Netcall | Customer Story

Fast Track to a Digital RAMS Approval System

The power of Liberty Create low-code has enabled Network Rail to build a seamless end-to-end works approval system to manage work requests, issue permits and ensure the correct approval of completed works.

Project highlights

  • Scalable enterprise solution
  • Seamless, digital process implemented
  • Quicker and easier to manage requests
  • Enabled visibility and updates to all parties
  • Vastly reduced admin time and completion of projects

Network Rail owns, operates and develops Britain’s railway infrastructure. That includes operating 20 of the UK’s busiest train stations. They are essentially the landlords for many retailers operating from those stations. Network Rail is responsible for maintaining all aspects of the station property, ensuring that health and safety standards are met and retailers and passengers are not put at risk while work is undertaken.

This involves contractors coming to work on anything from applying new shelving in one of the shops, to working on a 25 meter platform to replace glazing in the station roof. Maintaining safety to commuters and preventing interruptions to the train timetable are paramount.

Risk Assessment Method Statements – RAMS

Network Rail use Risk Assessment Method Statements (RAMS) to evaluate requests for work on the station premises. This can include high-risk activities which independent assessors must evaluate to ensure the stations remain safe and normal operations are not disrupted unnecessarily.

They had a process in place for booking maintenance engineers which worked but was cumbersome, arduous and lacked transparency.

It was difficult for clients requesting the work, contractors carrying out the work and the assessors tracking requests.

Duplication, delays and chasing impacted on the overall service.

They needed a seamless, digital RAMS approval system to make it quicker and easier to manage and provide visibility and updates to all parties.

Inefficiencies causing lost income and delays

As a safety critical environment, all official visitors must be correctly booked. It could take up to six weeks to manage the process and involved a 40-page document, emailed between all the parties. If the fault was crucial safety equipment, like a security barrier, an additional security guard may also be needed. Extra costs were incurred and also retailers in the station also endured a reduced income.

Risk assessments are used to record hazards in the stations and assess the likelihood and severity of any risks associated with carrying out engineering works. They must plan adequate control measures to eliminate, or minimise these risks and all legal and insurance documents must be in place. Any mistakes can be costly and the worst-case scenario is for the station to be evacuated for an emergency, costing thousands and delaying a multitude of passengers.

From prototype to pilot

Netcall’s Professional Services Team built a prototype using Liberty Create, our low-code platform, in two weeks, which solved around 80% of the issues.

We said to Netcall, ‘Here’s our process. Build a prototype and show us what you can do. You’ve got two weeks.’ And they did!

Network Rail was thrilled – it wasn’t just a presentation of what could be done, it was something tangible that was working. As such, they selected one of their busiest stations, Liverpool Street, to work with Netcall to develop the application and pilot the new system.

Peter Hurst, the Stations Operations Manager at Liverpool Street Station, worked with Netcall on the Digital RAMS approval system project. Together, they built an application to fit the unique process and requirements of Network Rail. They then iterated, tested and evolved it, which is quick and easy in low-code. This can continue after the application is live to adapt to any new regulations or changing needs.

It’s all in the planning. The Netcall team was superb, they’ve literally delivered more in the first fortnight I worked with them than we were able to deliver in the previous six months. We methodically worked through a spreadsheet of the process and dependencies, they worked hand in hand with me to reach what we wanted to achieve.

A streamlined process that’s just the ticket

  • The eRAMS app is a seamless end-to-end works approval system which now manages work requests, issuing of permits and ensures the correct approval of completed works.
  • Checks can be carried out and validated to ensure that the correct method is being applied.
  • It is easier to ensure compliance to Health and Safety Standards, which minimises the impact to workers and the public.
  • It uses automation to trigger and process email which is very fast and cuts out a huge amount of admin work.
  • And data can be integrated from Network Rails existing systems, so information can flow seamlessly.
Liberty Create is amazing, it’s so agile. Within weeks you have something tangible. You can test, use and iterate in real time.

Philippa Callcut, Enterprise Architect

There are now over 500 different retailers and contractors logging in to utilise the RAMS application at Liverpool Street Station, either to make requests, respond to them or check progress. The application handles around 600 different requests per month and all parties have full transparency and an audit trail of each request. There is also the capacity to leave feedback on contractors carrying out the work so any issues can be rectified for future tasks.

The solution is a brilliant time-saver. It’s now a lot easier for Network Rail to approve requests and it’s given transparency to all that use the system. Plus, it has dramatically reduced our workload. I can now approve an eRAMS request in 20 minutes, before it would have taken hours to review and administer. It’s invaluable.

High speed responses

  • Where there was once a backlog of more than a thousand RAMS requests, the Digital RAMS approval system means these are usually now processed within hours.
  • This efficiency means that retailers aren’t chasing requests and maintenance works are carried out more swiftly, benefitting everyone including passengers moving through the station, as everything is kept in the optimum state of repair.
  • The new eRAMS app has now been deployed to support London Bridge, Charring Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo, Victoria, Clapham Junction and Guildford Stations.
  • eRAMS delivers reliability, maintainability and safety, a perfect equilibrium between safety, performance, time and cost management.
  • It is an enterprise digital solution which is scalable and built to support future needs.
  • It will now be scaled across Network Rail’s other stations, ensuring the high standards across the network.
The team from Netcall was really talented, but to me, one of the best things was the interaction. Weekly calls, project management boards kept us on track and if there were any issues, they were always available for a quick call. That five minute call often made a massive difference to our timings to get things done. It was brilliant to have such trust in our relationship.

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