Eli Rees King, Marketing Communications Director at the Rail Alliance explains the goals and purpose of the Rail Supply Group
Working closely with organisations within the supply chain from top tier and OEMs right down to the micro SMEs, not only does the Rail Alliance have the capability to understand business from a grass-roots level, but as a team dedicated to helping the sector, we make it our business to build relationships and bonds with all of the key supporting entities that bolster and promote rail business in the UK and overseas.
Over the next few months the Rail Alliance will be shining a spotlight on current topics and issues as well as raising greater awareness and understanding of the support network that exists for businesses in rail.
This month we are focusing on the Rail Supply Group and what this important body does and is doing for UK rail. What does the RSG mean to you?
The purpose of the RSG
Let’s start with understanding why the RSG was created and the ethos behind its existence.
The Rail Supply Group (RSG) is the leadership body for the rail supply sector, working in partnership with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to set the direction for the industry. It provides leadership and guidance to industry and Government, and leads on a programme of work on behalf of the UK rail supply chain.
The RSG Council composition is fully representative of the UK rail supply chain, covering the breadth and depth of the supply chain and its sub categories, from SMEs to OEMs, with senior industry leaders owning the work-streams and cross cutting programmes.
Formed in 2014, the RSG is the only rail body to have members from Government and the private sector, focusing on supporting and enhancing the rail supply chain. It aims to strengthen the capability and competitiveness of the UK rail supply chain to grow business at home and abroad and focuses on four areas of work:
- Driving growth
- Accelerating innovation
- Doubling exports
- Improving skills
As well as these four work-streams, there are also some crucial cross-cutting themes that are important across a number of the work-streams. These include a focus on supporting SMEs (SME Council), the impact of Brexit and the importance of developing a Rail Sector Deal that delivers for the whole industry and the Digital Railway.
Aims of the RSG:
- Ensuring that the UK rail supply industry is cohesive and aligned, to maximise potential to win major UK contracts
- Increasing exports by promoting the UK’s excellent rail products, services and technologies internationally
- Promoting and improving our domestic market capability and strengths
- Playing an important role in increasing UK productivity
- Providing leadership, direction and structure for the UK rail industry – a single supply chain voice with whom Government can agree priorities
- Enabling the UK rail supply chain and Government to discuss, review, align and maximise industry procurement strategies.
How will it do this?
- Stimulate growth, innovation and change in the rail supply chain for the beneﬁt of the UK
- Develop a strategy to strengthen the capability and competitiveness of the UK rail supply chain to grow business at home and abroad
- Map the existing resources and capability of the supply chain and assess the future strategic competitive potential
- Support the supply chain to navigate the complex rail landscape and to identify opportunities for simpliﬁcation
- Recommend how rail investment could be delivered in the most cost eﬀective and eﬃcient ways
- Help the supply chain to identify funding sources and act as a single voice in attracting additional funding
- Encourage greater collaboration between the supply chain and wider industry.
RSG Productivity Pledge:
- A strategic approach to procurement and planning
- A clear plan to drive world-class UK technologies
- A coherent skills plan to attract the best talent and increase productivity
- A comprehensive package of support for SMEs
- A fresh, coordinated approach to increase exports and inward investment.
Rail Supply Growth Fund
The rail industry in the UK is growing rapidly and together with the large scale investments into the rail industry this is already providing significant commercial opportunities for ambitions existing or new suppliers to the rail supply sector. A strong rail supply sector is critical for the government’s plans for a modern rail system.
Whether it be for high speed, conventional, freight, metro or light rail, it is essential to unlock economic growth, create and maintain jobs as well as connecting communities. Delivering such a world class railway will require a developing, innovative and responsive UK based rail supply sector.
The RSG supports the Rail Supply Growth Fund which provides access to affordable finance to increase the capability, competitiveness and productivity of businesses either currently operating in the rail supply sector or for businesses aiming to enter it through crossover products and services.
How RSG helps individual organisations in the supply chain
Well the truth is that the RSG works on behalf of the UK rail supply industry as a whole, rather than any single supplier. It is about providing the voice and the power to support the sector as a collective through engaging closely with the supply chain at large to create momentum and activity within the four areas that will stand the UK as a serious world contender in global rail innovation, systems and delivery. The RSG cannot afford to operate in isolation from what’s happening at grass roots and relies heavily on key supporting agents like the Rail Alliance, Railway Industry Association and Rail Forum to provide the critical link to industry.
Top tier organisations tend to hold a privileged position with Government due to the direct and intrinsic relationship they have to the UK economic health and GVA. This is not necessarily the same reality for SMEs who rely on trade bodies such as the Rail Alliance to ensure their needs and challenges are addressed, and fundamentally, resolved.
It for this reason that the SME Council was established so that a balanced and objective view of SMEs could be effectively communicated and represented at RSG Council and through that to government.
Over the coming months under the leadership of Colin Flack (Executive Director at the Rail Alliance), this Council is set to become more regional in its approach in order to better engage with a wider cross-section of UK businesses. If you would like to become more involved or engaged, please do contact RSG through the website.
Eli Rees-King is Marketing Communications Director at the Rail Alliance.
Rail Alliance profile
As the rail sector’s largest dedicated B2B networking organisation, the Rail Alliance is all about bringing customers, suppliers and supply chain opportunities together. It is a membership organisation that sits at the very heart of the rail supply chain.
Born out of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS – established in the West Midlands in 1996), the Rail Alliance has evolved as a leading representative of the UK rail supply chain community.
Its broad spectrum of membership extends way beyond rail and positions the Rail Alliance as the go-to membership organisation for B2B diversity, ingenuity and innovation.