In January 2019, Hitachi Rail created a group explicitly and exclusively dedicated to the theme of innovation, to be developed over the next few years with dedicated budgets and resources.
The team has given priority to those projects that best meet the sustainability requirements and the most innovative needs of customers. From this process, two important framework projects were created: “Zero Infrastructure” and “Services for Mobility (S4M)”.
The S4M (Services for Mobility) framework has projects with the objective to develop services in order to improve the management of the public transport traffic, and so, allowing to increase its attractiveness towards the passengers. S4M will enable the migration from private to public transport and so reduce the environmental contamination.
The projects inside S4M framework are:
▪ Study and design of a multimodal traffic management system in order to improve the management of the public transport traffic analysing in real time the information coming from technologies that monitor the passenger flow;
▪ Design of multimodal services door-to-door for passengers, providing in real-time information about the position and occupancy of the public transport vehicles, including the occupancy of the stations. With this information the passengers will be able to plan the trip in a more flexible way, which is a necessary condition to travel safely in the actual pandemic situation. These services will be provided via a mobile application which will also integrate other services such as seamless ticket payment methods for public transport and parking.
Corporate car sharing is the sharing of electric cars between employees of the same company. This helps to reduce congestion and CO2 emissions related to the employee travel.
To further reduce emissions from car travel, Hitachi Rail is now launching a programme to combine car sharing with the use of electric vehicles.
It is a choice, among others, that responds to the company’s commitments in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, the first pilot project in Naples, Italy is in line with the initiative already adopted in the Italian Green Parking Zones.
As part of the pilot, Hitachi Rail is making electric cars available to all employees for travel and business trips between the Hitachi Rail site in Naples and other local points of mobility (Airport, Railway station, Hub parking areas).
Electric cars are available as an alternative to private cars, even for short business trips (same-day services, visits to suppliers / construction sites), with same-day delivery at the dedicated parking area. Based on the company’s pilot in Naples, the service will eventually be offered to all Hitachi Rail employees and it will designed for specific local needs.
This ability to integrate and coordinate means that a project like this achieves not only environmental impact objectives in reducing emissions, but also corporate welfare, cost containment and facilitation of travel services and service activities.
The most significant development in market dynamics in recent years has entailed the progressive shift from the provision of products and technologies to the increased customer demand for turn-key transportation solutions that efficiently meet the needs of local and national institutions. This new type of offer requires the ability to support the customers, who are increasingly considered less as buyers and more as partners, in the management of a project throughout its entire life cycle.
Customer Satisfaction (CS) activities take place at various stages and are carried out using different tools to accurately monitor the level of customer satisfaction and project status until the completion.
These stages include the following main activities:
▪ Customer Satisfaction Survey: a series of one-on-one interviews with top representatives of the selected customers;
▪ Complaints Management: the Project Managers are responsible for recording customers’ complaints, which are sent to the Project Quality Engineer assigned to every Project in order to properly manage this complaints and the needed action plan to resolve it. The Customer Satisfaction Team checks and records all information and, on a yearly basis, prepares a global summary to be shared with the top management;
▪ Project Customer Satisfaction self evaluation: for specific projects, the Project Quality Engineer is responsible to coordinate the collection of the project team’s self evaluation of the Customer’s perception, covering areas such as project schedule, costs, quality of Products/Services. Results of these internal evaluation will be an input for the yearly summary CS Report.
Alongside project management customer communication, Hitachi Rail actively engages with customers proactively to ensure they are aware of business news, updates and developments to support the wider brand.
This is achieved through virtual and face-to-face conferences, trade shows, press releases, editorial content and through the group website – www.hitachirail.com. Advertising publications and online advertising support these efforts, specially through the use of social media channels, to reach decision makers, media and industry associations.
Customer surveys are also undertaken as part of a 360-degree feedback loop to fully understand customer needs and requirements. These surveys are actively undertaken with new and existing customers – allowing communication plans and tactics to be adjusted as appropriate based on qualitative feedback.
Industry awards further support these initiatives and the Hitachi Rail team submit projects for consideration to a wide range of industry bodies and awards covering mobility and sustainability excellence
Awards won between April 2019 and March 2020 include:
▪ National Invention Award – Imperial Award: Design of high-speed train (Class 800) for the UK;
▪ Good Design Gold Award: Limited Express – SEIBU RAILWAY Co., Ltd – Laview;
▪ Japan Industrial Technology Award – Judging Committee Special Award: Development of high-speed train (Class 800 series) for British Intercity routes;
▪ Okochi Memorial Production Prize: Development of high-speed railway vehicles that can runon both electrified and non-electrified section;
▪ Hitachi Inspiration of the Year Global Award South America: Hitachi Rail’s Lima Line 2 Project;
▪ Hitachi President’s Technology Award: New High Capacity Double Deck train platform – Hitachi Rail Rolling Stock;
▪ Golden Spanner – Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards: North Pole and Stoke Gifford TrainMaintenance Centres, UK;
▪ Freight Rail Excellence Award: Hitachi Rail STS for AutoHaul;
▪ Rail Business Awards: Hitachi Rail & London North Eastern Railway (LNER) – Azuma Trains Introduction.