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KEOLISAMEY DOCKLANDS

Partners in Passenger Safety IN ASSOCIATION WITH:

DIGITAL REPORT 2021


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Partners in

Passenger Safety

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Natalia Pickett, Head of Procurement, KeolisAmey Docklands, sheds light on the vital role procurement plays in more than 117 million annual rail passenger journeys

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117 million Passengers use the DLR each year

ondon’s Docklands Light Railway, known as the DLR in local shorthand, is the UK’s busiest light railway network and one of the vital transport arteries for business and leisure in the sprawling British capital. It is operated by French transport specialist Keolis and British infrastructure engineering firm Amey, under the joint venture KeolisAmey Docklands. The service is responsible for the comfort and safety of more than 117 million passengers each year, giving the transport network an enormous impact on the economy, and the day-to-day lives of Londoners and tourists alike. Cutting through the city’s financial hub in Canary Wharf, the line also feeds into convention centres and cultural hotspots, as well as residential areas and retail destinations. Though the pandemic has significantly reduced the number of passengers over the past 18 months, it is a responsibility that Natalia Pickett, Head of Procurement at KeolisAmey Docklands, takes incredibly seriously. “Safety is a word I say a million times a day, because whichever solutions we implement, services we buy or technology we deploy, the safety of our passengers, staff and transport crew is the most important factor always,” she says. Pickett’s procurement division is responsible for sourcing and implementing everything from humble paperclips in the back office, to the 30-plus ton, complex rolling stock that ferry people between destinations along the DLR routes. When keolis.co.uk

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Title of the video

“Safety is a word I say a million times a day, because whichever solutions we implement, services we buy or technology we deploy, the safety of our passengers, staff and transport crew is the most important factor” NATALIA PICKETT

HEAD OF PROCUREMENT, KEOLISAMEY DOCKLANDS

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someone once asked Pickett’s husband what his wife does for a living, he joked that she is a “professional shopper, at an industrial scale”. To some extent, she says this is true: “If you imagine your thought process at the DIY shop when you’re redecorating the bathroom, there are parallels to the considerations in my professional life: whether the product is good quality, safe, value for money. But there is much more to it than that." Pickett describes herself as part matchmaker, part problem solver - the key to both being partnerships. “Those are really the core of my work, and I’m pleased to say that the team and I are very good at it. Procurement is not only about saving money. That is fundamentally not true; savings will be the neutral outcome of procurement processes,” she says. “Partnership is another of those words I repeat a lot, because it is very important to me. With my suppliers, we must learn from


KEOLISAMEY DOCKLANDS

NATALIA PICKETT TITLE: HEAD OF PROCUREMENT LOCATION: LONDON DOCKLANDS, UK

EXECUTIVE BIO

one another, bounce ideas between one another and grow together; it is almost love,” she jokes. “We need to reach the stage of the relationship where we can talk about the good things, the bad things - it doesn’t matter to me. As long as we’re talking then we can find a solution, which is what procurement is really all about.” Pickett and her team operate in a unique procurement environment. Unlike malleable sectors such as IT, procurement in the rail and wider transport industry runs at a more cautious, measured pace. Safety concerns mean Pickett is unable to “simply change a nut here and a bolt there because it is cheaper”, but these stringent regulations do crystallise a fundamental level of quality adherence not often present in more agile sectors. All suppliers in the rail industry can be found on the Rail Industry Supply Qualification System, a sector-specific database which holds all their insurances,

Natalia Pickett is an experienced procurement and sourcing professional with more than 25 years’ experience. In her current role she is responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategy and contracting models to support a variety of rail network contracts, including DLR, Wales and Borders Rail, and Metrolink. Pickett has worked in senior procurement roles at Network Rail, Regus and Shell, and earned a masters in Math, Physics and Computer Science from Moscow Railway University, and latterly an MBA in management from the Open University.


KEOLISAMEY DOCKLANDS

“With my suppliers, we must learn from one another, bounce ideas between one another and grow together; it is almost love” NATALIA PICKETT

