RailFreight post: On the right track: GYSEV CARGO harnesses big data for rail freight optimisation

RailFreight post: On the right track: GYSEV CARGO harnesses big data for rail freight optimisation

In a rapidly evolving world where data is at the core of decision-making, Hungarian rail freight firm GYSEV CARGO is leading the way by reimagining their operations for the new age.

Working closely with IT Services and Consulting partner Ab Ovo, they have implemented a digital transformation that has not only slashed costs but also driven deep change in day-to-day operations.

A key element of this has been the implementation of Ab Ovo’s SmartRailCargo system, which brings together an array of planning tools in the cloud. Dr Zoltan Zentai, Director of Operation Support at GYSEV CARGO, explains, “Optimisation of traction capacity planning (and thus costs) led directly to more efficiency when applied to a fleet of 10-15 locomotives and loco drivers per day”.

“This, in turn, improved the efficiency of assets and human resources across our traction activities by 1-3 per cent, and when you multiply this up, it is a significant impact on our 1,568,250 train kilometres and 6,6 million euros traction cost per year.”

Quick benefits, fewer challenges

Before implementing this system, the team from GYSEV CARGO faced several rail-specific challenges, however, such as establishing connections to unique railcar databases and managing a heterogeneous data environment, as well as struggling with a lack of developer capacity and experience in managing rail-specific software projects in Hungary.

“Ab Ovo helped us with their experience and knowledge on many aspects of the project: rail specific experience and BC knowledge, very effective agile methods, experience on process digitalisation and digital transformation change management in the organisation,”  Zentai tells RailFreight.com.

With the system in place, the teams quickly saw benefits, with the new tools providing around 2,000-3,000 wagon and train-specific data points every 24 hours and allowing for improved management of around 40-50 trains.

Zentai adds that the development of an integrated data management and communication tool, known as the Train Request Portal (TRP), further streamlined operations, avoiding the need for “hundreds of e-mails circulating between the clients and the internal departments of GYSEV CARGO”, while integrated data on consignments, such us wagon data, data of goods, and partner also helped allocate resources.

“Before Ab Ovo’s system, order data management was manual and fragmented across multiple databases. With the new system, we’ve integrated this data into one database, reducing labour and costs. It simplifies data import and even supports OCR scanning of paper-based railway bills, optimising our processes,” Zentai says.

More optimisation in the future

Despite the numerous benefits already delivered by this digital transformation, both partners see this as only the start of a journey, with continuous refinement and improvement now a part of daily practices. GYSEV CARGO is already looking to the future with plans for more BI solutions to support management decision-making processes, route optimisations, and train path planning.

“These days, we are continuously analysing our costs, particularly around train path and traction costs”, Zentai explains. “Whereas before the implementation, we just didn’t have the data to model or optimise.”

“Better monitoring tools will enable us to get transport data in advance and to further improve our operational resources and planning. Further down the line, we aim to integrate these tools with our interactive customer portal, offering clients a wider range of decision-making alternatives and transport scheduling scenarios.”

(The article was published on RailFreight.com)