Last Wednesday/Thursday saw colleagues from the Department for Transport (DfT) spend a couple of days visiting RFM member companies to understand more about the challenges and opportunities they have working in rail. Patrick Malone, Head of Supply Chain & Innovation, Rail Industry Competitiveness together with Camille Lopes and Mark Cairns both policy advisers in Patrick’s team got the opportunity to drive a train on the test track during a visit to Bombardier Transportation in Derby. At Bombardier they heard about current and potential future orders as well as some of the priorities Bombardier have with their supply chain. Subsequent visits to some of those suppliers then built on this theme providing an SME perspective.
Discussions at Porterbrook focussed on innovation and specifically how DfT could help the Rail Supply Group’s Sector Deal Midlands SME Growth Through Collaboration pilot which is being led by RFM. Innovation and SMEs were also the theme at Resonate and the two days was round off with visits to Ricardo and SNC Lavalin’s consultancy arms and Loram’s Digital Railway trains maintenance facilities.
Elaine Clark, CEO RFM said; “Visits such as these are really important to us and our members. They provide an opportunity for us to show government colleagues what is happening on the ground and allow our members to explain their challenges and opportunities first hand. As always we are grateful to our members for supporting the visit and giving up their valuable time. In order to influence government policy for members’ benefit we need to ensure that those people writing policy understand the challenges companies actually face and the opportunities they see for the future. What better way is there to do that than to bring them to the heart of the industry so they can see these for themselves?”