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Source : Quintiq
Case Study: A New Standard for Resource Planning in the Railway Business
Resource Planning is also known as :
Enterprise Resource Planning,
Manufacturing Resource Planning,
Resource Planning Society,
Project Resource Planning,
Material Resource Planning,
Resource Planning Software,
Distribution Resource Planning,
Resource Planning Template,
Integrated Resource Planning,
Resource Planning System,
Retain Resource Planning,
Integrated Resource Planning,
Resource Planning Office,
Resource Planning Solutions,
Resource Planning Integration,
Easy Resource Scheduling,
Resource Management Success,
Resource Planning Process,
Mobile Resource Planning,
Resource Scheduling Software.
Railion Nederland N.V. is an independent operating
company of Railion Deutschland, the largest rail
cargo transporting company in Western Europe.
Railion Deutschland is a merger of the cargo
divisions of Deutsche Bahn AG, Danish State
Railways and the NS Group with a joint turnover
of Euro 4.2 billion in 2002.
Railion Nederland transports almost 25 million
tons, more than 70% of which was of an
international nature. It deploys more than 400
trains daily to transport in excess of 75,000 tons
of goods. Railion Nederland has a work force of
around 1200, including its own drivers.
THE BUSINESS PROCESS
The train planning process consists of two
interlinked types of resource planning:
The first being the timetable planning in the
national Dutch Railways system, and the second
the activities planning for locomotives and drivers,
for which a new system has been implemented
by Ab Ovo, using the Quintiq software.
Train planning in rail cargo transport is a lengthy
and iterative process, because infrastructure
planning requires a very detailed capacity planning
in a very early stage (up to one year before actual
production), while customer demand is only
known in the last days before actual production.
As a result the locomotive and driver planning
process starts at least a few months in advance
with the building of a provisional “standard” basic
planning, that serves as a basis for the many
large and small changes to come. The new system
allows several basic plans to be prepared, in order
to cope with periodical timetable updates. This
basic planning is rolled out into a calendar
planning, a few weeks ahead of time.
This calendar planning is actualized with shortterm
orders and modifications. In this phase the
physical locomotives and drivers are assigned to
the existing shifts. There are many important
qualification checks for locomotives and drivers
to be made, e.g. route qualification and locomotive
The planning data has to be made available to
both central and local production controllers and
through printed jobcards for the drivers. During
realization production controllers have to make
many changes in the original planning because
of disturbances (like expected delays of trains at
the customers or border) and have to
communicate these changes to all parties involved.
Railion needed a new planning system because
the old system had a number of drawbacks:
- The old system was intended for passenger
transport, whereas cargo transport has different
requirements because of the many changes in
the final planning phase.
- Since Railion departed the Dutch Railways
company, a difference has grown in
employment conditions and labor agreements,
which the old system could not cope with.
- The adaptability of the previous system to the
needs of Railion was poor, because of its old
- The old system had very high maintenance
“The system was live in 6
months, which is a unique
achievement for a project of
this complexity. Furthermore,
the software provided us with
high flexibility, as well as the
best value for money currently
available on the market for a
to Nico Louter.
“The Quintiq system has
proven to be very stable. We
have had no hardware
problems or installation
issues. Hence, we have a 24x7
hour operation and therefore
need to be able to count on
the Quintiq system 24 hours
a day, seven days a week.”
Railion invested in the Quintiq software and the
consultancy implementation services of Ab Ovo
because it was the best solution available.
“Although the IT landscape contained a variety of
systems, it was proven that Quintiq could easily
be integrated, even with multiple interfaces to
both modern and legacy systems”, says Nico Louter.
Railion is now able to have an integrated planning
of all locomotives and locomotive drivers, that
allows planning either with anonymous shift
numbers or actual locomotives and drivers.
Whether a planning solution is possible is a very
complicated process, because there are many
constraints: e.g. not all driver/train combinations
are possible, as drivers have different qualifications
and route authorization. Quintiq tackles this
challenge through its easy constraint
management. Automatic checks are performed
real-time on almost all regulations, such as
whether a locomotive is allowed on a particular
route or train type. In addition, labor regulations
are taken into account when planning the drivers.
Furthermore, violations are available on-line to
all users in the graphic planning views.
A relatively new aspect of planning for railways
is the fact that changes in realization are
immediately incorporated in the planning and
the locomotive shifts and physical locomotives
are integrated in one data set. The 140 planners
now have a consistent and real-time overview
of all the planning activity.
Railion is very happy with the Quintiq solution.
Nico Louter: “The combination of Quintiq and Ab
Ovo proved to be the only available solution able
to easily integrate all elements necessary for the
proof of concept, as we had asked all suppliers
to show us the most complex part of our planning
in their software. The Quintiq option was the only
one who came up with a good answer within the
“Quintiq and Ab Ovo had the
best available solution
planning and scheduling
software along with highcaliber
services and business
knowledge. They succeeded
in making a good solution
for the very complex railway
planning task, with its large
quantity of data and its vast
number of regulations and
ACCORDING TO PROJECT
MANAGER NICO LOUTER:
Railion has been able to achieve the following
results using the Quintiq and Ab Ovo solution:
- The planning system has facilitated more
transparency and better communication
between central and local process controllers
and between different locations.
- Quality and consistency between planning and
realization has improved.
- Resource utilization of engines and drivers has
- Punctuality of the cargo trains within the
Netherlands increased from 80% to more than
90%, part of which is attributed to the new
- Operational costs of the planning process itself
- Total Cost of Ownership is greatly reduced.
- Better management information is available.
- The system was live in 6 months.
- Payback period realized in less than 1 year.
Quintiq and Ab Ovo delivered tangible benefits
throughout Railion’s business and provided much
needed flexibility during the implementation. The
software optimized the planning process and
thereby reduced the costs associated with
operations and planning.
“Railion Nederland is
extremely pleased with the
planning solution from
Quintiq and Ab Ovo. Planning
in rail transport is very
dynamic and complex,
because there are many short
term changes in the planning
process and a large number
of very diverse constraints in
planning and executed
orders: With the Quintiq
planning solution we are able
to take this into account in
real-time. This software is no
doubt the best choice as far
as price, quality, flexibility
and speed of implementation
is concerned, currently
available on themarket for
the railway business.”
NICO LOUTER, MANAGER
Goudsbloemvallei 12-28 5237 MJ ‘s-Hertogenbosch The Netherlands,
Tel. +31-(0)736910739, Fax. +31-(0)736910754,