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Australia’s Mass Transit Specialist Exceeds Compliance Expectations

Australia’s Transit Australia Group (TAG) inherited standardized processes allowing them to implement an Operational Excellence System, paying for itself after the first year.

At a Glance

Transit Australia Group (TAG) has developed a strong culture of continuous improvement throughout their organization. It affects how they manage change, engage with employees and grow their business. They saw an opportunity to standardize processes across the business and take a more integrated approach to risk management.

After being assessed against ISO9001:2015, ISO14001:2015, AS4801:2001 and OHSAS18001:2007, TAG inherited standardized processes that allowed them to implement an Operational Excellence System (OEM) that paid for itself after the first year through insurance premium savings alone.

Client Background

Transit Australia Group is one of Australia’s largest privately owned public transport operators. They own and operate multiple urban transport companies across Australia’s east coast, helping millions of people commute to work and school, access essential services and explore new cities. They’re also the only operator in Australia to include bus design and manufacturing capabilities, which allows the company to provide a complete end-to-end transport solution.

TAG’s knowledge and experience in delivering complete transport solutions ensures that governments, public authorities and private operators achieve operational efficiencies, deliver a quality customer experience, and improve urban living.

“We have utilized SAI Global to create a benchmark for operational excellence that fosters a culture of continuous improvement and ensures we remain Australia’s leading mass transit specialist.”

Michael McGee
Chief Executive Officer, Transit Australia Group

The Challenges

Prior to working with SAI Global, Transit Australia Group saw an opportunity to make its operational arms more efficient. Due to the lack of standardization, management didn’t feel they had a complete understanding of the organization’s operational and strategic risks.

Initially, they sought to use the framework provided by the international quality, health, safety and environmental standards to create standardized processes and systems of work across the enterprise.

TAG attempted to implement an integrated management system, internally known as the Operational Excellence System (OES). But without a complete understanding of operational and strategic risks, major implementation challenges existed:

  • Training – Specifically, a lack of standard training for employees across regions. Training content was driven by local issues rather than best practices. Plus, there were inconsistencies with deliverability and metrics.
  • Business Development  Building trust and credibility without an accredited certificate became an obstacle to acquiring new business.
  • Change Management  With its strong culture of continuous improvement, TAG wanted to take employees on a journey to help them understand the values of the new system. Without a big picture view of risks, managing change became increasingly difficult.
  • Costs  Without a strategic approach to managing enterprise risk, it was a constant challenge to control certain costs such as insurance.

The Results

The investment in planning, writing and implementing our operational excellence system achieved a return on investment in just more than one year through the reduction of insurance costs alone. TAG has seen a notable change that is apparent within their culture and measured through culture climate surveys.

Campbell added, “The results achieved since implementing the OES have surpassed the expectation of the entire organization and will help us continuously improve our performance.”

The system has continued to mature with the implementation of lead safety indicators, including:

  • Behavioral safety conversations
  • Workplace inspections
  • Workforce communication

They have also seen the following improvements in safety metrics:

  • 35% reduction in total Recordable Inquiry Frequency Rate
  • 75% reduction in average first days to return to work following an injury
  • 80% reduction in the average cost of a claim

TAG has achieved the following improvements in quality metrics:

  • 67% reduction in substantiated complaints
  • Improvement in the on-time running of services

After completing this massive program enhancement, Campbell offered key advice for those embarking on a similar journey.

“Always involve the people who are doing the work in the development of all processes so they not only take ownership of the change, but become a key driver in the change.”

Matt Campbell
General Manager for Safety & Risk, TAG