Smart Maintenance drives down faults on London Underground

Lanes Rail General Operations Manager Martin Balcombe SQU

A more responsive way to manage asset maintenance introduced by Lanes Group plc is reducing faults in public and staff toilets on the London Underground – improving the quality of service for rail customers.

The new Smart Maintenance approach is also greatly reducing the number of hours taken to carry out essential repairs and improving the sustainability and productivity of station maintenance.

Lanes Group’s Rail Division, working with London Underground (LUL), has also introduced a new Station Checks programme, in which operatives use spare time to check and fix simple maintenance problems.

In the first three months of the scheme, Lanes Rail’s operatives carried out more than 1,450 station checks resulting in 254 on-the-spot repairs.

Extrapolated for a whole year, it is equivalent to a 3.7% reduction in total recorded faults, and a saving of 1,431 operative hours.

Fuel savings and reductions in carbon emissions and pollution are estimated to be equivalent to removing two medium-sized vans from London’s roads.

Most of the simple repairs Lanes can carry out are to sanitary wear, such as missing toilet seats and defective taps. Therefore, the initiative is expected to have a significant impact on the quality of toilet and washing facilities across the underground network.

Lanes Rail General Operations Manager Martin Balcombe, pictured above, said: “The switch to smart maintenance is a benefit of Transport for London’s 1FM contract which Lanes won in 2017.

“It requires us to continually review fault trends and adapt our approach to dealing with planned maintenance of faults. This has allowed us to develop more flexible approaches to maintenance.”

Instead of applying the same maintenance criteria to all assets, Lanes Rail has developed a lighter-touch regime where it’s warranted, allowing operatives to focus more intensive maintenance of higher risk assets.

Under Smart Maintenance, Lanes has also introduced a just-in-time approach. Fault data is continuously reviewed. Then, in the final week of each month, insights from this trend analysis is fed into the following month’s maintenance plans.

Martin Balcombe said: “The final element is the Station Checks programme. We realised it was far more sensible for an operative to use spare time to fix simple faults on the spot, rather than just log them.

“It is good for LUL customers, it drives productivity into the maintenance programme, and it is good for our teams because they know they are having an immediate and positive impact on service quality.

“Through Smart Maintenance and Station Checks, Lanes has a more targeted and flexible approach to station maintenance that increases the value we deliver for TfL and improves the travelling experience TfL delivers for its customers.”

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