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The Fast Track Route

The Fast Track Route

For Railway Industry Suppliers


Tags: Continuous Improvement Infrastructure Reduced Cost Supply Chain Supply Chain Management Ten (d) to Zero UEP


Increasingly, the industry is facing strong cost-down pressures and the easy response is to ‘squeeze’ suppliers to reduce prices. But is this really the best way to reduce product and service costs?

Unipart Rail has an approach to ‘cost down’ that helps our partners in the supply chain identify ways of doing what is needed, but in a more effective and efficient way. This approach is so flexible it can be applied to manufacturing, production, warehousing and even ‘back office’ functions.

We are widely known as the largest product supply partner for the UK rail industry, but our range of services may come as a surprise to those who have only ‘bought’  our products. As well as material supply for infrastructure and traction & rolling stock, we undertake manufacturing, service and repair, supply chain management and the implementation of continuous improvement through the use of lean techniques. 

Working with the supply chain
We provide suppliers with a fast track route to market and true partnership approach gives commercial and operational added value through:

Flexible supply

  • Consignment stocking
  • Online order management
  • Single distribution channel
Cost savings
  • Consolidated billing
  • On-time payment
  • Reduced distribution routes
  • Optimised production run
Added value
  • Demand smoothing between customers and suppliers
  • Demand forecasting
  • Product traceability
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Lean process transfer
  • Product rationalisation
In addition, our partners have the potential to access other Unipart, non-rail markets through its UK and international group partners. Unipart’s aim is to be its customers’ first choice for products and services by providing leading manufacturing and supply chain solutions, and it has a wide range of opportunities for supplier business growth.

Our many qualities as a distribution channel include:
  • Established and trusted route to the UK market
  • Opportunities for further growth into overseas rail markets.Over 30 years’ experience
  • Dedicated contract manager
  • Product specialists with exemplary technical support
  • Supply chain contracts with all infrastructure contractors and Network Rail
  • Well-connected in the industry
  • Senior member of Railway Industry Association and Link-up
Trained product and technical specialists provide customers with:
  • Product support
  • On-site installation engineering support
  • Client training
  • Product health and safety COSSH support
  • Product life cycle support – warranty management and repair
  • Total cost of ownership models
  • Partners for product innovation
  • Product service and repair through
  • Unipart Rail facilities or accredited suppliers
Supplier development skills
Our development programme ‘Ten(d) to Zero’ is a structured way for suppliers to assess and improve their performance across their business – from production through to key business processes. The scoring system identifies both the problem and the solution and creates a clear action plan for improving their business and the service they provide. This improves profitability through eliminating wasteful processes and improving customer satisfaction through better products, responsiveness and availability.

This approach delivers a number of benefits including:
  • Strengthening business relationships with preferred vendors and embeds a culture of continuous improvement
  • Creates an environment for joint commercial benefit
  • Identifies and implements development opportunities
  • Provides a platform to jointly discuss performance issues
  • Clearly defines expectations and delivers a strong improvement programme
  • Delivers a consistent message and encourages the adoption of industry standards
Improving the railway
Our approach delivers benefits to suppliers’ flow right through to the track side, and supports the delivery of Network Rail’s CP5 programme. With a  strong supplier base, Unipart Rail is able to deliver highly beneficial services to  customers - providing them with all  the products they need, exactly where and when they are needed.

Unipart Rail is literally the industry's 'Unique Partner in Rail'





About this author
Nicola Holt

Infrastructure Marketing Manager

I have been a part of the Unipart Rail marketing team for over 15 years in the role as Marketing Manager. I focus mostly on supporting the Signalling side of the business with Unipart Dorman, in the UK and North America and also our more recent acquisition - Park Signalling. The Unipart Dorman Traffic sector is also a key area in which I support in addition to the Unipart Rail Manufacturing business.

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