North Star – Specialists in Workforce Optimisation

North Star expertise has redefined and reshaped the workforce for a number of diverse operators and franchise bids, reflecting the evolving nature of railway operations. Our workforce optimisation modelling has delivered a significant opportunity, up to 25% potential headcount savings; as well as defining a refreshed customer service proposition through allocation of staff to customer touchpoints supporting the delivery of an improved railway.

In recent years, North Star has been commissioned by a wide spectrum of customers in the UK and overseas to provide workforce optimisation expertise:

  • In 2017 we were assigned to lead a review of Terms and Conditions for a TOC operating an intensive commuter-based railway to/from London, to define Driver diagramming opportunities to improve productivity and achieve a reduction in number of diagrams. The results of which were a potential to deliver a 13% saving in overall headcount numbers and costs with no need to change the service provided.
  • In 2014, we were asked by a TOC covering both commuter and long-distance services to the Midlands to conduct a review of their driver rostering and diagramming practices and develop recommendations and initiatives to increase efficiency. In 2017, the customer asked us to return to examine Ticket Office Sales data to redefine operational hours and provision opportunities, in accordance with and in preparation for a full application to the DfT to amend Schedule 17 where applicable.
  • In 2016 we were involved with the preparation of a third-party tender cost evaluation to verify the provisional cost estimation of the O&M Tender to be issued by the client. This involved preparing a cost model, creating an organisation structure (with associated salaries for each post) and inclusion of required capex/ opex costs for the term of the contract.
  • Commissioned by a UK franchise in 2017, we undertook an analysis of dispatch requirements to remodel how many people were required to deliver the operational platform interface in a safe and efficient manner. The TOC also asked us to review their own roster processes to ensure they were as automated and efficient as possible and reflective of the self-service technology opportunity available.
  • We have assisted two franchise bidders, for both commuter and long-distance UK franchises, to deliver the optimum use of station resource at in excess of 200 stations. We took data on ticket sales, gateline and passenger flows as well as passenger assists then conducted extensive modelling to create demand profiles, shifts, headcount calculations and potential rosters. In addition, we remodelled the station resource to fit a customer centric model and support delivery of the Inclusive Railway with the introduction of multi-functional positions.
  • In 2016 in the Middle East, we provided support analysing the bid submission for a Tram provision. Utilising demand requirements to identify efficiencies to enable reductions in the workforce headcount and preparing a complimentary full suite of rosters for all station and control room staff, completed with spare coverage to cover detachments.

Our customers continue to value our forensic approach to challenging current assumptions and working practices together with reviewing the current structure, and our customer centric approach to defining the delivery of the right number of people in the right place at the right time.