London Underground – Network Business Services Visualisation

Background

The London Underground (LU) is a public rapid transit system serving London and in the United
Kingdom. The network comprises of 11 lines, and in carries approximately 1.34 billion
passengers a year (4.8million per day), making it the world’s 11th busiest metro system
employing circa 24,000 people.

The performance and reliability of LU is key to enabling it to deliver customer promise of ‘Every
Journey Matters’ and is ultimately vital to the safe and effective operation and growth of
London more widely.

LU reliability performance had been worsening since 2016 following a sustained period of
improvement since 2011. Recognising this, the Managing Director of LU (Mark Wild) and the
wider LU Executive, commissioned a reliability improvement project to ultimately ensure it
delivers the level of performance committed to in the Transport for London (TfL) Business Plan.

Key stakeholders from within the organisation included the Head of Network Business Services,
Head of Skills Development and Head of Establishment Planning. Sponsored by Director of
Network Operations and the Managing Director of London Underground.

The project was to introduce a visual management centre & scorecard to a new function within
Network Operations, the function is Network Business Services which is responsible for
providing all resourcing requirements, timetables, scheduling, training and skills development
for all operational areas of the business. Network Business Services is also responsible for a
number of upgrade programmes including Northern Line Extension, Cross Rail (Elizabeth Line)
and 4 lines modernisation

Challenges

It was quickly identified that when the new function was set up and roles fulfilled there was no
formal reporting mechanism set up to provide transparency and clear understanding of
performance. The rest of Network Operations has a visualisation process in place along with a
balanced scorecard and metrics reviewed on a weekly basis, however this did not exist in
Network Business Services.

There was also an ongoing problem with the Train Operator training programme that was
causing significant delays and impacting staff availability (this was another work stream within
LU). There was no visibility of performance, it was not clear where the issues were manifesting
and what the impact to the business was.

Solutions

The recommended solution was agreed and followed a similar format to those already used
throughout the rest of Network Operations, this consisted of creating a balanced scorecard, visual
management centre and problem solving activity using the standard currently deployed in the rest of
the business.

The approach created consistency and alignment with the rest of the organisation but was tailored to
meet the requirements of the newly formed function.

There was a further recommendation for a End to End process mapping exercise and performance
board design for an ongoing issue with the Train Operator training programme which was having an
impact on staff availability.

The Implementation was split into 5 primary focus areas:

  • Part 1: To work with key stakeholders to agree a balanced scorecard for Network Business Services,
    Skills Development, Establishment Planning and Upgrade Programmes
  • Part 2: To design and implement a Visual Management Centre for Network Business Services
  • Part 3: To design and implement a Visual Management Centre for Skills Development, Establishment
    Planning and Upgrade Programmes
  • Part 4: To provide coaching and knowledge transfer to the organisation to enable them to continue
    developing the system and also to start problem solving using standardised tools and techniques used in other parts of the business
    Part 5: to End to End process map the Train Operator training programme, identify
    issues/opportunities and to visualise the current performance and drive improvement activity

Impact on Performance

  • 6 Heads of departments and 10 senior managers coached and trained in using Visual Management and problem solving tools and techniques using Project 7’s four – step knowledge transfer approach
  • Performance is now visible and generating excellent cross functional working breaking down historic silos
  • There is now a mechanism in place to drive performance through engaging with other parts of the business that previously did not have sight of performance and concerns around delivery.
  • Opportunities are starting to surface through discussions at the Visual Management Centre for example revenue improvement and potential cost savings
  • Performance is now visible of the Train Operator training programme, there is a weekly meeting around the performance board to drive actions and improvements. It is now clear where the issues are and this informs focussed activity to resolve long term delays.

Improvements so far have been…

  • 58% improvement in the availability of train operators due to training delays
  • 42% Reduction in the number of lost shifts due to training delays
  • £56k per week increase in productivity (cost of non productive staff, now productive)