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 provide customers with enhanced transportation efficiencies and optimized fleet utilization.
The Challenge and Benefit
To win 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. The company’s 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 changeovers, 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.
Forgoing 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 its 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.