Each year, Norfolk Southern celebrates employee excellence in safety and service at a two-day expo and awards ceremony. Operations Division work groups contributed to the company’s record-setting 2013 financial performance. The following are thumbnail summaries of service achievements.
Northern Region: Employees on this region handle some of Norfolk Southern’s most time-sensitive freight, including UPS and FedEx cargo, and have seen strong growth in crude oil shipments moving to the East Coast. While achieving the lowest ratio of reportable injuries, employees handled increased traffic volumes and maintained high service levels in on-time train departures, train connections, plan adherence, and work-order compliance. Implementation of the company’s behavior-based culture change initiatives improved communication across all operating departments and led to service and operating efficiencies.
Western Region: Employees on this region achieved an unprecedented year in service, including all-time highs for on-time train performance, even while implementing new technologies, including Movement Planner software that assists dispatchers in routing trains across the network. Employees maintained strong train performance, for example, during the rollout of the Unified Train Control System auto-router technology, part of Movement Planner. UTCS, now in use on all our operating regions, gives dispatchers a global view of the whole network rather than a view of a single dispatch territory.
Eastern Region: Employees on this region improved operating efficiencies and maintained high service levels while handling increased traffic volumes on the Crescent Corridor and record volumes from the BMW auto-manufacturing facility in Greer, S.C. Employees provided strong train performance, connection performance, and plan adherence. They also found ways to reduce expenses while handling higher shipment volumes.
An Efficient Rail Network
Norfolk Southern’s efficient and cost-effective service to the U.S. steel industry brought recognition from American Metal Market, the leading industry provider of news. In its 2013 Awards for Steel Excellence, the AMM selected Norfolk Southern as the industry’s Logistics/Transportation Provider of the Year.
The AMM cited the railroad’s Thoroughbred Operating Plan, which enables our Operations Division to streamline train scheduling and improve overall network efficiency. The primary benefits of TOP include better use of locomotive and railcar assets, a decrease in the length of train trips, and an increase in network velocity. Those benefits translate into cost savings and service improvements for customers.
The railroad’s steel business is handled by the metals and construction marketing group. AMM said the awards recognized the efforts of industry “movers and shakers who have brought real change to the steel supply chain.”
“This year’s winners join a select group of trailblazers, whose ideas, energy and grit have combined to ensure a competitive future for steel,” said David Brooks, senior vice president, publisher and editor in chief of American Metal Market.
Higher marks from grain shippers
Norfolk Southern improved its ranking on the Soy Transportation Coalition’s 2013 Railroad Report Card. In the coalition’s annual survey of agriculture shippers, Norfolk Southern moved up to third place from fourth among the seven Class I railroads.
Questions on the anonymous survey dealt with on-time performance, customer service, and costs. The Soy Transportation Coalition comprises 11 state soybean boards, the American Soybean Association, and the United Soybean Board.
Innovation with HorsePower
Norfolk Southern embraces innovation as a core business value. When it comes to enhancing the railroad’s safety and service performance, the most creative ideas to business challenges often come from employees. That axiom forms the basis for an “InnovatioNS” program known as HorsePower.
In 2013, HorsePower chapters were formed in Norfolk, Va., Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pa., and Roanoke, Va., joining chapters in Illinois and in Atlanta. Employees brainstorm ideas and collaborate on projects involving workplace safety and customer service. They collaborate across departments and work groups to bring in fresh perspectives.
“HorsePowerful” results in 2013 included:
- The Atlanta chapter created posters about the Heimlich maneuver to hang in break rooms, helping to raise safety awareness. A daycare center that Norfolk Southern provides for employees in the same building followed suit.
- George Fletcher, a 38-year reportable-injury-free locomotive engineer from Elkhart, Ind., worked with the Illinois chapter to develop a track clearance marker that remains visible during inclement weather, such as heavy snowfall. Typically, markers are strips of paint on the tracks that signify where train and engine crews should stop their train to provide clearance for other trains. To enhance safety and efficiency of operations, Fletcher worked with members of the chapter to pilot a new design – a reflective marker that protrudes vertically from the tracks and can be seen easily during times of limited visibility.
- The Roanoke chapter is collaborating with the Safety and Environmental Department’s ergonomics group to develop a new and improved tool to move “knuckles,” the pivoting hook-like casting used to couple railcars to form a train.
InnovatioNS in early 2014 launched a new online initiative that promotes collaboration, encouraging employees to submit and discuss ideas addressing specific business challenges. Learn more about how Norfolk Southern approaches business challenges at InnovatioNS.
Connecting with Stakeholders
Norfolk Southern engages with members of Congress, business organizations, and other economic interests in support of a strong economy, job creation, and future growth. The following is a small sampling of how we engaged stakeholders in 2013.
A partner in building economic strength
Norfolk Southern served as a key sponsor of The Wall Street Journal’s sixth-annual CEO Council summit, a two-day event in Washington that drew more than 100 of the world’s top chief executives to discuss critical business and policy issues.
Three of the company’s senior executives participated in the November 2013 event – CEO Wick Moorman; Don Seale, executive vice president and chief marketing officer; and Cindy Earhart, executive vice president administration.
The forum focused on such economic issues as how to stay competitive, the future of capitalism, health care, energy, and cyber espionage. Moorman took part in a task force that discussed how to use America’s surplus energy while protecting the environment.
Participants in the high-profile forum included President Barack Obama; Jacob J. Lew, secretary of the U.S. Treasury; James Clapper, director of national intelligence; Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Penny Pritzker, secretary of Commerce; Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank; U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee; Lawrence H. Summers, former director of the National Economic Council; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Norfolk Southern had a significant presence, including a display booth and an informational advertising campaign.
Rail is key to long-term transportation needs
In an April 2013 address to a federal panel in Washington, CEO Wick Moorman said America needs fair and clear long-term policies that encourage continued investment in railroad infrastructure, technology, and sustainability initiatives.
“Industries, jobs, and taxes want to go where the railroad is,” Moorman told the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Special Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation.
Among initiatives he highlighted, Moorman said Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor infrastructure improvements create an efficient, cost-effective freight route between the Southeast and Northeast that can help ease traffic congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by taking long-haul trucks off the interstates.
“Privately owned railroads are not only a barometer of the economy, but an essential element in solving this country’s freight transportation problem,” Moorman said. “We are planning for growth and investing for the future. I hope that, working with you, we all can look far ahead and do everything possible to make it happen.”
In October 2013, Norfolk Southern’s government relations team in Washington supported the American Energy Jobs Rally on the Capitol steps. Energy producers, shippers, receivers, rail and mining labor union representatives, technologists, and others from around the country attended. Norfolk Southern showed its support as a transporter of coal, gas-drilling equipment and supplies, and a number of other energy resources and products.
Norfolk Southern is a longtime sponsor of The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a partnership that promotes understanding of coal’s role as the dominant and affordable source of electricity.
Information about coal’s role in life and work in the modern world can be found at www.coalfacts.org .