Automated Fleet Planning System for a Leading North American Railcar Company

Case Study

Automated Fleet Planning System for a Leading North American Railcar Company

Business Objective

Our client is the fleet planning department of a leading operator in the North American railroad industry with a fleet of 200,000+ railcars.

The client wanted to develop an automated railcar fleet planning system to enable capacity planning and maintenance planning.

Challenges

  • Large number of internal and external Data sources
  • Complexity of business operations
  • Manual and ad hoc data collection/preparation
  • Integration of data automation and analytical modeling layers

Solution Methodology 

  • Developed models to forecast Import/Export commodity volumes for the United States and Canada based on import/export data, industry data, and macroeconomic data. Automated data extraction, preparation, and modeling
  • Developed a suite of models to forecast Loadings for each O-D (Origin-Destination), Lane by Fleet Type using Import/Export forecasts as inputs.
  • Used the loading forecast model as input to develop models for forecasting Cycle Time for each O-D Lane by Fleet Type, monthly mileage for each fleet type, and fleet demand/usage
  • Developed models to forecast demand for each fleet type in the North American market. Developed business logic for capacity planning and placing new fleet orders

Business Impact

  • Developed a fully automated system to generate fleet forecasts, identify future capacity requirements, and place orders for new railcars.
  • The system:
    • Eliminates manual steps and automates data extraction and preparation from numerous data sources
    • Integrates data automation layer with an embedded analytical modeling layer
    • Has “What-if” analysis capability to analyze different economic scenarios e.g., growth, decline, neutral, etc
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