Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Transportation and Material Handling
Nearly all of Weirton Steel Corporation’s (WSC’s) raw materials used in the steelmaking process are delivered by rail. Intermill movement of these in-process products also depends heavily upon rail services. Geographic location of the WSC facility, and the congestion of the in-plant processing units, combine to make railroad activity a critical service requirement in the manufacturing process. In 1984, WSC realized improvements were needed for its fragmented industrial railroad. To improve the effectiveness of the transportation system, WSC looked at three main areas: centralizing the operation, instituting total quality management, and improving the maintenance of its rolling stock.
From 1984 to 1992, WSC reduced the number of yard offices from four to one, thus centralizing all transportation activities. Along with this, major reductions in personnel, trackage, rolling stock and locomotives decreased the transportation operating budget by $13 million per year.
As part of a joint total quality management program, WSC’s Transportation Department worked with its customers to define standards for delivery and metrics for measuring quality. They also determined acceptable turn-around times for transportation. Switch requests were monitored to measure the time frame of receiving requested transportation. This enabled the Transportation Department to measure its performance and to obtain information on corrective measures when set standards were not met.
WSC also improved the preventive maintenance program of its rolling stock. This was done by determining the required number of each type of equipment needed to support material movement, identifying each equipment requirement by location, determining the acceptable number of out-of-service equipment at any given time, determining average life of each rolling stock, and monitoring the operation continuously.
The above initiatives have reduced cost, though WSC has increased its production.
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