Rail supply failure 'caused collapse'

17 October 2001
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18 October 2001 | David Arminas

Railtrack collapsed because it failed to integrate its supply chain, according to the company's former head of commercial and supply management for IT.

Les Anderson, now director of Anderson Associates Consulting, told SM: "The company's downfall happened because things didn't work when they were supposed to, such as cracked rails. Managers were then told to spend every penny they had, and a lot more, fixing everything."

Railtrack, the company that owns UK's railway network including 20,000 miles of track and 2,500 stations, went into receivership last week after the government refused to bail it out with £3 billion of public money.

Anderson, whose responsibilities at Railtrack included managing corporate change and engineering production before he left last April, said: "It did not have enough resources to properly manage the supply chain, procurement and contract and supplier management.

"I am not convinced they were pulling in the same direction and they were not very good at prioritisation or focusing resources on the most important areas. Otherwise they would probably have put more resources into managing suppliers."

Railtrack would not comment except to say it was "business as usual" for suppliers.

Procurement at the company has been under pressure since a cracked rail was found to have caused the fatal Hatfield train crash last October.


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