RFG has launched its new Members Digital Innovation and Technology forum. Around 30 people attended the inaugural meeting on 15 May 2023 held at the Factory 2050 Boardroom in Sheffield.
Members heard presentations from Razor, Modux and Heidelberg Cement who shared their thoughts on digital transformation in rail freight, and how best to make progress. In a wide-ranging discussion the topics included:
- The need for more collaboration. What can we collaborate on? What is commercial and what can be shared? How can we improve data sharing to enable systems and analytics whilst sensibly respecting commercial requirements?
- Systems such as wagon condition data is needed by more than one FOC who may use the same wagon. How do we align systems and interface with the network to best effect.
- Internal focus is not confined to rail, but evident in road, aviation and maritime. Need to identify what we can share and to influence policy. Share best practice to create pressure for innovation. Other sectors respond to pressure from customers, putting their needs before operations.
- Digital skills can be an issue and some businesses have added training. In rail, there can be resistance to change and culture is an issue. How can we help to overcome this?
- The business case for change can be difficult especially where the benefits are shared between parties and where benefits cannot be readily quantified.
- The problem statement for the industry may not be clear enough for the developer and SME market who are looking to provide systems. Can the forum help clarify this?
It was agreed that the forum could help to develop thinking in these areas, and there was appetite to meet again in three months’ time.
RFG would like to thank all our speakers, and the team at Factory 2050 for their support. Any members who would like to join the forum should contact Yvonne Mulder on firstname.lastname@example.org.