Lengthy and winding railroad – heading for the cloud

Lengthy and winding railroad – heading for the cloud


On a latest bicycle journey with mates, I used to be stopped at a railroad crossing ready for a protracted freight prepare. It was an iconic American expertise to witness. It allowed me to catch my breath as I counted the 148 railcars, winding their means throughout the county connecting their freight to the subsequent step on their provide chain journey.

I couldn’t assist however marvel on the sheer dimension of the prepare powered by two engines. It’s no marvel that railroads are essentially the most fuel-efficient technique to transfer freight, capable of transfer a ton of freight almost 500 miles per gallon of gasoline. It will take lots of of vans to do the identical job.

Because the prepare sped by, I considered all of the folks, tools, upkeep, gasoline, and communication that’s concerned in maintaining the railroad system going.

SAP buyer Union Pacific Railroad operates throughout 23 states with 32,124 miles of monitor, transporting 8 million carloads of freight utilizing 7,500 locomotives throughout 30,000 rail crossings and 16,700 bridges.

These enormous volumes can’t be managed 24/7 with out a lot of automation, prediction, and planning to carry collectively the assets safely and sustainably at velocity.

It’s no marvel that expertise has lengthy been on the middle of Union Pacific success, attaining unimaginable effectivity that’s on the spine of enterprise operations for all Individuals.

Coupled, built-in, and configured

Standardization has at all times been the important thing to working a large railroad. The whole lot should work collectively seamlessly, utterly built-in throughout the railroad community. When constructing prepare networks, rails, loading tools, stations, routes, and plans, there may be at all times an eye fixed to utmost ease of configurability, utilizing customary couplings that may connect particular tools for particular functions whereas retaining clean operation circulate.

Enterprise operations and expertise are not any completely different. Programs that work seamlessly collectively, simply configured and with reliability make for protected constant high-speed enterprise.

The Union Pacific problem: standardize for velocity

The group at Union Pacific might see the significance of velocity past the railroad, in enterprise operations innovation and use of synthetic intelligence. The corporate wanted to embark on the journey to the cloud with customary programs and chosen SAP cloud functions and providers for the transformation.

“We’re a legacy firm,” mentioned Michelle Clark, AVP, Enterprise Programs at Union Pacific Railroad. “This transformation with SAP lets us modernize our again workplace to get present and keep aggressive. Having one ecosystem for operational information, folks information, and monetary information helps higher enterprise decision-making long run, which provides to shareholder worth.”

Digital enterprise transformation: the transfer to standardization

After over 160 years of North American rail transportation success, Union Pacific wanted to rework their enterprise to make use of digital expertise to fulfill the longer term wants at velocity, transport with security, safety, sustainability, utilizing environment friendly operations, and offering an industry-leading buyer expertise.

Union Pacific had over 100 customized functions. Sustaining them via upgrades and guaranteeing compatibility with core programs was draining, costing an excessive amount of money and time.  Each improve required lengthy integration and check cycles. This was limiting the power of Union Pacific to give attention to new digital improvements, automation, and enterprise mannequin adjustments. It was creating silos of information which triggered lack of dependable perception.

Union Pacific realized they wanted a system that will simplify the applying panorama and permit for better resilience.

Choosing the precise instruments for the job

After cautious evaluation of the present panorama, Union Pacific determined to take their finance, sourcing, inner logistics, human assets, and expense administration programs into the SAP cloud, together with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Concur.

Partnering with SAP Cloud Success Companies, they developed a 3-year implementation roadmap that prioritized worth whereas managing the method and software interdependencies.

Union Pacific is now embracing a “match to plain” strategy which is enabling a holistic perspective by no means achieved earlier than.

Dependable railroad operations – digitally enabled

Union Pacific is targeted on maintaining their core information and functions core clear whereas changing customized functions to SAP customary processes. By optimizing and standardizing processes and operations, it’s simpler to reap the benefits of new improvements continuously being provided with functions. And better automation alternatives are revealed, in order that data-driven choices could be made with confidence.

Sustainable advantages

All of it provides as much as extra sustainable enterprise operations and a powerful partnership between Union Pacific and SAP to assist railroad operations run higher.

The Union Pacific group famous the advantages of shifting to the SAP Cloud included:

  • Sooner processing, closing actions, approvals, and information integrity
  • Elevated productiveness, decreasing guide intervention for information validation with SAP S/4HANA Cloud automation
  • Improved controls and security by shifting to the cloud, offering a strong basis to simply accept new core performance and add further improvements for future transformations
  • Simpler person entry and insights through cellular functions and analytics instruments

Union Pacific has since been named a winner within the Journey and Transportation class of the 2023 SAP Innovation Awardswhich is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

To study extra about what Union Pacific achieved to earn this prestigious award, please see their pitch deck.

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