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
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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
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
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
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.
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.
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
a Performance Indicator Analysis Tool for Airports available from
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
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.