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GSB005 : Managing Operational Improvements - Management Assignment Help

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Executive summary


The Adelaide Metropolitan Tram System is wholly owned by the South Australian Government and managed by Adelaide Metro Operations (AMO) under contract to the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) on behalf of the Rail Commissioner.

AMO comprises of 150 staff, 91 of them tram drivers, 15 Mechanical and Electrical fitters (who manage the maintenance of the rollingstock), 8 Infrastructure workers and 4 front line Passenger Service office (known as CSO’s). The remaining 32 staff are back-office support employees.

This report focuses on the current operational state and how digital enhancements can improve services and training within AMO. The report reviews the forces from the economy and technological enhancement through the pandemic of 2020.

Train and tram simulators have been established in railway training since the mid 2000’s as well as technology for rollingstock maintenance, and monitoring of services to create better efficiencies and less wear of rollingstock. The gaps in virtual reality training has been identified as a gap in the onboarding of new tram drivers. This is discussed in more detail in XXX

The operational improvement in the tram services of AMO and the merits of the digitalisation are paramount for the success and cost efficiencies. Furthermore, the report discusses the risk, barriers, and enablers of applying the digital technologies and the recommendations proposed for the future of AMO

Company introductionAdelaide Metro Operations (AMO) is under contract to the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) on behalf of the Rail Commissioner. AMO provides public transport in the mode of trams in the metropolitan area of Adelaide. (Adelaide Metro, 2021).
This report focuses on the economic and technological forces within light rail specifically within AMO. The report focuses on the competitive advantages for AMO by analysing the forces from the microenvironment and recommendations are proposed for improving their operational process and training.


1. Forces of Change1.1 Forces of change in macro perspectiveEconomical force

The rise of the pandemic in 2020 has impacted the economic factors of all countries negatively. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Australia has decreased by -2.5% in 2020 and this has an impact on the management of public organizations (Trading Economics, 2021). GDP declined by -7% in July 2020 and this has created a negative impact on public transport (Trading Economics, 2021). One result of a declining GDP is unemployment and the fact that a lot of organisations are still working from home resulting in reduced use of public transport.

Figure 1: GDP of Australia(Source: Created by author)

Within the Operations department of AMO, there is 91 Tram Drivers, 7 Tram Controllers, 1 Tram Supervisor and 1 Tram Operations Manager.
All new tram drivers undertake a 10-week, classroom led training program. This training is provided by one trainer and 2 Senior Tram Drivers as buddies. This training is very instructor led and currently uses PowerPoint and buddy training during the training course. From interviews conducted with the Tram Operations Manager, there is a need for virtual reality training. Many rail organisations now use virtual reality training to provide an enhanced experience for trainees before entering the live rail corridor. This can be implemented at a cost as little as $5000.00. There is also an opportunity to have live feeds to the Tram cabins to help with training, emergencies, maintenance and reporting for improved efficiencies (monitoring speeds, fuel usage etc).

Digitalization with industry 4.0 and the Internet of things

Industry 4.0 can be stated as one of the technological forces which has had an impact on the rail industry (Deloitte, 2021). The force of digitalisation has both negative and positive impacts on a business (Perkin & Abraham, 2017). The operational services have been changed with smart digital activities and the use of the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) has been driving the autonomous operational process (Slack & Brandon-Jones, 2018). The changes in the technological approaches are creating both negative and positive impacts for the rail industry.

1.2 Forces of change in micro perspectivePorter’s five forces analysis Power of customers (Medium) The power of customers is high as AMO provides public transport. The customers has medium power for making changes in the operation of the business as per their requirement (Adelaide Metro, 2021).

Power of Suppliers (Low) As AMO has a high market attraction there are many suppliers for the management of the work. In this case, the power of suppliers is low.
Threat from new entry (Low) AMO services are public transport. AMO services various passengers within metropolitan area of Adelaide. The force is low from new entry as the services are owned by the Adelaide Government (Adelaide Metro, 2021).

Threat from substitute (Medium) The substitute threat can be medium as there are several transportation substitutes for the customers, such as personal vehicles, buses and uber.

