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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Hadi Ghaderi, Jiangang Fei and Stephen Cahoon

– The purpose of this paper is to identify current impediments to the competitiveness of the rail industry in the Australian non-bulk freight market.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify current impediments to the competitiveness of the rail industry in the Australian non-bulk freight market.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review was adapted to identify the impediments and challenge themes from 1,081 studies available on the Australian rail industry. To select the studies relevant to the research question, a tollgate criterion was then deployed. Impediments were identified by a structured data synthesis process and a heuristic algorithm was developed to explore the possible relationships between the impediments and challenges.

Findings

Four major themes are apparent, each of which presents the rail industry with challenges in the non-bulk freight market. “Infrastructural inefficiencies and the need for further integration” was ranked as the main rail industry challenge, while “environmental concerns and the associated costs of externalities” was the least. In addition, across the four themes data synthesis identified 43 impediments from purely policy related to technical and operational aspects.

Research limitations/implications

The major implication of this review is the identification of impediments that have no linkage to the four industry challenges as revealed by stakeholders in the literature. That means that the rail industry has been dealing with a number of issues that have not been explored and studied in depth either by practitioners or academics. The underlying elements of impediments in this group are perceived as managerial, organisational and leadership factors. The rail industry has failed to manage its organisational ties across the system, both horizontally and vertically. This issue has been intensified as the result of complex interactions between different transport modes and operators associated with the non-bulk freight sector.

Originality/value

For the first time in the Australian context, this study provides an en masse and summarised picture of impediments to the competitiveness of the rail industry in the non-bulk freight market by systematically reviewing the reports generated by different stakeholders in the last ten years. The outcomes will assist the rail industry and government to understand impediments impacting on the quality of rail freight services that may lead to collaboration on decision-making and investment strategies.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Tom Short and Roger McL. Harris

This paper aims to explore why harmonisation, given its potential, is so difficult to achieve. It analyses the issues and challenges in achieving harmonisation of training…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore why harmonisation, given its potential, is so difficult to achieve. It analyses the issues and challenges in achieving harmonisation of training and development across an industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach was a meta-analysis of six research projects undertaken in the Australian rail industry. These projects varied in duration from 12-24 months. Between 2009 and 2013, rail employees in varying roles and levels of seniority, including middle managers, front-line supervisors, rail incident investigators, track workers and drivers, were interviewed (n = 176) and surveyed (n = 341).

Findings

The meta-analysis identified a range of characteristics associated with harmonisation. It uncovered three categories of harmonisation, seven types of risk modelled in a layered risk pyramid and analysed key structural, environmental and organisational barriers to harmonisation. The paper concludes that harmonisation struggles to gain strategic significance and is hampered by operational pragmatism.

Research limitations/implications

There are few published papers examining harmonisation across companies or based on meta-analyses, especially qualitatively. Despite limitations of insufficient detail to allow close analysis, potentially variable quality data across projects from which to develop a meta-analysis and the danger of comparing apples with oranges, more attempts using this approach would be helpful in gaining nuanced insights into an industry.

Practical implications

Achieving industry harmonisation requires significant change in the mindset of executives. To enhance the chances of harmonisation, there is need for a strong national entity with overview of the entire industry, high-quality training and development resources and activities and cost-benefit analyses and active campaigns. A major outcome of this research is the risk pyramid, which can be used by managers as a strategic evaluation tool. By using such tools based on sound research, leaders can be equipped to make informed decisions and reduce downstream risks.

Originality/value

This research has value in extending the literature in two main ways: through examining the notion of harmonisation across an industry as distinct from within organisations that has been the focus of most studies and through using qualitative meta-analysis in a field dominated by quantitative approaches. It analyses the grey areas between rhetoric about its potential and difficulties in its achievement.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Chris Baldry and James Ellison

The purpose of this research is to focus on the serious but under‐examined incidence of fatalities and injuries among rail trackworkers. It identifies the pressures on…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to focus on the serious but under‐examined incidence of fatalities and injuries among rail trackworkers. It identifies the pressures on trackwork, locating them within an analysis of the economic structure of the privatised rail industry and illustrates the consequences of these pressures at the operational level.

Design/methodology/approach

A series of semi‐structured interviews was held with management representatives of the infrastructure and maintenance companies, rail safety bodies and officials and representatives of the RMT. These were supplemented by focus‐group style discussions with track maintenance workers in Scotland and the North of England. The paper then relates these qualitative data to the analysis of recent major incidents which have involved fatalities of rail employees.

Findings

Within the structure of the post‐privatised industry, improvements to the safety regime are always in danger of being constrained by countervailing economic and organisational pressures. There is a marked discrepancy between the higher level safety structure and the experience of employees at track level.

Practical implications

There is virtually no workforce input into the construction of safety procedures despite the fact that rail workers' commitment to the industry represents a large untapped resource for safety improvement.

