One of the conclusions of Arjen Zoeteman, who will defend his thesis on 22 November at TU Delft, is that significant amounts of money could be saved on the maintenance of European railway systems, including the Netherlands. Through a carefully structured schedule and a detailed analysis of maintenance work, he was able to achieve a cost reduction of 10 percent for the Dutch railway system.
The operators of the rail networks, such as NS, are continuously increasing the demands on the administrators, such as Prorail (in the Netherlands). The type of maintenance work is therefore shifting from craftsmanship based on individual knowledge to an engineering discipline in which quantitative calculations play an important role. According to Zoeteman, most European railway administrators fall short in their analysis and scheduling of maintenance. This shows in, among other things, the lack of detailed information systems for the analysis of maintenance performance. Another aspect that Zoeteman states should be strongly developed is a ‘life-cycle’ way of thinking, in which long term cost-effectiveness is taken into account.
One of the underlying problems, according to Zoeteman, is the division of the maintenance work into separate disciplines and maintenance regions (the Netherlands, for example, has four regions). At the moment, budgets are generally granted based on requests that come from the ‘bottom up’, in other words, from the various disciplines and regions. Zoeteman thinks that a centrally managed process of quality guarantee, based on an overview of the total situation will deliver better results.
Maarten van der Sanden | alfa
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