When London Underground (LU) signed four Total Purchased Services (TPS) contracts in March 2010 – it was seeking big cost savings and a step change in service quality. The TPS process has rolled 99 contracts operated by 56 suppliers into just four five-year, fixed-cost contracts. LU estimated they will deliver combined savings of £20 million.
Lanes Group, which already has a strong reputation for its drainage work in the rail sector, was awarded one of the contracts. And twenty months on, major progress has been made, said Matthew Todd, director of Lanes’ Rail Division, at Rainham in Essex.
The contract encompasses seven contracts previously managed separately:
- Vegetation control
- Premises & building maintenance
- Coin counters & safes.
Matthew Todd said: “We’re delivering well on the TPS contract, achieving an average 99.35 per cent of all response targets. LU is getting a better service, rail users are getting an improved travelling experience and new opportunities are now opening up for us in the rail sector.”
The contract covers all 24-7 reactive maintenance which generates more than 18,500 call-outs a year, 12,500 on London Underground Ltd and 6000 on Tube Lines, and planned maintenance, which totals around 24,000 hours’ work each month.
Lanes also undertakes bespoke programmed work to upgrade LU premises. For example, it has just completed the £550,000 refurbishment of Barking Signal Box, turning it into staff accommodation.
Matthew Todd said: “In the rail sector, Lanes Group is now much more than the UK’s largest independent drainage company. We can deliver a broad range of services, whether reactive, planned or bespoke.”Delivering continuous improvement – creating new opportunities
Lanes’ contract bid strategy was to ask all the incumbent providers to join them, which they did. Together they had an unrivalled understanding of working for LU.
With the contract signed, they had just three months to mobilise. A single management structure was put in place, with all staff in Lanes Group uniforms. One call centre for all services was established and clear communications channels with LU set up.
LU’s performance expectations under TPS are challenging. There are financial penalties for non-compliance and a clear expectation to drive down ‘faults raised’, a LU KPI.
Matthew Todd said: “The fixed contract has been good for us because it’s allowed us to plan investment across all functions. We can invest in new equipment, systems and training. Staff morale and safety has improved significantly.”
Lanes also works strategically with LU to prevent faults. For example, at Baker Street station, identified as a fault ‘hotspot’, urinals were being blocked constantly. So Lanes suggested installing waterless ones. Faults have fallen and thousands of gallons of water saved.
Lanes has introduced ‘station checks’, where staff sent out on specific jobs record other potential problems so they can be managed proactively with the client before they cause faults.
One of the biggest impacts, said Matthew Todd, has been the sheer ability to respond to critical challenges. For example, during the recent riots, multi-disciplinary teams were dispatched under the guidance and control of LU to assist with ensuring stations were safe and operable by the next traffic hours shift.
“The introduction of TPS has definitely been positive,” said Matthew Todd. “It has improved day-to-day performance and our ability to response to crises. That will stand us in good stead during the Olympics.”
The Lanes Group Rail Division also responds to reactive faults to civils and trackside drainage assets for Tube Lines, which manages the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.
The company hopes its success and commitment to TPS will help win future work
“We can clearly demonstrate our ability with large multi-disciplinary contracts,” said Matthew Todd. “Our Link-up accreditation has been greatly enhanced which is opening up new opportunities in the rail industry and beyond.”Health and safety, quality and innovation – central to TPS success
Winning the TPS contract has allowed Lanes Group to enhance an already strong reputation for quality and health and safety.
The Rail Division’s success helped Lanes Group win a Rospa Gold Award for the second consecutive year which the company aims to retain in 2012. Progress has been based on a willingness to review and change fundamental practices, attention to detail and a culture of innovation, said Rail Division health and safety manager Scott Tracey.
Staff are listened to and told what will be done about their concerns. Managers are encouraged to spend time on the front line. Where training has been irrelevant or inadequate it has been changed.
There is now an in-house Rail Division training centre. PASMA training is carried out in-house. A rolling programme of demonstrations of safety requirements and techniques is used to embed best practice. Emergency first-aid training has been increased from one day to three – and is tailored specifically for the Division’s needs.
Staff can report safety concerns anonymously through report cards. Every month, a Safety Hour is held involving managers, randomly selected staff and LU representatives to discuss safety issues openly, including the content of the confidential safety cards.
Innovation is key. A new harness system has just been approved for working at height on station roofs that will significantly improve safety and allow teams to work faster.
Developing new working practices has reduced safety risks and costs. For example, pipework is increasingly patch-lined rather than replaced.
Work is underway to allow Lanes for Drains’ HD Panoramo surveillance cameras, the most sophisticated in the drainage industry, to be used to inspect rail tunnels and shafts, as well as pipes.
The Lanes Group LU Rail Division has achieved ISO 9001 and recently ISO 14001, the environmental protection standard – in the process, dramatically reducing waste.
Scott Tracey said: “Health and safety, innovation and quality standards all go together to enhance performance in the rail industry. TPS has allowed us to bring all services up to Lanes for Drains’ standard and drive forward together.”Lanes Group Rail Division is rising to the TPS challenge says LU
The new TPS contracts have represented a sizable change in approach and much is riding on their success. Judging by performance so far, said LU premises and structures manager Paul Haynes, there is significant cause for optimism.
“With Lanes, the contracts have been very successful,” he added. “They are delivering economies of scale and improved performance. Lanes, in particular, have thrown themselves fully behind the concept and have delivered what I consider to be a very good service, so far.”
“Lanes’ ‘wealth of experience’ on the underground and ‘exemplary’ record on health and safety, helped win the contract. Now they are delivering it in a way that represents best practice,” he said.
“They are a stand-out contractor. For example, they mirror what we do. Working with colleagues in the Asset Performance Directorate, we hold visualisation meetings every week where we challenge performance, then record progress and agreed actions on a board.
“When you go into the Lanes depot, they have the same meetings and use the same kind of boards which helps them stay in step with our thinking.
“TPS is all about collaboration at all levels. Talk to anyone at Lanes, from the directors to the shop floor, and you find that everyone gets this and understands what needs to be done.”
LU operates ‘Reliability Growth Plans’ to continuously improve the performance of assets and Lanes contributes fully to the process, by generating ideas and fully embracing those that come from LU.
Paul Haynes said: “We are only 18 months into what are five-year contracts, so it’s early days. But we’re seeing the benefits and that’s because of the very positive way we are able to work with Lanes.”
For further information, please contact:
Lanes for Drains
Tel: 01708 553 555