Freight Rail, Passenger Rail, Safety, Signalling & Communications, Sustainability, Track & Civil Construction, Workforce

Moving rail projects forward 

As the country experiences extended periods of disruption and lockdowns, with COVID directly impacting on rail project resources and supply chains, it is important to look for flexible and agile solutions to keep moving forward. 

A recent Australasian Railway Authority survey showed that a total of 91 per cent of respondents were concerned about the impact of COVID on their business. Maintaining supply chains remained a critical issue for the survey respondents, with 68 per cent reporting international supply chain issues had impacted production, delivery or service offerings. In total, 86 per cent of respondents reported supply chain disruptions as a result of COVID.  

However, the industry is poised to experience a strong bounce back in the latter part of 2021 and early 2022. The survey also indicated that the rail industry was optimistic that the recovery would be fast once the full impact of the pandemic was over. 

Having access to surge capacity for resourcing, especially in high-skilled capabilities such as systems engineering and safety assurance, is vital as the industry experiences ongoing uncertainty and disruption to project delivery and workforces.  

The ability to mobilise teams remotely is also hugely important in today’s current working environment, where skills shortages are common in different locations but on similar projects.  That’s where consulting firms such as Systematiq come in.  

Experts in surge capacity

Systematiq’s team consists of experts in rail consulting, safety assurance and project management. No matter what stage a project is in, be it initial planning or the various later stages of delivery, they are highly qualified to add value and keep the program moving forward.   

According to Systematiq director Richard De Nardi, the company’s experience in systems engineering and developing operating frameworks for the rail industry not only assists with identification of requirements, but also enables bespoke solutions to be developed to meet clients’ needs.  

“We respond to our clients’ requirements with a flexible and pragmatic approach, and offer engineering contractors from entry level through to experienced practitioners when required,” he said. 

The requirement for surge support essentially refers to an increase in tasks that is unexpected and often unplanned for, resulting in the capacity needed to tackle emergent demands. 

“Using surge capacity in rail engineering projects is vital, and particularly as we experience ongoing uncertainty and disruption to project delivery and workforces during the COVID crisis,” Richard said.  

“In order to de-risk project delivery and mitigate cost blow-outs, it is important to tap into services when needed, to fulfil vital documentation and engineering compliance processes as they are required in order to keep projects moving forward.”  

Richard said it was often the important details that may be overlooked in project planning stages, and this is where Systematiq is employed to supplement the project team.  

“For example, I worked on a project with two engineers, a project manager, and strong project support, but they didn’t have anyone specifically for system safety assurance, which included the railway signaling aspect,” he said. “It simply exceeded their capacity, so we were brought in to assist. We quickly integrated with their team to develop the products necessary to progress through the change control board.”  

The value of work undertaken by Systematiq has been commended by several of its clients, including Metro Trains Melbourne project manager San Markas. 

“It has been great working with the team at Systematiq, who’ve provided us with excellent resources and surge capacity for our ongoing projects,” he said.  

“Systematiq consultants are flexible, and provide an extremely high standard and we look forward to an ongoing partnership.” 

Rail Safety Assurance Capability 

Systematiq’s team can also assist with all facets of safety assurance including hazard capture and management, logistics support analysis, risk management, reliability and safety reporting. 

 In addition, Systematiq provides advice on implementing Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) to ensure maintenance resources and support networks are focused on doing the necessary maintenance actions to keep assets operating effectively.  

“Our practitioners understand how to identify, analyse and execute risk control measures to ensure an organisation’s legislative, contractual and organisational requirements are met,” Richard said. 

“We can provide So Far As Is Reasonably Practicable (SFAIRP) risk management, ensuring the sufficient identification of possible risks and a suitable risk assessment process.” 

Rail Systems Engineering  

Systematiq ensures capability is available when needed. The team of experts can assist with all facets of supportability engineering, including systems engineering, logistics support analysis, utilisation analysis, disposal and documentation.  

The company develops systems engineering plans that comply with the requirements of EIA 612 and ISO 15288, which will help operators to understand the process required to acquire and enter a new system into service. These include the identification of configurable items, baseline establishment and management, control, reporting and auditing.  

“We also develop program verification, testing that it meets the requirements, and validation, demonstrating that this is what is wanted, to ensure that the new capability is what is described and will meet the needs,” Richard said. “This may involve facilitating workshops and developing the operator’s technical staff’s knowledge of the FMEA/FMECA activity and how to implement the findings on their products.  

“Additionally, we can ensure that the inventory management, maintenance resources and supply chain are optimised to increase asset availability and minimise cost of ownership.”  

Better earlier than late 

While Systematiq is often called upon at a later stage of a project, Richard reiterated that greater value is achieved the earlier that the company is engaged to deliver or support a project.  

“Systematiq aims to add more value by being engaged at the inception of a program, thereby providing a team of consultants that can flex with the demands of the task.   

“We can assist with solution mapping, and manage the program of work for you, making sure we meet your outcomes. We can help develop your business case as well, so that it is more likely to accurately capture the funding and resource requirements of your project. 

“We assist in bridging the gap between where operators are currently and where they need to be. 

“Our strong history and proven capability in defence and rail project delivery demonstrates our strong attention to detail, rigour and best practice when delivering projects for our clients.”  

For more information on how Systematiq can provide consulting services and surge capacity for your rail projects, visit its website or contact one of the company’s consultants.