost, and not necessarily improve value.

Early phase work, wherein value added is usually intrinsic, can be poorly defined due to a lack of business overview, a misunderstanding          of the risks, and/or a team that misrepresents both when delineating the scope of work. The Operational basis for the Assets must be considered right at the very beginning and the team look at not only how we should establish the design specification intent, but why            we should provide a greater emphasis on what challenges that the Post-Project Operations Manager may face. Projects do not always adequately consider the entire key performance requirement that will have an impact throughout the asset life cycle – the limits to what        is acceptable for the operation to perform to expectation. This would then take into consideration quality requirements, acceptable failure rates and maintenance considerations.

We believe that front end preparation must be driven by clear business objectives and mitigation of key risks. In many cases, some of these risks are discounted because they are non-technical (and presumed easier to solve?!). Moving away from this type of inherent organisational bias and focusing on how to make the right decisions is critical. In some instances, this may mean stepping outside of our technical work comfort zone and focusing on choices/strategies/efforts that relate back to what the project is trying to achieve and how it will provide the value projections over its whole of life.

At Network Rail Consulting, we have a unique set of rail sector skills to support clients in moving their projects forward and focusing on            fit-for-purpose approach to design considerations based on extensive tried and tested real-life experience in a complex and fast paced railway environment. This brings clarity to key decisions that influence the business, not just the project. We know that by adopting an enhanced focus on business objectives and the long-term operating life expectations in front end development, we can bring significant value to our clients and remind everyone that taking the time to think smart is always worth the effort.


Adam Boughton

State Manager Victoria

Network Rail Consulting