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Eastern Railroad Discussion > PSR and the customer.


Date: 12/05/18 11:55
PSR and the customer.
Author: NYSWSD70M

It must be interesting to be in an industry where your customer base is regularly dissatisfied with your service and yet not one metric is in place to measure this aspect of your business. Door to door transit time? Nope! Customer Retention? No way! Customer satisfaction? They don't understand the Railroad Industry!

I could go on...

Posted from Android



Date: 12/05/18 12:49
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: exopr

It seems as though shareholder value is most important now. 



Date: 12/05/18 12:58
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: Lackawanna484

NYSWSD70M Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It must be interesting to be in an industry where
> your customer base is regularly dissatisfied with
> your service and yet not one metric is in place to
> measure this aspect of your business. Door to
> door transit time? Nope! Customer Retention? No
> way! Customer satisfaction? They don't
> understand the Railroad Industry!
>
> I could go on...
>
> Posted from Android

That's a benefit of operating a monopoly business.  Your customers have few alternatives, you have "friends" in the government, so you just mint money.

Customers who find it worthwhile to truck goods will do so.  Customers who are captive will complain, usually to little benefit.



Date: 12/05/18 13:36
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: NYSWSD70M

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> NYSWSD70M Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > It must be interesting to be in an industry
> where
> > your customer base is regularly dissatisfied
> with
> > your service and yet not one metric is in place
> to
> > measure this aspect of your business. Door to
> > door transit time? Nope! Customer Retention? No
> > way! Customer satisfaction? They don't
> > understand the Railroad Industry!
> >
> > I could go on...
> >
> > Posted from Android
>
> That's a benefit of operating a monopoly
> business.  Your customers have few alternatives,
> you have "friends" in the government, so you just
> mint money.
>
> Customers who find it worthwhile to truck goods
> will do so.  Customers who are captive will
> complain, usually to little benefit.


Yes but the options get better or at least easier every day. As more and more manufacturing becomes "light" the less railroads are needed.

I think you have keyed into a key fact which is railroads think, "what are they gonna do"? Answer: switch to something else and it's most often truck.

Intermodal is growing this year but trucking has grown at a greater rate even with all of its driver related challenges! PSR will only make this worse. Two years from now the next trend will be to punish carriers who don't embrace some buzz word growth initiative.



Date: 12/05/18 13:41
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: PRR1361

See Fred Frailey's recent Trains blog re this issue.  Very simple; tie bonuses to customer satisfaction, OT delivery, etc metrics, not OR.
 



Date: 12/05/18 13:48
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: bobwilcox

Customer satisfaction is measured by at least one if not all Class 1s in the US.  However, it is not available to the public.  Why should this information be public?

Bob Wilcox
Charlottesville, VA
My Flickr Shots



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/05/18 14:09 by bobwilcox.



Date: 12/05/18 14:14
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: wabash2800

Yes, that is another thing that Wall Street wants is growth.You can only squeeze blood out of a turnip so much. Eventually, you'll need growth (more sales) to get more profit. God help you if you start losing sales that you don't want to lose.

Victor A. Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com

NYSWSD70M Wrote:
-Two years from now the next trend
> will be to punish carriers who don't embrace some
> buzz word growth initiative.



Date: 12/05/18 14:35
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: Lackawanna484

One issue is the difference between operational results and financial results.  In recent years, the two presentations have begun to vary widely.  They used to be very congruent.

Operational results mean just that. The gains or losses from running trains, maintaining track, paying people, serving customers, etc.  The railroad's Operating Ratio is a crude proxy for that, as is cash flow from operations.

Financial results include a lot more transactions.  Depreciation from equipment and right of way.  Carryforward tax losses, gains in investments held, changes in the defined beneit pension plan interest rate and discount factors, options exercises, stock buybacks, etc. 

"Wall Street" focuses on the financial results, but listening to any conference call, you'll hear a lot of very detailed traffic and coal outlook, etc



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/05/18 16:42 by Lackawanna484.



Date: 12/05/18 14:59
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: spwolfmtn

bobwilcox Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Customer satisfaction is measured by at least one
> if not all Class 1s in the US.  However, it is
> not available to the public.  Why should this
> information be public?

Well, yes, you are partially correct.  It depends WHO the customer is that they measure performance and satisfaction.  If you are a major customer, then yes, the railroad listens to you (at BNSF, UPS says "jump", and BNSF does!).  On the other hand, if your are the hundreds of small, carload customers; those that don't generate an entire train, or in intermodal, those that don't load half a train like the big boys do, well, you are little more than an "ant" to them and as such, very little attention is paid to you.

I asked a marketing/salesman for the railroad a question one day (his area was with customers that use the railroad's carload "services"; ie boxcars, flatcars, etc).  I asked him what do you tell your clients when their cars sit in the yard for days on end, take such a long time to move to their destinations, and that service is so highly variable and erratic.  He told me that well, they know it's the railroad and they expect that kind of service...  I'm not kidding about this!

