Transport & Logistics

How Project i-Trace will transform rail operations

10 Oct 2018, by Amy Sarcevic

The Australian heavy haul rail sector is a major global competitor, having pioneered a number of world-firsts in technological innovation.

However, there’s still more to do to maximise the industry’s capabilities and ward off hefty competition from road, which continues to dominate the domestic freight and logistics market.

Inventory management, for example, remains a mostly paper-based operation and is almost fifty years behind the retail sector, which debuted its revolutionary barcoding system in 1974.

Unlike supermarkets which utilise digital identification to manage their products, rail operators continue to depend on manual labour for the ordering, reconciliation and management of their equipment and components – an unnecessarily costly and inefficient process.

Given the capital intensiveness of modern rail operation, many experts believe that a greater focus on efficiency gains is required to help boost rail’s share of the total domestic freight and logistics markets.

With this in mind, ARA Heavy Haul Rail 2018 will hear from Bonnie Ryan of GS1 Australia, who will outline Project i-Trace – a brand new initiative being championed by GS1 Australia and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), in consultation with its industry members, to help lay the groundwork for rail’s digital future.

Project i-Trace seeks to achieve efficiency gains in the rail sector, by paving the way for a universal barcoding system for all rail components, including the promotion of whole-of-sector buy-in.

Due to be implemented in 2019, Project i-Trace will accrue a number of benefits for the sector including:

• Reduced ongoing costs by automating basic operational processes

• Improved cash flow – free up unnecessary inventory holdings; move to just in time

• Reduce costly write offs and waste

• Risk mitigation and management – guarantee safety through detailed knowledge of asset condition – including all components and maintenance history

• Reduce reliance on human knowledge – this is not sustainable to support level of industry growth

• Supports ISO 55000 – improve data quality (consistent and accurate) – today much of our data is captured manually and is incomplete

• Improved network performance – optimization of assets

• Best practice across the industry with easily auditable processes and pro-active operations

Hear from Bonnie Ryan on how Project i-Trace will reshape Australian heavy haul rail and discuss how the sector should respond at the ARA Heavy Haul Rail 2018 conference – due to take place 16 – 17 October in Sydney. 

Learn more and register. 

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