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IIP’s working for the railroad

Of prime importance to any railroad company, for both safety and financial reasons, is the maintenance of its tracks. Union Pacific Railroad, one of North America’s largest, is using Internet-based information intelligence software to analyze data about the condition of its tracks — when the tracks were last tested, what defects were found, etc.— to make repairs before major problems occur.

nQuire Suite 3.0 gives Union Pacific employees direct Internet access to what nQuire Software calls “just in time intelligence.” The Internet Intelligence Platform (IIP) provides business analytics for large, complex data warehouses, and can access and integrate data from multiple sources and systems, according to nQuire.

The information is available to railroad employees with a click of a button through a customized Web portal. The addition of voice and wireless capabilities enables engineers to access data anywhere in the field from a variety of wireless devices including cell phones, PDAs and laptops.Says Jim Holder, director of Engineering Systems at Union Pacific Railroad, “We are providing 4,000 employees with timely and actionable information, from huge volumes of data across multiple sources and systems. These capabilities are enabling us to positively impact operating efficiencies, improve our ability to exploit our information assets and allow employees at all levels of the organization access to the information that they specifically require to do their job.

Union Pacific is also using the software to support the company’s safety initiatives and rewards program. Through better access to employee injury records, the company can reduce the occurrence of future accidents, and employees can easily view and track their safety records.

In addition to using the system to analyze track conditions and safety records, railroad officials are looking into expanding it to other aspects of the business and rolling it out to all employees.

With revenues of $12 billion and more than 50,000 employees, Union Pacific Railroad covers 23 states across the western two-thirds of the country. It links ports on the West and Gulf coasts, serves as a connection between the United States and Mexico, and interchanges with Canadian rail traffic

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