Train Crew Scheduling Optimisation

We worked with Aurizon to optimise their coal train crew scheduling by building a custom tool that reduces planning effort and increases visibility across their scheduling operations

Aurizon

“We have been very impressed with Biarri’s agile approach to developing a custom crew scheduling system. Biarri has allowed us to update and adapt our product easily so that we can increase certainty in a constantly changing market.

The product itself has meant that we possess the ability to consistently produce optimised crew schedules aligning to business and customer objectives. This has ultimately resulted in removing manual process time and risk, focus on scenario analysis and further opportunities for improvement, at the same time generating confidence across the business that the crew schedules are the most efficient possible.”

Michael Holmes
Manager Train Crew Planning, Service Design, Operations Planning, Operations

Business Need

Aurizon owns and operates one of the world’s largest coal rail networks, linking more than 50 mines with three major ports in Queensland, Australia.

With an increasing level of complexity Aurizon required an efficient, and effective way to plan and schedule their train crewing requirements. Aurizon found that the manual approach to crew scheduling, through excel and pen and paper, lacked the rigour and adaptability to find a quick, repeatable, high quality result.

Our Approach

  • We worked on-site with future users of the tool to ensure all of their specific needs and unique constraints were considered.
  • The tool was developed in multiple stages, allowing requirements to be reconsidered after each stage so that development was always producing what was most relevant at the time.
  • The Biarri Workbench allowed us to rapidly develop Aurizon’s new tool and provides access via a web interface, allowing users to log in from anywhere with an internet connection.

The Results

  • Aurizon now has the ability to plan crew schedules using an automated system, reducing weekly planning time from a whole-day to an hour.
  • The crew planning tool functions as an optimiser, reducing the number of crew required to operate a weekly set of trains.
  • The Biarri Workbench makes the weekly crew plan available on the web, so plans can quickly and easily be shared between those with access.
  • Planning crew with a simpler interface and faster process now enables Aurizon to do scenario testing and “What If?” analysis.

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