The people’s lifestyles. Rail operators and individuals today

The trend toward Internet of Things (IoT) and digitization
has started generating significant changes, not only in business operations but
also in people’s lifestyles. Rail operators and individuals today prefer the
final outcomes than products; share, rather than purchase; and work in open,
rather than closed environments. Suppliers should gain a better understanding
of their clients’ issues to be able to create new, value-creating solutions.
Rail has already introduced the “fourth industrial revolution” technology and
will continue to develop digitalized mobility solutions to help operators improve
train punctuality and reliability and passenger experience.

Advancements in digital solutions, connectivity
technology, remote monitoring, and big data analytics will offer new
opportunities for the rail suppliers, but they need to adapt to the changing
environment and business models.  It is
noticed that rail operators prefer a supplier who offers a complete package
from hardware, software, and maintenance services. Apart from advances in
technology and cost efficiency, customers’ preference for asset availability
further contributes to this development. Customers only pay for the
availability of rolling stock, so the increase in reliability via predictive
maintenance solutions and remote support helps significantly boost OEMs’ value
proposition.

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Solutions from the digital space are not limited to rail
operations and maintenance, of course, but are also likely to have a huge
impact on the industry’s product development processes. Offering, for example,
test drives in client-configured products or utilizing digital twin concepts
may further boost suppliers” value propositions.

Tailoring sales strategies and focusing on cost efficiencies

Rolling stock suppliers should broaden their sales capabilities to encompass a more heterogeneous
customer landscape that includes
financial investors, leasing companies, and private rail players in addition to traditional operators. To penetrate these
segments, suppliers need to reflect
changing customer characteristics and needs to offer appropriate solutions.

In order to strategize the sales, suppliers should
balance the cost factor by produce the basic vehicle at lower cost to ensure
price competitiveness and remain profitable in the light of intensified
competition, an increasing shift of growth towards emerging markets, and
increasingly cost-conscious customers taking on a total cost of ownership
perspective.