Originality/value

The rail industry in general, and trackwork in particular, have been conspicuously under‐researched since privatisation.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2005

David J. Closs, Diane A. Mollenkopf and Scott B. Keller

The chemical industry is struggling to improve its supply chain performance, and improved asset utilization may help get the industry headed in the right direction. Since…

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1452

Abstract

Purpose

The chemical industry is struggling to improve its supply chain performance, and improved asset utilization may help get the industry headed in the right direction. Since most chemical firms own or lease their rail fleets, rail utilization can have a substantial impact on overall asset utilization. The paper aims to focus on current managerial processes and situational factors that impact railcar asset performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Rail car cycle data are analyzed, focusing on major sources of variation in transit inventory as railcars move from plant to customer and back.

Findings

Findings include the importance of establishing and adhering to policies regarding supply chain practices; substantial differences exist between hopper and tank car performance; distance is not a major predictor of total cycle time variance; and vendor‐managed inventory relationships can operate with less customer inventory.

Research limitations/implications

This paper addresses only one component of supply chain performance: railcar cycle time. Further analysis is needed to investigate differences between hopper car and tank car transit times. Additional research should also involve the railroad companies as participants in chemical firms' supply chains.

Practical implications

The paper provides several practical recommendations for chemical company supply chain managers relating to process controls, focusing on large customer accounts, managing transit time and variation of rail cars between plant and factory. The findings and recommendations can be applied across many industries.

Originality/value

This paper focuses on supply chain practices in the chemical industry, which has been slow to adopt supply chain practices. In particular, this paper investigates railcar coordination as one means of enhancing supply chain performance, reducing both inventory and transportation assets.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2009

Robert Jupe

The paper aims to examine the role, funding and status of Network Rail, a very significant example of New Labour's attempt to operationalise the “third way”. The analysis…

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1974

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to examine the role, funding and status of Network Rail, a very significant example of New Labour's attempt to operationalise the “third way”. The analysis of Network Rail is used to critique the “third way” approach to policy‐making in Britain.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines Network Rail, and the significant changes that have occurred since its creation, in the context of the claims originally made for the company by Transport Secretary Byers. It employs critical financial analysis and non‐financial performance indicators to examine the “third way” approach to rail privatisation, drawing on the work of its leading supporter in the UK, Giddens, and its leading critic, Callinicos.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that Network Rail is an expensive mechanism for channelling public money to private companies. It argues that the “third way” is really a smoke screen for the neo‐liberal ideology, behind which there is a continuing transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the private sector.

Research limitations/implications

The paper focuses on one significant example of the “third way” approach to policy making. It demonstrates the strength of the neo‐liberal ideology, particularly the belief in the value of privatisation, in the UK.

Practical implications

The findings of the paper have implications for public policy and for those affected by rail privatisation, including employees, passengers and taxpayers.

Originality/value

Researchers and practitioners working in the area of public sector management and reforms should find the paper of value.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Krassimir Todorov and Yusaf H. Akbar

Etihad Rail Company is planning to implement a mega infrastructure project in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They have included freight rail system as part of the 2030…

Abstract

Case synopsis

Etihad Rail Company is planning to implement a mega infrastructure project in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They have included freight rail system as part of the 2030 Abu Dhabi economic vision and the UAE national Charter 2021. The plan is to link the UAE’s main cities via the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) border. This ambitious project presents a formidable task for the Etihad Rail Company and the region as there is no previous railway history of this kind. The project requires coordination of rail standards from East of Ghwefatet and the Northern Emirates cities and will ultimately be combined with the Western Saudi Arabia borders. The transportation system in the region will be improved greatly with the introduction of a cargo and passenger railway system in addition to the current road system and other means of transportation. The Etihad railway network is the first infrastructure project in the UAE and it will bring economic, strategic, social and environmental changes to the country. This case aims to present an overview of the strategic management dimensions of the Etihad Rail and the processes involved. This case will analyze whether Etihad’s top management team should make a decision to focus only on freight rail or to include passenger transportation as well. Many questions will be addressed in this paper such as the following: What steps should Etihad take in order to start passenger rail? Will economical, strategic and environmental aspects affect it? And if so, how? The case will focus on the analysis of the different aspects of Etihad Rail by using strategic management tools as guidance for implementation and determining its success factors.

Details

Strategic Management in Emerging Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-166-5

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2012

Karen Becker, Julie Fleming and Wilhelmina Keijsers

The purpose of this paper is to provide description and analysis of how a traditional industry is currently using e‐learning, and to identify how the potential of…

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4780

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide description and analysis of how a traditional industry is currently using e‐learning, and to identify how the potential of e‐learning can be realised whilst acknowledging the technological divide between younger and older workers.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory qualitative methodology was employed to analyse three key questions: How is the Australian rail industry currently using e‐learning? Are there age‐related issues with the current use of e‐learning in the rail industry? How could e‐learning be used in future to engage different generations of learners in the rail industry? Data were collected in five case organisations from across the Australian rail industry.

