Value Stream Analysis


Our client, Network Rail, is the UK’s largest rail infrastructure provider, employing approximately 35,000 employees across a large range of disciplines. Operating under the control of the UK Government, Network Rail own and manage the infrastructure for most of the rail network across England, Scotland and Wales.

As a state-owned organisation, its main customers include private train operating companies [TOCs], responsible for passenger transport, and freight operating companies [FOCs] who provide freight transportation services on the infrastructure that Network Rail own and maintain.


While the business was looking at moving to a devolved model, and thus looking at the ideal end state for the services previously managed through the centre, Project7 were commissioned to complete a Value Stream Analysis of the aggregate end-to-end supply process; from Quarry of origin, through Local Distribution Centre [LDC], to the Route Point of Use, and back.

The Value Stream Analysis concluded in the creation of a current state map, with the capture of opportunities to be considered in the future state design phase. Finally, a future state map was formulated to establish the best way of working going forward, with an associated high-level plan to take the Client through the transition, from current to future state operating models.

The future state recommendations were based on implementing and sustaining a pull system, as opposed to the push system the Client previously had in place. The bene ts from this process would allow the Area Holding Depot [AHD] to control the quality, size and amount of ballast delivered on to Depot, whilst improving efficiency through reducing fuel costs and manpower requirements, as a result of less material handling and more proactive planning.


Project7 were awarded a 6-week extension to pilot Visual Performance Management [VPM] techniques in 2 AHDs [Crewe & Carlisle]. The aim of the pilot phase was to test and prove the Visual Management process, define the KPIs, and embed the process. This involved:

  • Identification of problem-solving opportunities
  • Documentation of the processes – to ensure the sharing of best practice to other AHDs
  • Creation of a process confirmation system – to ensure sustainability

Prior to the development, standardisation and implementation of Visual Management, and the associated management rules, there was:

  • No standard process for managers to plan their weekly workload and gauge performance
  • Poor awareness and understanding of the problems caused by lack of a standard process
  • Poor visibility and feedback loops for daily issues and concerns
  • No set of standard metrics across all AHDs, leading to inability to aid smoothing demand
  • No data available to quantify problems, to enable effective root cause countermeasures

The problems encountered through ineffective planning can be measured by 5 primary KPIs:

  1. New ballast stockpile size – stock rotation is key for quality
  2. VQ utilisation
  3. VT utilisation
  4. Road utilisation
  5. Throughput – how many tons are being moved, per man, per hour consumed

Wasted time and rework was buried in the AHD’s initial process, which was dif cult to measure using the previous system, but, ultimately, an improvement in performance was realised through ensuring all of the ve KPIs were being measured and reviewed each week.

Impact on Performance