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It is always surprising to see how many challenges are repeated across the different industries that we deal with. In this newsletter we highlight a number of topical issues in the hope that some of the solutions we have found in particular industries can be adopted more generally.
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Commercial Management
The rail industry continues to change to respond to new organisational structures and responsibilities. One of the biggest changes taking place is in the standards upon which the industry is based. Overall they are becoming less prescriptive and more output based. Specifically they are being stratified and co-ordinated so that regulators, infrastructure providers and operators have standards at the right level of detail for their needs.

For one major rail company, Icon helped to create a structure for the complete set of company standards, and we are now providing the commercial management for the four year multi-million pound project to rewrite them. The challenge is to handle the many thousands of standards and to put the procedures in place to assure the quality and integrity of the output. These procedures are the key to a successful outcome.

The commercial work starts with preparing business cases and presenting them for approval. We work through the procurement cycle of writing the scope of works, producing procurement strategies, evaluating proposals, undertaking contract negotiations, and project control and management. The latter includes analysing and forecasting data to control costs against budget at both the programme and project levels.

We perform risk assessments and implement controls to ensure that the objectives and deliverables of these projects are managed.

It is not often that we can say that the UK railway industry is ahead of the game. In this case they are going through a major standards restructuring before the aviation industry. It will be interesting to see how the aviation community responds to the Single European Sky and how long it takes to put Implementing Rules in place. Four years have passed very quickly for the rail industry. Aviation will not have that long!

Strategy Optimisation
Icon provides regular advice to a major manufacturing company that is both a generator and a consumer of hydroelectric power. It can buy in a limited quantity of power from the grid when necessary to help conserve water levels, and can also sell power to the grid. However, if it is short of power and has to cut production, it incurs significant costs and a long start-up procedure.

The challenge is to design a power strategy that will maximise profit for the company. The strategy is concerned with minimising the dual risks of spilling water over the dams and having too little water available to generate sufficient power to maintain full manufacturing output. These risks change at different times of the year and under different operating conditions.

Icon uses simulation techniques to explore the complexities of the power and water management system. We devise an overall strategy with our client that will manage the level of risk and optimise profits. We then provide a tool to assist day-to-day decision making on how much power to buy or sell.

Our approach is driven by the problem at hand rather than any particular software package. Thus a similar approach can be used in any situation where trade-offs are at work and there is uncertainty in any of the operating parameters. This type of work forms part of our decision support service.

Performance Measurement
Icon has provided a comprehensive lecture on Performance Measurement in Air Traffic Management for the Cranfield University MSc in Air Transport Management and Engineering. If you are an academic institution or commercial organisation, we would be pleased to make this lecture available to you by arrangement.

Airport Performance
Icon has developed a methodology and analysis tool that can be used to investigate current operational performance on the airside of airports and identify areas where capacity can be released. The methodology is contained within PIATA, a Performance Indicator Analysis Tool for Airports available from EUROCONTROL

Airport ATM Business Case

The skies may appear to be limitless but airports are not. It is a real challenge to provide air traffic services that will maximise the capacity of existing airports.

The EUROCONTROL Airport Operations Programme identified a number of projects designed to improve the capacity, safety, cost-effectiveness and environmental effects on the airside of airports. Icon was invited to prepare a business case to investigate the value of the projects to each airport stakeholder and in total, and whether there was added value from combining the projects into a managed programme of work.

There are two outputs from the work. The first is a framework that can be used by any airport to make its own assessment of the value of potential ATM improvement projects. The second is a worked example of an overall, pan-European business case. A report containg both is available on the EUROCONTROL web site.

We are alsoworking on an initial cost-benefit case for the Dynamic Management of the European Airspace Network (DMEAN) Programme, designed to provide the necessary capacity in Europe through flexible airspace structures and collaborative decision making. We will publish information on this in our next newsletter.

The design and evaluation of these pan-European, pan-industry, pan-technology programmes is complex. If you need a business case for a complex programme we shall be pleased to advise.

If you are interested in any of the issues and solutions discussed in this newsletter please contact us.


Icon Consulting, 2Fl, Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BD
tel: +44 (0) 207 494 9994 | email: enquiries@icon-consulting.com