Findings

Of the rail organisations interviewed, none believed they were using e‐learning to its full potential. The younger, more technologically literate employees are not having their expectations met and therefore retention of younger workers has become an issue. The challenge for learning and development practitioners is balancing the preferences of an aging workforce with these younger, more “technology‐savvy”, learners and the findings highlight some potential ways to begin addressing this balance.

Practical implications

The findings identified the potential for organisations (even those in a traditional industry such as rail) to better utilise e‐learning to attract and retain younger workers but also warns against making assumptions about technological competency based on age.

Originality/value

Data were gathered across an industry, and thus this paper takes an industry approach to considering the potential age‐related issues with e‐learning and the ways it may be used to meet the needs of different generations in the workplace.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 54 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2021

I-Ju Chen

Deregulation shifts the responsibility for mitigation of agency problems from the regulatory parties to the firms' shareholders. We investigate whether and how governance…

Abstract

Deregulation shifts the responsibility for mitigation of agency problems from the regulatory parties to the firms' shareholders. We investigate whether and how governance structure changes in response to the dynamics of the new business environment after the Regulatory Reform Act of 1994 for the US trucking industry. We show that deregulation increases market competition in the trucking industry. The deregulated trucking firms not only adjust internal governance structure but also alter antitakeover provisions to adapt themselves to the competitive status of business environment after deregulation.

Details

Advances in Pacific Basin Business, Economics and Finance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-870-5

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Roberto Cigolini, Margherita Pero and Andrea Sianesi

The purpose of this paper is to outline the role of organizational and cultural tools to increase supply chain security within the intermodal rail and road industry. Three…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the role of organizational and cultural tools to increase supply chain security within the intermodal rail and road industry. Three main research questions are set, regarding: what organizational and cultural tools are used by companies within the intermodal rail and road industry; how these tools impact on security performance; and what environmental factors trigger the use of each tool.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 13 companies within the intermodal rail and road industry have been studied in detail through in-depth case studies.

Findings

Results suggest that organizational and cultural tools impact positively on supply chain security, by reducing collusion and both operative and planning mistakes. In particular, such tools mitigate the effect of lack of cooperation and communication between partners and of inadequate partners.

Practical implications

Results point out that the ability of organizational and cultural tools to increase supply chain security has not been fully exploited yet. Tools to mitigate the negative effects on security of inadequacy of partners are not popular or they are not considered as powerful enough, despite it has been highlighted as the most relevant causal factor of lack of security.

Originality/value

This paper introduces a thorough overview of the effects of cultural and organizational tools on supply chain security and a detailed study of these tools in the area of intermodal rail-and-road transport.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Case study
Publication date: 23 November 2016

Syed Zamberi Ahmad and Norita Ahmad

The subject areas are strategic management, transportation management and business management.

Abstract

Subject area

The subject areas are strategic management, transportation management and business management.

Study level/applicability

This case is useful for undergraduate and postgraduate level students majoring in strategic management, transportation management and business management.

Case overview

Etihad Rail Company is planning to implement a mega infrastructure project in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They have included freight rail system as part of the 2030 Abu Dhabi economic vision and the UAE national Charter 2021. The plan is to link the UAE’s main cities via the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) border. This ambitious project presents a formidable task for the Etihad Rail Company and the region, as there is no previous railway history of this kind. The project requires coordination of rail standards from East of Ghwefatet and the Northern Emirates cities and will ultimately be combined with the Western Saudi Arabia borders. The transportation system in the region will be improved greatly with the introduction of a cargo and passenger railway system in addition to the current road system and other means of transportation. The Etihad railway network is the first infrastructure project in the UAE, and it will bring economic, strategic, social and environmental changes to the country. This case aims to present an overview of the strategic management dimensions of the Etihad Rail and the processes involved. This case will analyze whether Etihad’s top management team should make a decision to focus only on freight rail or to include passenger transportation as well. Many questions will be addressed in this paper such as the following: What steps should Etihad take to start passenger rail? Will economical, strategic and environmental aspects affect it? And if so, how? The case will focus on the analysis of the different aspects of Etihad Rail by using strategic management tools as guidance for implementation and determining its success factors.

Expected learning outcomes

In this case, the students can learn and understand the purpose of commencing cargo rail projects in the region; discuss the mechanisms which help in promoting sustainability and the business growth of Etihad Rail; and identify the challenges and issues freight rail may face in terms of legal, economic and environmental aspects and identify and alternative solutions.

Supplementary material

Teaching notes are available upon request.

Subject code

CSS 11: Strategy.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

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