What our strategic business plan delivers

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We exist to help the industry maximise its potential. And key to achieving that is designing a business strategy matched to industry needs. 

Key industry challenges

Understanding the industry context, its challenges, and its opportunities is the essential first step. It determines our priorities and how we use our resources and capabilities effectively and efficiently. We view the following, in descending priority order, as the key industry challenges at the moment:

  1. cost reduction and performance
  2. meeting customers’ needs
  3. improving reliability 
  4. adopting technology 
  5. meeting the freight growth target
  6. value to society and sustainability.

Our senior executive team develops our Strategic Business Plan with input from our board. We also consult with industry about it. This allows us to include strategic insights from across the sector. And this means that our strategy can benefit the whole industry.

Six vital areas

Since 2019, our core strategy has focused on six vital areas for the provision of tools, services, and resources. These are: 

  • safer rail
  • healthier rail
  • harmonised rail
  • efficient rail
  • future rail
  • sustainable rail. 

These are the most important areas for rail, and we’ve treated them as separate domains in their own right. They will remain essential for rail as we look to the future, so they’re still in our strategy for 2024–29. 

However, we also need to recognise the complex ways in which technologies are changing. Focusing our actions only on separate areas assumes that there are no overlaps between different systems. But this is no longer the case. Different technologies and systems increasingly interact, sometimes with unexpected results. This means that if we focus only on separate areas, we may overlook important issues and possibly limit our impact.

Strategic multipliers

To address this issue, our new Strategic Business Plan introduces ‘strategic multipliers’. This is where we combine the expertise of our different teams to address important overlaps between systems. We’ll do this to respond to six challenges:

  • safety and health insights for the future
  • enabling automation and benefitting from artificial intelligence
  • improving testing capabilities
  • exploiting the value of data
  • improving weather resilience and preparedness for a changing climate
  • embedding sustainability.

Combining our knowledge and capabilities in this way will help our members to increase the impact of their actions.

We’re proud of our new Strategic Business Plan for the next five years. We feel it’ll help us structure our support to industry between 2024 and 2029.

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