A £288 million modernisation project for the Glasgow Subway is being underpinned by Sapphire Systems and Infor EAM

Funded by 12 councils across Glasgow and the West of Scotland, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is the largest of Scotland’s seven regional transport partnerships and responsible for the development and delivery of the Regional Transport Strategy. It is at the centre of the region’s transport planning, operations and infrastructure improvements.

At the heart of SPT’s transportation network is the Subway in Glasgow, which supports 14 million passenger journeys every year. The Subway comprises 15 main stations and a depot, and employs 500 people including 88 engineering and maintenance staff.

With 500 employees, SPT is responsible for managing, maintaining and operating the Subway, including the 40 cars for its dual circular rail system, 6.5 miles of track, 28 escalators, 34 ticketing machines and all supplementary equipment.

Modern times
SPT recently embarked upon a major £288 million modernisation programme of its Subway, including an upgrade of all station properties, new rolling stock (trains) and a new signalling system. As part of this programme, the transport company needed an in-depth understanding of the cost, lifecycle, performance and cost of every asset, from ticketing machines and escalators to trains and tracks, in order to establish a benchmark from which to measure downtime and ascertain where performance improvements could be made.

With a reputation for excellent service levels, testament to which is a Transport Focus passenger satisfaction rate of 97 per cent, SPT needed to ensure that the investment optimised service availability and delivered value at every stage.

A digital image
In order to fully understand the precise cost, location, lifecycle, efficiency and service level against each and every asset within the subway, SPT needed to expand the use of its existing Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system from Infor.

Sapphire Systems (Sapphire) was selected to deliver an upgraded cloud-based version of Infor EAM, along with Infor Birst to deliver Business Intelligence and Infor ION to facilitate full integration with other systems. Consultancy and training were crucial to the project, particularly in ensuring that employees could maximise all functionality within the system and fulfil the modernisation project’s aims.

“Having discussed our requirements with the team at Sapphire, we were hugely impressed at their knowledge and experience, not only of Infor EAM as a product, but of our industry and the challenges and nuances we face from a maintenance perspective,” comments Thomas Howat, Information Systems Engineer, SPT. “Against this backdrop we had no hesitation in selecting them as our partner for this project.”

Empowered decisions
The initial phase of the project saw the deployment of Infor EAM for 300 users, delivering specific role-based insights on the condition, maintenance requirements and any issues with types of assets to pre-defined user groups.

Workflow ensures that dedicated alerts and updates are directed to those responsible or involved in the management of a specific asset. For example, an alert flagging a problem with a train can only be accessed by the rolling stock department, and the specific warranties or tools required to action that alert are attached to the user permissions of that group.

This empowers the right users to complete work orders quickly and efficiently, factoring in asset costs, materials and schedules, as well as logging error codes and escalating issues if required.

To expedite the assignment of jobs and response rates further still, designated users can capitalise on the system’s mobile capabilities to alert engineers via e-mail to workstations or handheld mobile devices as soon as any breakdown occurs.

People power
Building on these improvements, SPT’s next steps are to focus on labour availability and the allocation of work. This part of the project will focus on adding all engineers’ qualifications and competence to Infor EAM, so that the right level and calibre of labour can be scheduled at any one time. This capability means that users can despatch engineers whose skillsets match the demands of a particular issue, driving quicker resolution and greater accuracy.

“Infor EAM matches engineer competencies against job scope. This area is tightly regulated and an engineer cannot attend a job if he or she is not certified in that area. The system will facilitate a quick reference point to extend efficiencies and support compliance,” Thomas continues.

To support integration with third party systems, thus streamlining warranty management and the supply of spares, SPT will deploy Infor ION. Through establishing a clearer picture of asset reliability, SPT can ensure parts availability where specialist suppliers are involved, such as signalling, and ensure both value for money and consistent availability of service.

Intelligence as standard
The final stage of the project will apply analytics and Business Intelligence through Infor Birst to extract information and contextualise it. This is expected to further enhance efficiencies as well as inputting intelligence into strategy development for future transport network design.

Continual improvement: a shared ethos
“Infor EAM really is the cornerstone of our asset management and with such high levels of investment at play, its value in managing these assets accurately, efficiently and proactively, cannot be underestimated.

“Sapphire’s knowledge, expertise and tenacity has been intrinsic to helping us understand what Infor EAM can help us to achieve, getting users on board and expanding use of the system to really generate a deeper level of insight into our asset profile.

“With continual improvement at the heart of what we do, Sapphire is a true partner in channelling this ethos and supporting the digital transformation of our assets, and we look forward to embracing the next phases with confidence,” Thomas concludes.