As the price of fuel oil steadfastly increased over the past decade, shippers began in-depth evaluations of the transportation costs of moving their product to the market. During that analysis, railroads emerged as the primary provider of a cheaper and more efficient mode of transportation for large shippers. Railroads have become the "green" option for automotive, intermodal, and bulk commodities, given their ability to move a ton of freight over 400 miles on one gallon of gas. Railroads can improve their rail car throughput by laying billions of dollars' worth of new track, an expensive and modularly time-consuming option, and/ or increase their "virtual" capacity through the implementation of IT systems as their key to future growth and improved customer satisfaction. To maximize the return on their existing investments, railroads are looking at exploring new IT systems and technology-enabled business processes, to ensure greater client visibility within the transit cycle while providing more efficient and predictable daily operations to the carrier.
New IT systems increase operational efficiency, and are critical in improving customer service through creating greater visibility into freight movements by more than one mode of transport (intermodal shipments), and streamlining business processes and communications. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) has forecast that the freight railroad demand will increase 88 percent by 2035. If capacity is not added, as much as a third of the country's 140,000 miles of track will be so congested as to cause widespread service breakdowns. The DoT report concluded that $148 billion must be invested in railroad infrastructure expansion.
IT can help railroads efficiently route trains and process freight at classification yards and intermodal terminals, reducing dwell times and enabling them to increase capacity virtually without spending as much on laying track.
A generation of railroaders is retiring, and with them retires their “tribal knowledge” of how railroads operate. Little of this information has been formally documented by the railroads, IT providers, or other contractors. There is reasonable fear that once all these employees retire, their vast knowledge will be lost forever.
New HCL IT projects in the pipeline for the railroads are focused on increasing overall productivity while decreasing operating costs.
HCL’s focus on the railroad segment and experience with most of the Class 1 North American railroads has led to in-depth domain knowledge. With this commitment, HCL will continue to strive in creating and maintaining mutually beneficial partnerships with our clients for the foreseeable future. HCL’s pledge to its rail clients is to:
- Create IT solutions that help improve business performance
- Better visibility into movement of freight
- Enable enterprise discovery for better visibility and control on the application landscape
- Single version of truth of the organization data
- HCL has been engaged with North America’s Class 1 railroads. Committed to meet today’s railroads challenges, HCL has proven case studies to demonstrate its experiences and subject matter expertise
- HCL’s culture of thought leadership and value centricity is a key ingredient for a successful partnership in an environment of systemic problems like aging workforce, challenges around system scalability and modernization
- HCL’s culture of creating trusted relationships through transparency and flexibility is essential for success within the rail industry
- HCL is ranked as a leader in technology areas relevant to the railroads, including legacy apps and next generation technologies
- HCL is ranked #1 in customer reference score and is amongst the leadership quadrant in application management services