German rail operator, Deutsche Bahn (DB), is using market engagement to build better relationships with suppliers, while utilising innovation and standardisation to improve efficiency and reduce life-cycle costs. DB is Europe's largest public-owned railway company, managing and operating a 33,500 km network, the company has the annual purchasing volume of around €12bn and places 300,000 individual orders with 35,000 suppliers each year.
Prolonged rolling stock authorisation in Germany has become a risk for operators introducing new trains fleets. As a major rolling stock buyer, DB has been investigating ways to reduce its exposure to this risk. The company has initiated its Procurement and Technology Strategy 2025 to manage this process more effectively. DB employs a system of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track progress with equipment once it has been delivered to monitor quality on a life-cycle basis. The aim is to improve cost effectiveness, quality, and availability of train fleets while ensuring new rolling stock meets the highest sustainability standards to minimise their impact on the environment.
"Our objective is to harmonise requirements with other operators," said DB's chief procurement officer Dr Uwe Günter. "More standardisation means that more products will meet our requirements. Over time, demand for innovative standardised vehicles rises, so the strongest suppliers will make the biggest impact […] we've had good feedback from our suppliers and they are satisfied with the management system”.
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