For the Dutch Railways we designed and implemented data-driven planning cycles on shorter lead times, while optimising the seat availability versus cost per seat-kilometre trade-off

What they asked

Our client was the Dutch national railway company. The company serves 1.3 million travellers on a daily basis. Planning objectives are to provide seats, be punctual and be cost-efficient. Four weeks before the day of operation, Planning hands over the best possible plan to Operations. Our client asked us to set up data-driven ways of working on shorter lead times for bi-monthly plan updates and daily plans.

What we did

We developed forecasting and monitoring models and methodologies to predict and monitor seat availability versus seat cost during any stage of each planning cycle. We implemented data-driven tools and work processes to steer towards optimal plans. We identified opportunities to enable updating fleet and crew planning faster and more often. And we implemented a cycle to challenge and, if possible, relief constraints imposed by infrastructure, fleet and operating procedures.

What we accomplished

We halved planning update lead times. We reduced slack in load factors and fleet utilisation in each cycle, and made the load factor versus fleet utilisation trade-off explicit. We provided the integrated planning teams with tools and ways of working to monitor both of the above issues constantly and consistently during each planning cycle. We drafted a next year plan to maintain service (95%+ seat availability) while further reducing cost per seat-kilometre.