door-to-the-future

Faiveley Transport UK is opening a new facility to provide high added-value train-borne systems for clients based in London and the South East, whilst continuing to offer design, build, install, and maintenance provision for its customers across the country

After 90 years in the rail industry Faiveley Transport UK has built upon its successful history with a variety of new projects in London and the South East, and these have been aided by new facilities that the company has opened in Edmonton, London. This strategy was employed in order to meet the requirements that large-scale projects within London would need, as sales and marketing director of new equipment Nigel Bowers explained: “Two of the programmes I would highlight are the rolling stock for the London Underground sub-surface lines – for which we supply the complete door control system – and the Thameslink programme which has the same scope of supply. So with that, plus the Class 395 Javelin legacy equipment we have on HS1, the decision was that we needed a base that was geographically close to our customers and end users. This provides a facility to both maintain that equipment and for our field service engineers to work out of.”

Faiveley clearly has an extensive record in the industry, and can boast over 500,000 individual door systems in the world currently. There are many developments Faiveley is working on – in heating and ventilation, braking systems, and within safety, as Nigel explained: “Anti-drag technology is something we are particularly focused on – effectively it’s a way of asymmetrically detecting obstructions between doors – especially very thin obstructions like a rucksack handle or bag strap which historically has been a problem. This is just one example, as we are always faiveley-134-bworking on many different technologies, such as our innovative range of fully electric door operators, which incorporate a low parts count, thereby improving reliability.”

The strong sales Faiveley achieves was something that service sales director John Summers gave more details on: “We have a great team of key account managers and we have grown organically by 25 per cent over the last five years. We are on incremental business year-onyear. We have signed up six out of eight key accounts on long-term supply agreements so we have locked them in for periods of between three to ten years. This has made it somewhat captive – 80 per cent of our external after sales comes from our top six customers.”

John also provided an insight into the company’s expectations for the future: “This year is the first year of our three year strategic plan – we have got a growth target of six per cent per annum. We achieve this by working across all levels of the company, and have a key account manager allocated to each client. We pursue growth through teamwork and long-term agreements with customers. And a part of this success is due to the strength of our technology and innovations – we are constantly looking at project improvements.”

The company is also looking at increasing energy efficiency, and to do this Faiveley is developing more ways to make trains lighter weight – which will result in lower energy usage and faster trains, which then works at reducing dwell time at stations. The company is in an established position and seeing a high demand for its services, which has enabled business development manager Brian Harvey to look even longer-term: “I am now having the freedom to look further ahead. Whereas previously we were a business focused on the next one or two years we are now able to look many years beyond that. One way we have been able to do this is by working with ROSCO’s to help them evaluate and make their prospective costs for franchising and leasing bids more affordable. Especially for major sub-systems such as Doors, HVAC and Brakes where overhauls account for 2/3 of the total LCC, we have offered product improvements with optimized scope of supply. This approach has been pivotal in us achieving 50 per cent increase in our overhaul order intake in the last five years and our forecasts show to be even more productive in the next five years. Another development in the UK is our latest expansion to our Electronics Repair facility in Tamworth as shown in the photograph. This has now enabled us to increase our electronics repair capacity by up to 50 per cent; again showing our commitment for the future in the UK.”

Brian discussed some of the other opportunities this has enabled: “We are working on the major UK Rail projects for the next ten years and beyond, such as HS2 and New Tube for London, where innovation and affordability are not only expected, but paramount for the success of these projects. To achieve this we combine our UK Customer Service experience with our technical expertise from the Global Faiveley Centers of Competence and offer new solutions to meet the ever increasing demands of our future customers.”

Another key area that the company is looking at for the future is around training, and was something Brian considered significant: “The industry is seeing a real drive towards training and succession management for experienced people like myself. We are actively ensuring that our apprenticeship programmes at each of our UK sites will encourage the younger generation – and I think this clearly shows how we are investing in the future. The whole business is very long-term, we are proud of that and this helps us to provide genuine added value for all of our customers.”

Faiveley is a company that has firmly established itself as one of the very best in the industry. It is now in a position to work on even larger projects, and plan years or decades into the future, with a solid base of operations. The business is now in the perfect position to take advantage of the opportunities in London and nationally. Faiveley will no doubt be a fundamental part in shaping the train sector throughout this century.