Case study: Nedtrain – Process optimization

Mechanics often couldn’t get hold of the right part when a train had to be repaired. Besides being very irritating for the mechanics, this situation also cost money. Time for a fresh look at the process.

Customer request

NedTrain’s Service Business used to score poorly in the Employee Engagement Survey on component availability: too often, mechanics could not get hold of the necessary parts to repair a train.
Part of the problem seemed to be the way in which the number of available components was set out in a service location.

Request to House of Performance:

Support us in determining a standardised selection of components per train series, in collaboration with the subsidiaries: Service Business, Supply Chain Operations and Fleet Services.

Our approach

In order to increase the satisfaction level of the mechanics and to reduce costs, it was necessary to intervene in respect of the process, management, behaviour and leadership. Within NedTrain, there was little belief that an approach could be found that would increase employee satisfaction at the same time as reducing costs. For this reason, we chose to conduct a pilot project. We therefore set to work on one particular train series run by the Dutch Railways: the VIRM. We focused on 4 service locations that were representative of the more than 30 other locations.

Make the basics visible to everyone

Armed with a long list showing the previous use of VIRM parts, HofP conducted and facilitated various discussions with all parties involved within NedTrain. These involved everyone from mechanics to team leaders, warehouse managers, fleet managers and tactical stock managers.

The advantages and disadvantages of the long lists of parts quickly became evident. Bottlenecks became clear, and assumptions could be questioned. Eventually, we could put together a good standard assortment that should be present at every service location.


It didn’t take long for the results to reveal that the pilot project was bearing fruit:
– Costs went down
– Employee satisfaction went up
– Trains were put back into service more quickly

As well as showing that it helped to have a standard assortment, the pilot project also revealed that having an understanding of each other’s work helped the process. House of Performance has therefore advised NedTrain to make this approach future-proof within a learning organisation that believes in continuous improvement.


This pilot project has delivered impressive results, not only for my people but also in financial terms. Now we’re going to ensure that the remaining series are also arranged in a manner that can be carried out well by the organisation and also kept up to date. Dennis Tromp, Productie manager