It goes without saying that railroads want their vendors to be as efficient as possible. New industry practices now indicate that vendors may need to engage in lean practices to sustain their customer relationships. As railroads work to improve their own maintenance efficiency and... more important... ensure track safety, they are asking vendors to provide batch mix information about each concrete tie they deliver. They are also starting to track weld information on rails and production information about switches. Lean manufacturing is about minimizing waste and enhancing customer value. A railroad vendor that embraces this practice will view these demands as a market opportunity that can be addressed more easily than they might expect.
Manufacturers of concrete railroad ties are prime candidates for the introduction of lean production systems because:
- They produce hundreds of thousands of products each year;
- They live with tight margins; and
- Their customers are now demanding more value from them.
As we have written before, product tracking serves as an excellent foundation for lean production practices because it collects information about each and every product being produced. For large volume producers of railroad ties, product tracking systems can be installed within the assembly line and collect data while remaining invisible to the production process.
The market interest in this is so strong, we produced a video that demonstrates how the Idencia system can perform assembly line product tracking:
Railroads aren't the only asset managers that are requiring data for each product produced. State Departments of Transportation also require concrete tracking to reduce inspection time in the face of shrinking budgets and attrition in their workforce.
There is actually an excellent opportunity here for the precast market: Respond to the demands of your customers, then build on this and become more profitable.
Our purpose at Idencia is to offer infrastructure asset tracking solutions that improve productivity throughout the infrastructure value chain.. to create lean infrastructure. Our subscription offering applies RFID tracking to infrastructure products from the time of manufacture through end-of-life. As a cloud-hosted product tracking system that is seamless between manufacturers, contractors and asset managers, Idencia adds information value to all, eliminates redundancy and saves time. If you would like to learn how Idencia can help your company, we invite you to download a copy of our Idencia Primer ebook.