Argo is an analysis & implementation operations improvement firm that has an established name in the North American freight transportation industry.
Argo’s clients consist of small, medium & large freight railroads, passenger railways, trucking & logistics companies. Our knowledge and experience derives from a mix of real ‘boots-on-the-ground’ practitioners, lean business process re-engineering experts, analytics experts and Transportation operations frontline leadership behavior experts, working side-by-side operations personnel and managers mastering process improvement best practices and customizing their application for the real world.
Integrate Passenger & Freight railways
- Market analysis & growth strategy. Collaborate with short line and regional railroads to secure incremental traffic and jointly promote additional capital investment to expand or build new rail served facilities. Deep knowledge of micro & macro commodity trends and logistics flows. Expertise to fast track qualify realistic financially viable conversion of truck customers to Rail.
- New revenue applications. Experts in converting low utilization facilities to bring in & operationalize new revenue streams. Examples include: rebuilds, mods, engine builds, various car repair services overhauls.
- Cost & rate modeling. Railroad economics- accurate qualification of truck-to-rail customers or rail-to-truck. Expertise in freight rates, fee structures, contracts, service negotiations & joint line feasibility. Financial modeling-Argo’s costing model and contribution margin calculation for freight movements.
- Truck-to-Rail analysis, transload design & operations integration. Develop & operate integrated business models in various corridor densities. Operability know-how (Training, safety & operations, hazardous materials, operating rules). Expertise in GCOR, infrastructure & rolling stock requirements for freight & passenger service. Deep transit & freight integration understanding & know-how to meet public transit needs for seamless integration. Understand managing trains within corridors (varying high & low density), train operations, risks & liabilities with co-mingling freight & passenger operations. Extensive West & East coast experience.
- Expertise in service plan & financial modeling. Expertise in developing streamlined short line, Class 1, and passenger business structures; assessing risk; capital requirements planning; and developing & implementing financial budgets & operating models. First Mile Last Mile Logistics & industrial development. Expertise in Joint Facility Agreements with short rail line integration into Class 1 carriers & transits. Transload, spur, warehouse, intermodal, and storage in transit yards as well as marshaling yard industrial design.
- Class 1 & Short Rail rate negotiations. Experts in negotiating rates, storage and other relevant contract terms & conditions.
Transportation Design, Service Planning & Network Optimization
- Conversion to Precision Scheduled Railroading. Expertise in converting service models from traditional scheduled/ non-scheduled freight transportation movement to a lean all scheduled railroad. Expertise with clean sheet trip plan design, block development, consolidated bulk/ merchandise/ intermodal, crew rebalancing and dashboard development. Argo has more experience with Class 1 Rails both in the traditional service model and conversion to the PSR service model than any other operations consulting firm.
- Comprehensive Operational Analysis. Expertise performing a detailed operations analysis to evaluate the duties, responsibilities, and staffing levels for current dispatchers, route supervisors, and operators, and maintainers. Argo’s boots-on-the-ground analysis approach includes field observations to validate wrench time and efficiencies, audit operating procedures, interview operating staff, assess org structure and overhead, assess asset performance – uptime, reliability, utilization, operating cost etc. Argo uses internal developed benchmark processes with external benchmarks and transit best practices. Determine fact-based Gap Vs Goal report explaining operational and financial impact of operational gaps and scope for improvement.
- Transit Planning Playbook (TDP). The professional services provided by the Argo Team offer practical and sustainable strategies for our clients which allows them to focus on delivering their core business. Our approach is unique, because we apply a systems approach methodology that integrates people, processes, systems and technology to implement innovative solutions to drive successful delivery and adoption. Our comprehensive approach is a mature proven process that can be customized to focus on specific needs of each client and client expectations.
- Equipment Fleet & Crew Optimization. Equipment Fleet & Crew Optimization. Expertise in optimizing equipment fleet size and mix to increase asset utilization. The result of fleet optimization drives substantial crew productivity improvements. Expertise to rebalance system-wide crews to generate additional crew productivity.
- First Mile Last Mile synchronization to Class 1 Freight Precision Scheduled Railroading. Expertise that directly enables your plant to improve growth capacity and reduce cost. Expertise with: assessing and optimizing end-to-end flow given the mix of physical and process constraints unique within each site particularly those of higher complexity; adding clarity to roles and responsibilities between site, commercial and logistics teams, as well as third parties; improving operational data capture and KPIs on a consistent basis; providing rail expertise to assist in assessing and identifying opportunities to optimize current switching operations and improve interactions with class 1 railroads and other rail service providers.
Strategic Enterprise Major Asset Class Planning
- Enterprise-wide asset CAPEX & OPEX transformation. Argo has the best known mega asset class planning success in the industry. Argo facilitated the design and deployment of a major Class 1 Railroad’s Board driven company-wide Enterprise Asset Utilization improvement Initiative designing, developing and deploying each major asset group’s Concept of Operations for Rolling Stock (Locomotives, rail cars), Infrastructure, Crew Operations, Network Design & Network Operations. Argo produces real enterprise results at levels nearing $1 billion of operating cost improvement. Argo’s model is for large organizations that needs to fundamentally restructure the way they plan, man and operate their services.
- The foundation of our Enterprise Asset Management focuses on enabling greater capacity out of existing assets resulting in a more efficient fleet size and footprint where supply of assets more evenly match demand for their use.
- When designing an EAM strategy, we begin by asking these questions about the performance of the assets:
- When and where is the asset needed?
- How often is it in use?
- How well does it work?
- How much does it cost to use?
- The answers to these questions form the foundation to develop an effective EAM architecture with life-cycle decision-making investment prioritization plans that feed directly into the specific agency’s prioritized EAM implementation plans.
- The Argo 4-step EAM development approach consists of:
- Identify assets & measures
- Create the asset vision of the future
- Develop work streams to align & prioritize action
- Deliver mega financial and operating improvement results
- Key to a successful integrated EAM approach, Argo works with various stakeholders at different levels to socialize, manage trade-offs and gain consensus among business leaders to develop and commit to prioritization of their implementation plans.
Productivity and Precision Service Delivery
- The Centers of Excellence is the framework for all business process re-engineering. CoE has three-interdependent systems with its framework including: IE-based Workflow Design; a Business Intelligence system aligned, cascading and linked to the business (internal & external customers); and a customized-for-Transportation front-line leadership sustainability embedded behavioral practices to drive high performance while balancing the human side of interaction to work with discretionary effort.
- These three interdependent systems convert into a Professional Operating Playbook. Like a professional football team who has designed a detailed playbook with ‘who does what,’ so does your Professional Operating Playbook. The playbook is designed to define roles & responsibilities, kpi’s, behavioral attributes and triggers to achieve the optimized re-engineering business process. The Professional Operating Playbook is a living document and evolves as new improvements are adopted with the Center of Excellence engagement process.
- The Centers of Excellence business model. Enables organizations to advance to best-in-class performance through cross-functional and vertical engagement requiring the involvement of all employees.
- Tenants of the CoE’s key management operating system
- CoE Leadership Sessions/ Team Room
- Kaizen engagement, continuous improvement process
- Daily ‘Pulse’ process to achieve the targeted operating plan each day
- Front line leadership standard work
- Professional Operating Playbook