I'm afraid this is the mentality at Class one railroads and why a very profitable segment of their business is withering away.



Date: 12/05/18 15:58
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: mttrainman1

Despite too many negatives to count over the last year, right now csx is pushing VERY hard in my area to deliver cars to customers and interchange partners. If a car sits, upper management is taking notice. In the push to keep car dwell down in terminals, the customer is the winner. I have never seen so many extra local assignments called to get cars moving over the weekends. Quite a few local and yard jobs have gone from 5-day weeks to 6 or 7-day assignments to increase fluidity. I hope this is the new norm. All we need now is more crews trained and hired....



Date: 12/05/18 17:02
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: tomstp

The increase in locals is intersting.   Please keep us informed.



Date: 12/05/18 17:22
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: Totallamer

mttrainman1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Despite too many negatives to count over the last
> year, right now csx is pushing VERY hard in my
> area to deliver cars to customers and interchange
> partners. If a car sits, upper management is
> taking notice. In the push to keep car dwell down
> in terminals, the customer is the winner. I have
> never seen so many extra local assignments called
> to get cars moving over the weekends. Quite a few
> local and yard jobs have gone from 5-day weeks to
> 6 or 7-day assignments to increase fluidity. I
> hope this is the new norm. All we need now is
> more crews trained and hired....

Locals in my area have been 7 days a week since HH took over.  Off days moved to random times in the week (one job off Tue / Wed, another off Thu / Fri, etc) and that kind of thing.  Of course none of this matters if crews have dwindled down to such a level you can have a local annulled 4 days in a row for lack of people to fill it.  A local that serves an important Dupont plant no less!  Yet they refuse to hire anyone despire 3, 4, sometimes 5 trains sitting at "Order" on the train lineup screen most days.



Date: 12/05/18 18:28
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: tomstp

Pathetic.



Date: 12/05/18 20:40
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: inCHI

Totallamer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Locals in my area have been 7 days a week since HH
> took over.  Off days moved to random times in the
> week (one job off Tue / Wed, another off Thu /
> Fri, etc) and that kind of thing.  Of course none
> of this matters if crews have dwindled down to
> such a level you can have a local annulled 4 days
> in a row for lack of people to fill it.  A local
> that serves an important Dupont plant no less! 
> Yet they refuse to hire anyone despire 3, 4,
> sometimes 5 trains sitting at "Order" on the train
> lineup screen most days.

Interesting point, certainly says a lot about reality. And it really says something if they can't reliably serve the DuPont plant. Does that apply to the one in Bellwood or is there some other location? Are anything of the big Hopewell customers getting messed up? If it is chemical traffic it would be amazing to let the highest-revenue-per-car traffic get screwed up.



Date: 12/06/18 04:10
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: Totallamer

inCHI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Totallamer Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Locals in my area have been 7 days a week since
> HH
> > took over.  Off days moved to random times in
> the
> > week (one job off Tue / Wed, another off Thu /
> > Fri, etc) and that kind of thing.  Of course
> none
> > of this matters if crews have dwindled down to
> > such a level you can have a local annulled 4
> days
> > in a row for lack of people to fill it.  A
> local
> > that serves an important Dupont plant no
> less! 
> > Yet they refuse to hire anyone despire 3, 4,
> > sometimes 5 trains sitting at "Order" on the
> train
> > lineup screen most days.
>
> Interesting point, certainly says a lot about
> reality. And it really says something if they
> can't reliably serve the DuPont plant. Does that
> apply to the one in Bellwood or is there some
> other location? Are anything of the big Hopewell
> customers getting messed up? If it is chemical
> traffic it would be amazing to let the
> highest-revenue-per-car traffic get screwed up.

NS has taken a much larger percentage of the traffic in and out of the Advansix plant in Hopwell (used to be Honeywell, used to be Allied Signal, etc) than before HH.  They also took all the paper traffic at the WestRock mill.  This was due to the changes in boxcar pooling is what I heard.  Of course the result of this is that NS's service in Hopewell has become horrifically bad.



Date: 12/06/18 13:40
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: Chessie

Had my assignment annulled four times in 15 days for lack of a conductor.  Can't service customers without crews. 



Date: 12/06/18 13:48
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: Lackawanna484

Chessie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Had my assignment annulled four times in 15 days
> for lack of a conductor.  Can't service customers
> without crews. 

With the holidays coming soon, staffing will be a huge problem in many places.

(Deer hunting season, too. Guy has to have priorities.)

Posted from Android



Date: 12/06/18 14:01
Re: PSR and the customer.
Author: NYSWSD70M

Chessie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Had my assignment annulled four times in 15 days
> for lack of a conductor.  Can't service customers
> without crews. 

So this isn't PRESCISION or SCHEDULED but it may be RAILROADING! What nonsense!

Posted from Android



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