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GB Railfreight MPLS and unified communications case study

GB Railfreight Case Study

Established in 1999, GB Railfreight, part of the EuroTunnel Group, specialises in hauling rail freight for a range of customers throughout the UK. Employing over 400 staff across its multiple UK sites and projected to attain revenues of £100m over the next few years, the company’s approach to business is simple: it works closely with its customers in order to provide a cost effective service that delivers their traffic to where they want, when they want, time after time.

The Challenge

  • To be able to operate, GB RailFreight is required to have a ‘safety case’ that must be approved by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). If the communications system becomes unreliable, GB Railfreight may be in danger of losing this and the ORR can stop the company from operating.
  • More than 200 crew members need to be able to call the freight control centre every day in order to ‘clock-in’, as well as the need to call in to report any issues/delays.
  • The control centre needs to be able to react quickly to any delays, incidents and issues by getting in touch with staff, relevant customers and Network Rail as appropriate.
  • The ability to record all calls that can also be retrieved easily at a later date was necessary: proof of calls allows GB Railfreight to work closely with Network Rail to deal with incident investigation; challenge potential costs and ensures best working practice.
  • The communications system must be able to support incoming calls to the control centre 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Solution

  • GB Railfreight upgraded its existing system to a highly resilient MPLS network, with fibre connections to each of its sites and replaced traditional telephony with a software-based, unified communications solution from Swyx.
  • After installing the MPLS network, Elite Telecom introduced Swyx’s software-based unified communications system SwyxWare at the company’s main site in Artillery Lane, London and the central Freight Control Centre in Peterborough.
  • Creating efficiencies, the system enabled Railfreight drivers to now ‘clock-in’ by simply calling an automated telephone line and entering a pin in order to confirm their start times.
  • The call recording features of the SwyxWare software ensured compliance with railway regulations without the need for additional unnecessary call recording hardware.

The Results

  • Cost Saving - GB Railfreight cut its telecoms costs by half immediately
  • Better time management through the automated clocking in facility – Swyx is SQL based and was fully integrated with an Excel timesheet which can be automatically populated with clocking-in times of individual drivers.
  • Improved Customer Service – The freight control centre can provide a more responsive service due to enhanced call routing and call recording, and a clocking-in system that frees up available personnel to handle more critical calls.
  • Reduced salary costs – With more efficient call management, the need to employ additional freight controllers became obsolete.
  • The ability for home/flexible working – With a system that is accessible from any location, train crew had the option to be able to work from their home rather than at a depot.

What GB Railfrieght says

George Ford, IT Manager at GB Railfreight, says:

"We reduced our costs by 50% immediately with just this first site, and in the future we expect to make substantial savings by having just a single data network for everything and free calls between locations.  Because Swyx is Windows-based there was very little training required."

"We have been really pleased with the service… It is such a relief to find a personable company that are always happy to resolve any issues that we have and reach a solution quickly."