Threat from key competitors (low) The competition for AMO is low as there are no other organisation providing tram services.
The pandemic situation has provided a negative impact on the growth and development of AMO due to a reduction of passengers. This is the result of many passengers working from home and unemployment rates rising. In response to managing the condition, the company has undertaken a number of initiatives to provide assurance to passengers on public transport. One initiative is the deep clean of trams as well as up-to-date information on the Adelaide Metro website on the pandemic and any impacts on service. In 2020. the tram service continued to operate at a loss, however tram services were defined as essential for the group that continued to use this mode of transport. The main users were healthcare workers or people with mental health or disability. AMO also coordinated the services with any substitute bus services as train services were impacted (ABC News, 2021). The technological forces AMO is trying to change is in the operational process to increase its competitive advantages in the South Australian market (Adelaide Metro, 2021).

2. Current Areas of OperationLight rail as a specific business unit of transportation

Adelaide Metro provides bus, tram, and train services to the passengers of the urban regions. One of the strategic business units of this organization is the light rail (trams) services run by AMO. Trams and trains work in unison as they both impact each other. Whilst trams have stayed fairly stagnant, Adelaide heavy rail reduced their trainers and 50 train journeys (ABC News, 2021).

Application of the operational performance dimension
There are several dimensions present for the management of operational performance. Quality can be stated as one of the dimensions for operational performance management and there are three different measurements which are related to the quality of the operational work. These include quality of conformance, quality of design, and quality of performance (Hill & Hill, 2017). The quality of performance can improve the business's operational aspects and they can effectively manage their mechanical faults for providing the best performance to their customers. Reducing the number of trams would impact the satisfaction level of the customers as it would result in ocer-crowding of trams. This would create concern amongst passengers in regards to their health and safety as seen in the trains (ABC News, 2021). With the application of quality of performance, the company can improve the effectiveness of their trams and in turn, provide continuous trams services to their travellers.

Application of order winners and qualifier framework

The application of quality dimensions by AMO can help them to focus on their order qualifiers. With the help of new technological approaches and the digitisation process, the order qualifiers can be changed and improve its position among its customers. On the other hand, the order winners are the standards which are needed to be set for having distinguishable characteristics in the services (Hill & Hill, 2017). With the help of digital technologies, AMO can improve the safety and security of its customers. One way this can be achieves is by installing CCTV at all tram platforms. Currently there are only 2 within the city centre. Moreover, they can offer different services to their passengers and operational efficiency with less mechanical faults (Thales Group, 2021). The optimization of cost and infrastructure are highlighted as the order qualifiers. Furthermore, the improvement of the network infrastructure is also an order qualifier for AMO with expansions.
Reason for this gap and the impact

The operational gap of AMO is related to training of new operational staff and mechanical faults coupled with the lack of application on digitalisation processes. AMO is still focusing on substitute services rather than the application of advanced technologies. Furthermore, the gap is the lack in quality of performance, design, and conformance (Adelaide Metro, 2021). The impact of these issues has been seen in the other business units of DIT. The substitute services have been applied by DIT and the pressure has been increased for the bus and tram service unit. Along with this, the satisfaction level of the customers has been negatively affected by this issue and the external stakeholders have started to protest for the passenger services through social media (ABC News, 2021).

3. Digitalization rationale and benefits of operational improvementThe value proposition of the digitization

The digital transformation can help the rail industry to manage their mechanical work and the designing process with automated technologies. This is showing an advanced road map for the railway industry and the projects related to applications of digital technologies in the train design process. The use of cloud infrastructure and architecture is providing a more compelling value proposition to companies (Database, 2021). AMO has implemented digital transformation for the travelling process by which they provide live data on tram locations to indicate on-time running or lateness. This is helpful for the management of services. Furthermore, the application of automation for the operational design process helps in the reduction of errors in mechanical issues (Johansson, Roth & Reim, 2019). The value proposition with the digitalization has been given below:

The merits of digitalization is growth and development within businesses (Ilcus, 2018). Some of the basic merits of digitalization include the reduction of transcription errors, having an electronic process of workflow, improvement in the information accessibility, and having more integration in the business. Along with this, digitalization helps in the improvement of security protocols (Zarubei et al. 2020). This is transforming the services and workplaces with the application of automatic software for operational design processes, financial management, and other business functions. For example, Amazon has applied the digitization process for their payment process to manage the online transaction (Vendrell-Herrero et al. 2017). Another example seen in the railway industry, is the application of ‘in the moment’ travel data. The digital data helps rail companies have better prediction power and improves on time running. Moreover, the automation system has a positive impact on the speed increment and reduces the cost of operation and error rates. The synchronisation has been done in the supply chain and the customers can be accessed with the digital technologies as well (Nutshell, 2021). Maintenance and the signalling process is also transforming in the rail industry, with the help of digitalization (Schlehuber et al. 2017).
Ways to overcome the gap with digitalisation


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