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The Alta Performance Management Suite (APMS) is a set of applications that support the continuous improvement of railroad production processes based on productivity (asset and work team) and cost drivers. The suite's components include a complete railway operating system, a pricing system, a financial analysis system, a permanent way information system, and a yard control system.
Key Performance Indicators are defined in APMS for each task in the production process and tasks are planned to achieve expected performance. Execution is then measured against the performance indicator targets in, or near, real-time. The analysis of the gaps serves as feedback to the planning process in order to make adjustments to continuously improve performance.
The core of the Alta Performance Management Suite is the Alta Rail Operating System (AROS), an event driven information system, present at all stages of the production cycle, that enables planning and execution from an asset productivity point of view.
The AROS system incorporates PDCA management methods, whereby business processes have characteristics that can be determined, measured, analyzed, improved and controlled. Each event in the railroad's production process (car movement, train formation, maneuver registration, train movement, car loading/unloading, etc.) is manually or automatically recorded in a database over which AROS sets up an accurate and real-time process for employees to track and manage cars and locomotives in the fleet.
AROS interacts with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, such as SAPÂ®, to allow invoicing and maintenance information exchange, as well as with other components of the railroad's information systems such as planning, dispatching and report generation, to name a few.
The Alta Financial Control System (AFCS) is a profitability, margin and cost analysis tool that provides information and reporting on key drivers that influence a railroad's operational results.
Railroads use AFCS for planning (annual and monthly cycle) and for an accurate analysis of relevant KPIs such as the contribution margin per car per day. These indicators can be reviewed even on a per client or per service contract basis, allowing for benchmarking against targets set for each customer contract. AFCS also provides information that supports the Alta Pricing Control System (APCS).
AFCS delivers business intelligence with user-friendly dashboards that support management decision making on a daily basis.
The Alta Pricing Control System (APCS) is a powerful tool that enables the railroad's sales department to increase profitability through intelligent price negotiations with its customers.
APCS receives cost data from the Alta Financial Control System (AFCS) and simulates the margin for each prospective sale transaction. By understanding the trade-offs between different revenue opportunities, the sales team is able to optimize the price for each customer contract based on the contribution margin per car per day that a specific service flow will generate for the railroad.
The Alta Permanent Way Information System (APWIS) supports the prioritization of permanent way maintenance process (defects that need to be fixed). APWIS ranks the critical permanent way defects according to their risks and impacts so that operational managers can pursue an optimal capital allocation plan.
By collecting data from foot inspections with custom-made APWIS devices, data collectors, control cars, ultrasound equipment, infra-red equipment, and other inputs, APWIS ranks defects based on a defect index calculated using criteria defined by the railroad. Defects and Maintenance Gangs are then assigned to a position on the track by their GIS module that facilitates the visual management of the maintenance process. Investments are guided by the defect index, work orders are clear and measurable to facilitate the standardization of maintenance procedures, and integration with the ERP triggers payments to external suppliers.
Properly planning shunting maneuvers and train building activities is a key way to improve asset productivity in the yard.
The Alta Yard Control Center (AYCC) system is a simple-to-use user-friendly graphical tool, through which work is planned and tracked by mouse clicks with drag and drop functionality. AYCC graphically displays the position of rolling stock on a yard map, and with a simple click on any car or locomotive, the operator sees its type, registration number, state (empty or loaded), destination and product (if loaded), time sitting in the yard, as well as other notes, observations and recommendations.