About Trinity Rail
One of the world’s largest providers of railcar services and products, TrinityRail, part of Trinity Industries, Inc., provides a single source for comprehensive rail transportation solutions. It offers extensive manufacturing resources and a complete product line of new railcars, including covered hoppers, flat cars, gondolas, open hoppers, box cars and tank cars. It also offers one of the fastest growing railcar lease fleets in North America.
TrinityRail’s wide-ranging railcar services provides customers with enhanced transportation efficiencies and optimized fleet utilization.
The Challenge and Benefit
Critical to winning orders, TrinityRail needed to have the available capacity to meet lead time demands on products with a 30 to 50 year lifecycle and a two to three year backlog at any given time. Faced with an increasingly complex manufacturing environment— every freight railcar is configured to unique customer specifications—made actually doing so much easier said than done. Accurately forecasting demand was a near impossible feat, and each car type having its own relatively independent business cycle compounded the problem.
Add to that extensive material impacts and lost capacity courtesy of constant line change overs, elastic planning horizons where scheduling can change week to week, managing the $50M worth of materials received weekly, and a business built around independent work groups, and the challenges to overcome were immense.
Foregoing operational forecasting required a tool that allowed increased flexibility and enhanced responsiveness. Supply chain management solution Kinaxis® RapidResponse® fit the bill. RapidResponse became the central hub to enable fast, accurate and coordinated planning, while allowing for easy collaboration across all business functions.
TrinityRail was able to realize significant improvements in the management of its supply chain, including virtually eliminating the reliance on Excel. The risk of error has also been greatly reduced as everyone is now working from a single, harmonized data set, and the need for manual data transfers has been substantially reduced. That SPS, which used to take days to create and weeks to execute, is now completed in hours—including implementing any required changes across all departments.
Dealing with uncertainty is the most difficult thing a supply chain practitioner has to do. Deciding how to manage that uncertainty is one of the most important decisions you have to make. For us, that meant adopting a sense and respond strategy.”