Bombardier to supply new generation of passenger rail cars for New Jersey
Global mobility provider Bombardier Transportation has signed a US$669mn contract for 113 Multilevel III commuter rail cars with the New Jersey Transit Corporation. The contract is valued at US$669mn and includes options for up to 886 additional cars. This represents Bombardier’s third contract with NJ TRANSIT.
Pierre-Yves Cohen, President, responsible for products and engineering at Bombardier Transportation, said, “This contract will consist of cab cars, trailer cars, restroom-equipped trailer cars and new power cars that can replace locomotives and create self-propelled trains, providing NJ TRANSIT with increased operational flexibility. Additionally, the Multilevel III cars will be fully compatible and interoperable with the Multilevel I and II cars.”
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The range of new features on the Multilevel III cars will include: colour infotainment screens that display real-time information about stations and connections; USB charging ports located at comfortable 2x2 seats; an onboard video surveillance system for increased security; wider vestibules for improved wheelchair accessibility; new bicycle racks; an intelligent LED lighting system with automatic brightness control; and motorised restroom doors for easier access for all passengers. The cars will be equipped with Positive Train Control equipment for increased passenger safety.
Following US rulings that manufacturing should be bought back in house, the deal will require no additional work for its Canadian operations, where the company’s plant in Plattsburgh will cater to increased demands.
Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Bombardier has production and engineering sites in 28 countries across the segments of Transportation, Business Aircraft, Commercial Aircraft and Aerostructures and Engineering Services. Bombardier shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, Bombardier posted revenues of $16.2bn.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.