HEAD OF PROCUREMENT, KEOLISAMEY DOCKLANDS

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certifications, licenses and financial Not all Pickett’s procurement information. “It makes my job quicker,” efforts are dedicated to steel, tracks Pickett says. “And it also makes suppliers’ and carriages. Services play an equally The DLR lives easier because they don't need to important role in keeping passengers has a answer all those same questions again and staff safe and comfortable. That for me.” comes with its own set of challenges, departures Pickett’s teams also leverage a suite particularly as the size of KeolisAmey record of other digital procurement tools, Docklands belies its impact. “We though she admits she may be considered operate a large service, but our actual “a little old fashioned” in her approach to company is only around 860 employees, digital transformation. “I don’t like to use which is nothing compared to the biggest lots of different computer systems and networks. We can be limited in finding pieces of software,” she says. “I find that the suppliers that want to work at that scale,” more systems you use, the more noise you she says. have to deal with. But we do use Microsoft After around a year of negotiations Dynamics and IBM Maximo, which is a very to secure a quality occupational health robust asset management ERP system and provider, Pickett encountered Medigold very important to our procurement analysis. Health. “They were different. They were Using this system I can instantly know what keen to work with us, but beyond the usual a good is, how we bought it, what we spent services, it was apparent that they care about and use the information to review our our staff as much as we do. They offered categories. From a digital perspective, they insight into how to reduce blood pressure, are enough for us.” how best to approach dietary requirements.

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GOAL SYSTEMS One of the key reasons for the success of KeolisAmey Docklands in achieving operational excellence has been its choice of its technology partners! Among those suppliers, Goal Systems stands out by providing the latest technology for optimising the planning of material, technical and human resources. The partnership has grown steadily over the last few years as KeolisAmey Docklands have entrusted more key operations and tasks to Goal Systems. Goal has adapted their approach to suit the UK market and introduced robust, standardised and automated solutions which are driving a more efficient and more profitable operation with high levels of internal and external customer satisfaction.

“I think in 2022, we will be back to business as usual. It will be a time to achieve efficiencies” NATALIA PICKETT

HEAD OF PROCUREMENT, KEOLISAMEY DOCKLANDS

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When we inevitably have staff off sick, they help us bring people back to work as swiftly as possible, because while we are paying them on leave, we need to cover their job, meaning we are paying twice. But this is not about simply pushing people back to the track, it’s about caring for our staff while minimising spend, and Medigold are a great partner for that.” Another example of this close collaboration is Xrail, a rail services supplier which provides trackside cabling to KeolisAmey Docklands. Xrail was discovered through the Rail Industry


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Supply Qualification System, though none of Pickett’s team had heard of their work previously. “But we followed procedure - as is our mantra - and invited them for a presentation,” she says. “And then the magic happened. This sounds like such a matter of fact, one-dimensional job on the surface but they are so passionate, so innovative, and we all thought: ‘wow’. We awarded them the contract, and they have been fantastic.” Pickett’s decision to offer Xrail the contract was further vindicated some

months later. While sleeping rough at an organised event to raise money for The Railway Children Charity, she encountered Monica Barbosa, Xrail Group’s Director of Business Development and Communications. “It was an accidental meeting, but we got to talking and realised we are cut from the same cloth,” Pickett says. “It was an interesting experience and great to know we’re passionate about the same values. This is what I mean when I talk about the importance of partnerships that go beyond saving money.” keolis.co.uk

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“When the new franchise started on 1 April this year, nobody noticed. The suppliers delivered on time, the network didn’t stop, and that was our real achievement” NATALIA PICKETT

HEAD OF PROCUREMENT, KEOLISAMEY DOCKLANDS

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KEOLISAMEY DOCKLANDS

2014

Year Founded

Transport Industry

Pickett’s partnerships extend beyond London. The joint venture between Keolis and Amey expanded in 2017, landing the contract for the Manchester Metrolink, a light rail network that is the largest of its kind in the UK. Procurement played a central role in the project, but it was largely invisible and that was by design. “We began by providing numbers and what we can achieve with suppliers, but procurement’s real role in the launch of this service was in the realisation. Our job was to ensure that day one looked no different to the previous day. So when the new franchise started on 1 April this year, nobody noticed. The suppliers delivered on time, the network didn’t stop, and that was our real achievement. The purpose of my role is to make sure that everything works and I’m not noticeable. It’s similar to HR: why should anyone notice if everything runs nice and smooth? So well done to us.” When KeolisAmey Docklands was awarded the ISO 55001 asset management certificate, “we were very proud of it”, Pickett says. “And I'm particularly proud of the fact that to get this certificate, we as a procurement function didn't need to do anything extra.” Pickett hopes to remain quietly exceeding expectations and out of the limelight in the coming year, when commuters begin returning to work and cities reopen to tourists. “I think in 2022, we will be back to business as usual. And I will do all my standard efficiencies projects, and we have taken over maintenance of the Lewisham extension - seven stations in south London. It will be a time to achieve efficiencies. Nothing is certain, but this is the plan.”

860

Number of Employees keolis.co.uk

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Keolis Amey DLR - 2021  

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