Agility is accelerating the innovation motor at the Rail Cargo Group

04. 02. 2020

Everybody is talking about agility, but what is it exactly? The Rail Cargo Group is applying agile working methods to digital innovations.

Digitalization is making inroads in the freight transport industry, and in this is going to apply to every step of the booking process, from enquiries through to invoicing.

Digital innovations go into test mode almost every week, making internal processes easier and providing the basis for new and improved services in international freight transport. Agile working methods are what make this possible.

Many small steps help us reach our goal faster

While a lot of time was spent working on solutions in the past, they are now dealt with in many small steps. This is an essential principle of agile methodology. It originally comes from software development. Interdisciplinary teams organize themselves in so-called tribes so that they can work closely together on specific topics. They are involved in intense dialogue with internal and external users. These users provide regular feedback, which is then taken into account for the next sprint. A sprint is the period of time until a new version of the application is launched. The timeframe of each sprint is kept as short as possible. 

"It brings a completely new dimension to the quality of our work. Our communication paths are very short. Our team implements what we discuss with our customers the very next day."

RCG Digitization Team Coordinator Werner Frühwirth in praise of this working method

New services, new features

This is why we are busy working on new features in the background – the first services for the first customers are already online in test mode:

A tracker, for example, that makes it possible to track consignments in international rail freight transport or Rail Capacity Management (RCM), which supports large customers for rolling stock planning. Others are about to be launched. The applications are constantly being improved and new features added.

"Thanks to the new agile way of working and regular exchanges with our customers, our in-house development team has succeeded in moving very quickly from a rough idea and the requirements behind it to a testable and usable feature. This made it easier both for the customer and for us to quickly recognize whether we are on the right track with our development or not."

Rail Capacity Project Manager Martin Bauer

Networking culture

Another important feature of agility is collaboration based on flexibility, initiative and networking. The latter includes not only the team members, but also those who use or are going to use the services.

"Anyone who means business when it comes to digitisation does not just rely on technical connections, but also on connecting the people who are driving it forward."

Vanessa Langhammer, Head of Digitization RCG