A recent article on the Bulk Distributor surrounding railway innovation in the rail sector demonstrates the need to change the way we think about railway innovation. Contrary to what the article states, Innovation does happen and it’s through modern software, data and analytics.
Many businesses operate in uncertain environments, at the mercy of breakdowns, human error, traffic or the weather. The traditional approach is to build slack into a schedule, to survive some expected level of uncertainty, and then to hope this schedule can be executed in spite of whatever unforeseen events actually occur. In instances where the schedule cannot be implemented as expected, operational decisions are made to try to meet the business goals as much as possible. Under complexity and time pressure, decision makers must often resort to making short term, locally focused decisions without the time or tools to consider implications downstream.
In this blog post, optimisation consultant Dave Scerri describes how recent algorithmic advances and smart tools have enabled the best of both worlds: an operational scheduling approach that responds to changing circumstances while focusing on system wide efficiency.