Indian Railways Adopting Information Technology

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Indian Railways Adopting Information Systems & Information Technology


Purpose - The paper aims to carry out a performance benchmarking study of the zones of Indian Railways (IR) to develop an alternate approach for measurement of aggregate operational performance of the railway zones and to envisage its operations in a supply chain perspective, so as to gain academic and practical insights. Design/methodology/approach - A case study research employing data envelopment analysis (DEA) methodology has been used, with the help of data obtained from the IR annual statistical statements published by the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. Findings - Within the set of inputs and outputs considered, the exercise identified the best performing railway zones over the years and the efficiency trends. Some weaknesses of the conventional DEA were addressed by including the concept of cross-efficiencies along with self-efficiencies, by analyzing longitudinal data spread over four years and also by comparing the efficiencies with the operating ratios. To an extent, this study has also helped to understand the impact of the recent restructuring of the zones on their performance. Originality/value - The study enables the reader to gain some valuable insights from a managerial perspective for IR so as to formulate strategies of its zones to foster better performance.

Indian Railways Adopting Information Systems & Information Technology

Chapter I: Introduction

Transport infrastructure is the backbone of a nation's economy and has become one of the most critical elements of economic liberalization strategies all over the world (Pangotra and Raghuram, 1999). The primary modes of transportation in India are road and rail. In the case of rail, currently all activities are being handled by one single organization, namely the Indian Railways (IR). Although, IR is a public sector monopoly, there is a growing demand on it to realize the full scope of its assets through proper use of systems and technology and also to address the lack of its customer orientation. Therefore, there is a strong need to devise a performance benchmarking system of its supply chain operations.

Performance measurement plays an increasingly important role in the regulation and management of public sector infrastructural organizations. The main objectives of performance measurement in the public sector, as noted by Radnor and McGuire (2004) are to improve the public services through increased economy and effectiveness in service delivery and to reinforce accountability so that organizations are clearly held to account for the resources they use and the outcomes they achieve. Performance measurement of infrastructural services in the public sector is more complex than that of private sector business organizations. These organizations may need to perform dual roles as a commercial undertaking and as provider of public utility services with a social service obligation. As a result, rather than simply focusing on measures of profitability and other financial measures, the performance measurement system should focus on measures associated with inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes. The three dimensions of performance, as pointed out by Raghuram (2001) namely; the efficiency and effectiveness in asset creation, asset management and service ...
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