Company name: KeolisAmey Docklands
Customer since: April 2021
Hi Kieran, can you tell us a bit about yourself & your relationship with WeMaintain?
I'm the Lift & Escalator Maintenance Manager for KeolisAmey Docklands (KAD), a franchisee whose client is the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), a railway line of Transport For London (TFL).
The WeMaintain team, made up primarily of 4 engineers, 2 assistant engineers and a dedicated operations manager, provide maintenance for KAD to the DLR’s 45 stations, including 86 lifts and 32 escalators. I share an office with the WeMaintain team so we work very closely together, which, due to the nature of our industry, is great in the event of any issues arising.
The first time I met the WeMaintain team, I was invited over to their offices in Finsbury Square where I was presented their business model and offering. I remember walking out of the meeting and thinking straight away that I wanted to work together. Our contract with our maintenance provider at the time was coming to an end, and I really wanted to come away from the mainstream maintenance providers within the industry and try something new.
And how essential are the lifts & escalators to the daily running of the business?
Prior to COVID, the DLR was used by 400 thousand people a day and during the pandemic, this had dropped to around 25%, though still a substantial number of people. The DLR is a small railway in comparison to the London Underground but it does get a lot of use.
KAD helps passengers travel across London on the DLR, but being able to travel through our stations easily is equally as essential. It’s important to users of the DLR that they can step off a train and have a smooth transition from platform to exit. So yes - the lifts and escalators are very essential!
What has your experience been with WeMaintain so far?
The first nine periods that we’ve had with WeMaintain so far, I really have had nothing to complain about. I’ve been really impressed with the engineers, the management, the communications and everything that WeMaintain said they could do on paper, they’ve been delivering everyday.
There’s never been any struggle to get my points across and I’ve felt like the team have really understood where the pain points are for me within the operations, and ultimately eliminated them.
The engineers have also really integrated into other parts of the KAD business and the communication between us really puts things at ease. In particular, their communication to the control centre, which is vitally important, because that's essential to getting information out to passengers about availability for assets. When an engineer gets to site, they call the control centre to let them know that they're there, and again call them when they're finished to let them know an asset is back in service. It’s really reassuring to know the organisation and communication is there.
I really feel like the team goes the extra mile with us and it definitely shows in the progress and figures over the past 8 months.
What do you find sets WeMaintain apart from other providers?
One thing that has really stood out to me is WeMaintain’s engineers. I understand that it’s important for the company to hire people who really align with their culture and values, and that’s definitely shown through the work the engineers carry out.
Something else I’ve noticed with WeMaintain is there is a real dedication and a lot of care shown towards the contract. Every period, the engineers carry out intensive maintenance as a standard process, which really makes a difference as opposed to an intensive servicing just 2-3 times a year.
It was a risk taking a chance on WeMaintain back in April, as a new company within London and the field, but from the first presentation I felt like WeMaintain believed they could step away from the industry norm and that belief has carried them through. They’re not reinventing the wheel but instead just thinking differently and with a different attitude.
What do you think about the technology WeMaintain has built and how does it add value to your business (or will in the future)?
I think WeMaintain have succeeded in designing their IoT box to be unobtrusive and easy to fit to different assets in such a simple way. The actual application of it and the information it can provide you with is so simple to understand as well, so I do really think it will be a game changer.
Also, the fact it is owned and created by WeMaintain means there’s a lot of opportunity for development to accommodate customer needs. I like the idea of customer usage informing new features of the technology.
In terms of the value it could bring in the future, I think it will be very useful considering CapEx spend and directing where to allocate budget within the business. Being able to access data on the amount of trips or general usage of assets will definitely be influential to decision making.
What are your thoughts on the application of WeMaintain’s solution to transport operators?
I think there is real potential for WeMaintain’s solution in the transport industry. In terms of the technology, the IoT is very informative and can provide a lot of data. Currently, we have systems in place that aren’t the most reliable and can result in wasted engineer time, for example, a red alarm initiated at a station indicating an issue but when the engineer arrives, everything is working on arrival. So I think WeMaintain’s solution will save time and will offer more efficient troubleshooting and indicating any issues. And as I said before, I think it can be very beneficial in terms of CapEx especially with the added data provided on things such as hydraulics, re-levelling and condition based maintenance.
I believe the IoT can be utilised on other parts of the railway too, having had discussions with other asset heads, such as signalling and rolling stock civils, so I think WeMaintain’s solution could be expanded to other parts of the transport industry and not just lifts and escalators.
How likely are you to recommend WeMaintain?
That’s a given, you don't even need to ask! I know it’s still early days, but as it stands now, I would and have recommended WeMaintain to lots of different people. So yes, 100%.