By James Ruggia
May 12, 2012 5:25 PM
Amtrak, as part of its ongoing reorganization and new strategic plan, said it is moving forward with revamping its operations management structure by creating four business lines to establish clear accountability for the financial performance of individual trains and to improve customer service delivery.
“Two of the most important strategies set in the strategic plan are to establish business lines and reorganize the Transportation, Mechanical and Engineering departments in order to create a single, integrated operating unit which will help us achieve our goals in safety and security, financial excellence and customer focus,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.
D.J. Stadtler, Amtrak’s vice president of operations, said the changes being made will help Amtrak grow as its business needs and opportunities grow. When the reorganization is complete, he said, there will be fewer layers of management from top to bottom so things can happen faster with less bureaucracy. He added that the plan does not include any service reductions.
The initial step in the transition process will be to hire general managers to run each of the four business lines that are being established within Operations: Northeast Corridor Services, Long-Distance Services, State Supported Services and Commuter Services. These positions will report to the vice president of operations and will have full accountability for profit and loss of their respective train services.
Field operations will report up to those general managers through a new integrated management structure so that each one has the ability to control costs. In addition, the general managers will have a more effective relationship with the groups responsible for delivering revenue so they have an ability to manage the overall financial performance of their routes.
In order to create integrated and improved service delivery, each major terminal will have a single manager responsible for all train and station services and who is accountable for ensuring customers arrive at clean stations with excellent ticketing and boarding services, trains depart on-time with superior customer service, and equipment is clean, comfortable and reliable.
“We are creating ownership of our services within Amtrak and moving decision-making closer to the front-line, while keeping support functions centralized,” said Stadtler. “This approach gives us the ability to better serve customers while maintaining efficiencies that will allow us to achieve our financial goals.” The operations reorganization plan will be rolled out in phases over the next 16 months with full transition to the new structure in October 2013.