The landscape in which our rail industry operates today is large and complex, causing challenges with cost, safety, visibility, logistics, efficiency and customer service. To alleviate these, the industry is at an important crossover point on the tracks to set the direction it needs to take.

GS1 standards and new technologies

The direction in focus is an investment in GS1 standards and new technologies to improve reliability and quality across the value chain. This industry initiative is currently underway, is gaining pace, and will be ready for implementation as soon as we all get on the train to the next milestone station.

The context of this story is like the Semmering railway track which was built before a train had been engineered to traverse over the Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. Eventually the train did come, and today this achievement is recognised as an outstanding technological solution.

In the case of the Australian railway industry, GS1 standards and the complementary technologies have been ‘built’ and are ready to go. The next step is to get industry passengers on the ‘train’ by responding to the Call to Action to implement GS1 standards by 1 January 2019.

GS1 Australia’s Senior Manager – Trade, Transport and Heavy Industry, Bonnie Ryan, said, “Calling on industry players to work with us gives the Australian rail industry a unique opportunity to collaborate with a standardised approach for consistently identifying and marking parts and components used across the Australian rail industry.”

We are tracking well

Phil Allan, Chief Operating Officer at the Australasian Railway Association, said, “The Call to Action is the first major step towards standardising the way materials are identified to support supply chain best practice and effective asset management.”

The Call to Action is on track with the following initiatives and industry activities to date:

  • Rail Industry Supplier Workshops – Representatives from Australian Rail Technology, Austbreck, Bombardier, Cold Forge, Knorr-Bremse, Gemco, Pandrol, Siemens, Timken, UGL and many more attended the workshops from May through to August 2017 to learn about the Call to Action
  • Rail Day at Supply Chain Week 2017 – The investment in GS1 standards and new technologies to improve reliability and quality across the Australian rail industry value chain was showcased at the event in September 2017
  • GS1 Australia is working with a range of operators, including Melbourne Metro Trains, Yarra Trams, Sydney Trains and Queensland Rail, to move the industry forward
  • V/Line is currently implementing changes to systems to support GS1 standards and communicating with suppliers
  • GS1 Australia is partnering with Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to promote grant opportunities to work towards GS1 compliance in response to the Call to Action

Next steps

To continue preparing the industry for the adoption of GS1 standards by 1 January 2019, a second series of Rail Industry Supplier Workshops are in the pipeline for early 2018.

“If you didn’t make the first series of workshops, keep an eye out for communication about the workshops in the coming months to secure a seat to learn about the range of tools available to assist you with the implementation of GS1 standards,” Ms Ryan said.

For more information, download a copy of the Call to Action here, or contact Bonnie Ryan, Senior Manager – Trade, Transport and Heavy Industry, GS1 Australia at to express interest in attending one of the 2018 workshops.

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