Symbol and Syclo Joint Solution Improves 24-day Work Process to 24-hours and Keeps the London Underground Running Smoothly.
Symbol Technologies, Inc. , The Enterprise Mobility Company(tm), and Syclo, a global leader in mobile software solutions, today announced that Tube Lines Ltd, a tube maintenance company that works in partnership with the London Underground, has equipped its engineers with more than 200 rugged PPT8800 mobile computers running Syclo's mobile work management solution, across three key London Underground lines.
As part of a massive overhaul and modernisation of London's mass transit subway system, Tube Lines sought to create a single source of information from some 500 disparate systems. The end goal was to improve overall maintenance processes and asset performance but the first step required eliminating error-prone paper work orders and the resultant work backlog.
Syclo was selected to create mobile applications that would support workers in more than 15 asset areas, such as rolling stock, tracks, signals and premises. Using its Agentry platform, Syclo configured its widely deployed SMART Suite of mobile products for asset maintenance to create a seamless means for technicians to access and update critical asset information in order to provide managers with a 360-degree view of asset performance.
"The mobile solution has made an enormous impact on several areas of the business within fleet; but the biggest benefit would be that of front line management being able to focus on managing staff performance and maintenance planning rather than spending so much time in front of a computer inputting data," said Steve Lammin, depot manager, Tube Lines. "Another advantage is with budgets and operating functions. As we roll out additional mobile applications, we are now able to see a more accurate picture of what is spent - in terms of time and spare parts - on each work order and planned maintenance function. This is critical knowledge."
Symbol PPT8800 mobile computers were selected with the support of rail union GMB because they matched Tube Lines requirements for a ruggedized and easy-to-use handheld. Of the 210 PPT8800 mobile computers, 60 were supplied to two main end-of-line depots with one device supplied per work group and the remaining 150 across smaller locations. The aim of the project was to modernize the London Underground infrastructure through an aggressive capital investment and asset maintenance program.
"Using Symbol's PPT8800 mobile computers with Syclo's software has dramatically improved the productivity and efficiency of our workers by giving them instant access to high quality data" said, Martyn Capes, project manager, Tube Lines. "Real time data upload and download allows engineers to view what work had previously been performed on a track or a carriage giving the complete work background. We are able to track virtually every asset which has improved our visibility of activities, and in turn has improved regulatory compliance."
Field engineers can now access mission-critical, real-time applications improving worker productivity and the overall efficacy of the asset management process. The implementation was a joint effort involving Symbol's Premier Solution Partner, PEAK Technologies, who supplied the device provisioning, site surveys, and WiFi deployment services; Syclo's professional services team; and Tube Lines systems administrators and project managers.
"Tube Lines' mobile investment demonstrates the kind of knowledge management critical to developing London's transport infrastructure for the 2012 Olympics and beyond," said Marco Landi, marketing director, Symbol Technologies EMEA.
Tube Lines had been reliant on a paper-based system to submit tasks and urgent work. However, the process was incredibly slow and routinely delayed work for more than three weeks from the moment it was filed until it was actioned. With the introduction of the new mobile solution, field workers and service engineers are able to utilize real-time data entry to close off orders that transformed a previous 24-day process to one that was completed in 24 hours.
"The mobile software component eased the change management process for our front-line workforces, who were faced with a new set of work management systems as part of the complete asset management overhaul," Capes continued. "The result of the mobile software was rapid end user adoption, more data available for technicians and improved data for managers."
"Our development team worked closely with Tube Lines senior management to configure an application that would be both easy to use and deliver valuable data to asset managers," said Marc Chesover, director of Syclo's EMEA Operations. "The solution provides skilled technicians access to information that had never before been available at the point of performance, including detailed job plans, equipment repair history and
Tube Lines users will send and receive updates in real-time using a wireless connection in depot. In case of the absence of wireless connectivity, Syclo also supports full offline computing, so workers can work without interruption regardless of network availability. In addition to viewing maps with Mobile GIS and MSS, the solution also enables users to take photographs with their Symbol mobile computers and attach them to work orders and upload them to the appropriate databases.
Tube Lines is actively trialling Symbol's MC50 and MC70 Enterprise Digital Assistants (EDA) with their asset managers and senior staff, and are looking to utilize GPRS communications to increase system flexibility. They are also working with Symbol and Syclo to identify areas of the business that could benefit from the deployment of RFID technology. There are also plans, brought in since the July terrorist attacks in London, to introduce biometric swipe card tracking software of all personnel for safety and security reasons.
Tube Lines is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) formed in the UK responsible for maintaining and modernizing the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines of the London Underground system which amounts to a third of its infrastructure.