Digital Transformation Project – Rurtalbahn Cargo – Group 21


Rurtalbahn Cargo is a company in the rail freight industry transporting various sorts of cargo from the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam to Eastern Europe (figure 1). Rurtalbahn Cargo differentiates itself in the market by focusing on personalized contact with customers and their reliability. Currently, there is an excess of demand in the market and the market is static as no disruptive innovations have been implemented over the last decades (Zimmermann, 2015).

Figure 1. Transport routes of Rurtalbahn Cargo

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In order to enable Rurtalbahn Cargo to make use of the current excess demand and to enable them to optimally use its own generated information and that of supply chain partners, two solutions are recommended: Supply Chain Integration (SCI) and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). The former is a solution where (optimally) all players in the supply chain of the transportation of goods share their information. This can enable them to better respond to each other and consequently make better use of their resources. ITS is a solution where whether conditions, railway signs, railway traffic (all movement on the rails), train performance and many other information variables are combined. This can result in costs reductions and a better allocation of resources. The proposed solution fits well with the current business model and IT structure of Rurtalbahn Cargo. The solution focuses solely on improving their current business model and enriches their value proposition.

Since both extensions involve relatively high costs, it is recommended to implement the extensions subsequently starting with implementing the SCI system and it supporting extensions, and secondly ITS. This order is specifically important because ITS is not possible on the short-term as all systems of competitors would need to be centralized for this. This is, for the most part, not under the direct influence of Rurtalbahn Cargo and it will require a diplomatic approach. The development of the base system and the extensions SCI and ITS will be done iteratively since this will reduce uncertainty (McConnell, 2006) and input from planners and SC partners can be used, anticipating changes that the system may have to undergo in the future (Ghiassi-Farrokhfal & Kahlen, 2015). The overall development is expected to take 1.5 year assuming that the current structure and occupancy of the IT development division remains stable.

Implementing the recommended solution will enable Rurtalbahn Cargo to optimize its value proposition and optimally utilize the excess of demand relatively to the supply within the train freight industry. Furthermore, the base system centralizing the data can potentially be the future source of more extensions and business enhancements.

References

  • Ghiassi-Farrokhfal, Y. & Kahlen, M., 2015. Introduction to design. Designing Business Applications. [online] https://bb- 29app01.ict.eur.nl/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&content_id=_49087_1&course_id= _489_1 [Accessed 9 October 2015]
  • McConnell, S. (2006) , Software Estimation: Demystifying the black art (developer best practices), first edition, MicrosoftPress
  • Zimmermannf, B. (2015, 9, 21). MSc Managing Director. (G21, Interviewer)
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