Siemens wins contract to build 94 trains for the London Underground
The trains will b...
The German manufacturer, Siemens, has been awarded a £1.5bn (US$1.99bn) contract by Transport for London (TfL) to replace 94 trains.
The trains will be designed for the London Underground, dubbed the Tube, for the Piccadilly line – which travels between the centre of London and Heathrow airport.
The trains to be replaced were designed in 1975 and have surpassed their 40-year life expectancy.
The new underground trains are expected to be in operation by 2023, as part of the Deep Tube Upgrade Programme which aims to incorporate three more trains per hour.
The manufacturer will develop the trains in Goole, East Yorkshire, where it had previously planned to open a train-building facility.
The £200mn ($266mn) factory was dependant on whether the firm received substantial orders.
“The Siemens Mobility Limited factory would employ up to 700 people in skilled engineering and manufacturing roles, plus up to an additional 250 people during the construction phase of the factory,” TfL stated.
“As a result, around 1,700 indirect jobs would be created throughout the UK supply chain,” it continued.
“It demonstrated that investment in London creates jobs and apprenticeships opportunities righ across the country.”
“The trains will transform the journeys of millions of our customers, and provide faster, more frequent and more reliable trains for decades to come.”
TfL also received bids from a joint venture between Bombardier and Hitachi, as well as France-based Alstom, for the project.
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.