Don’t just manage your rail crew management, optimize it

It’s one thing to manage a crew, and it’s another thing to do it effectively. Yet railroads across the board are faced with accomplishing both. When allocating a crew, a railroad must take into consideration the qualifications of the work crew, the unique requirements of the specific run, and the schedules of both the trains and the crew members.

Imbalanced crew allocation results and difficulties in meeting scheduling, credential, and requirement needs easily translates into a loss of money and time. It’s a no-brainer, a product of a system that is functioning but isn’t running optimized or running efficiently.

What’s the solution to this challenge? What we need is crew management software that considers multiple factors like eligibility, HoS (Hours of Service), crew availability, crew rests periods that align with union regulations, crew seniority, and qualifications of the crew to come up with optimized process to assign crew members. 

In CloudMoyo Crew Management (CCM), we’ve addressed each of the complexities unique to crew management by creating an automated, flexible system that optimizes the scheduling processes for freight railroads. By functioning as a decision support engine, CMM can help you reduce delays associated with empty crew polls and optimize train schedules.

For example, there is a 3-5% reduction in schedule delays due to crew assignments that can increase the capacity of rail freight throughput by 1-15%.

Who is impacted by the complexity of crew allocation – and what is the impact?

Rail operations department, crew dispatchers, admin, terminal operators, supervisors, the labor relations department, and payroll are impacted by inefficiencies in crew allocation. These inefficiencies result in expensive crew times, unplanned lodging and taxi expenses, plus train schedule disruption.

And it’s not just operators who are impacted, it’s also the crew themselves. One wrong allocation and a railroad could be faced with a crew member who’s reached their eight hour of work away from their station and is required by union rules and regulations to take a four-hour break. As a result, you must open your checkbook and pay for the crew member to stay at a hotel and shuttle back to the station at the end of their break.

Or what if you have an unplanned amount of crew in proportion to what you need for your trains? At that point, you’ll have crew being assigned to work in the yard – all without the aid of an integrated system that can capture these last-minute changes in allocation. This means that assignments aren’t captured, making it difficult for crew dispatchers to know who is available and ready to be allocated to a train.

Another pain point would be in maintaining crew hours of service (HOS). Without a mobile system to maintain HOS, you run the risk of making inaccuracies which in turn cause inefficiencies. Crew members who may arrive at the station but be assigned to work in the yard instead of on a train may not be able to record their place of assignment, which means that there will be inaccuracies in pay that’ll have to be reconciled later.

What are some of benefits of a cloud-based crew management system?

One of the number-one benefits of a cloud-based crew management system is cost savings.

You’ve probably heard of deadheads, the moving of the crew for non-logistical reasons. Crew may be required to be transported back to another station to complete the round trip or for compliance with FRA regulations about rest periods. An efficient railroad company wants to avoid deadheads to avoid the additional expense associated with transporting crew when they’re off duty.

A moving crew is like a moving train: they’re profitable. By reducing the number of deadheads, avoiding unnecessary hotel costs, and optimizing your crew, you run a more efficient and budget-friendly crew. It’s a win-win situation for you and your crew.

There’s an HR dimension to efficient crew scheduling software as well. Just imagine the potential of disputes arising out of mismanagement of crew schedules and assignments. Instead, you can avoid these conflicts and opt for a system that makes your scheduling and assigning easier for both you and your crew.

Because a happy work crew and a profitable train go hand-in-hand.

The benefits of a cloud-based, crew management system is interconnected: First, you can optimize your crew scheduling, starting with ensuring that your crew qualified to work and then assign them to their train without undue delay. By completing each step of this process with the least amount of hiccups, you can avoidance delays or service unavailability that flows out of crew unavailability. 

What would this system look like for your company?

Crew boards and crew assignments are formulated with a sophisticated algorithm, which factors in parameters like crew eligibility, qualification and availability, hours of service, duty hour compliances, crew penalties, leave records, vacations, and bidding.

But wait, there’s more: biometric devices record the attendance of crew members and an interactive response system notifies crew members of upcoming duties. The system also hosts crew profile and skill profile management, configurable work hours and service cancelation rules.

In short, it’s a software solution that built for the unique needs of rail crew management, that centralizes and optimizes your scheduling and crew assigning, and helps you lower costs, eliminate wait times, and increase efficiency.

Our goal is to create a rail crewing software that works optimally for your railroad company. And we don’t want to end the conversation here. You can explore more of the features and benefits of a cloud-based CCM system here or request a demo today.