Client Case Study - West Midlands Trains
West Midland Trains Logo

 success story

 

West Midland Trains 

Qubix drives finance effectiveness at West Midlands Trains with Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud.

"Moving from a highly intensive spreadsheet-based finance function to using Oracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud, we have been able to streamline our processes, reduce the amount of manual tasks and improve the robustness of our financial data ('one version of the truth'). This has had a significant impact on the overall performance of the financial function and our users can now focus on analyzing business results and help the business make faster decisions."

Mark Hall
Head of Finance

West Midlands Trains Speeds up Period End Reporting Process and Enhances Control for Forecast and Budget Preparation.


West Midlands Trains is a new Train Operating Company, formed in December 2017, combining the London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway brands. With new systems required to support the eight-year-old franchise, they turned to Oracle's Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service for their forecasting solution. They selected to partner with Qubix to carry out the implementation of their new reporting and forecasting solution.

West Midlands Trains had to move away from a spreadsheet-driven process which was laden with risk and inefficiency. Moving to a cloud-based platform enabled a fast rollout of management, regulatory and group reporting based on an automated load of GL Data.

  • Have a system up and running quickly after the new franchise had been set up on new systems.
  • Reduce the time taken producing Period End reports, particularly those for Group which operates on a calendar basis rather than the industry four-week Period standard.
  • Harmonize disparate forecasting process in Excel, varying in detail between directorates.
  • Provide additional regulatory reporting splits of the data.
  • Reduce the risk of manual errors within the Excel forecasting sheets.


  • Simple loading mechanism from Excel into EPBCS for longer-term plan data and historical data.
  • Data uploads are scheduled every night and more frequently at Period End allowing more frequent and automated updates of Actual numbers.
  • Simplified reporting of information through Smartview enabling quick access to information and consistency throughout finance.
  • Reporting by brand (a regulatory requirement) was simplified through additional slices of data derived from a matrix that split accounts and cost centres which could be used across all data types (actuals, forecast, plan).
  • System controlled models for Staff Costs and driver based costs (e.g. fuel, electricity and track access), standardising the approach across the business and improving accuracy of forecasting.
  • Less reliance on IT with system management and maintenance executed within the Finance function (supported by Qubix).

Why did West Midlands Trains Choose Oracle Cloud?

"Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud was the clearest solution we reviewed and the links into Microsoft Office through Smartview makes it a very user-friendly experience. In addition, the speed of implementation was crucial, as there was a small window in which to do this."

 

Mark Hall
Head of Finance

West Midlands Trains achieves better reporting and forecasting in 8 weeks.

West Midlands Trains moved their reporting onto EPBCS in 8 weeks including building a full suite of internal and external facing reports and integrating their existing GL system and Full Time Employee source data.

A further stage built a Staff Costs model, specific models relating to the top 6 material cost lines and a mechanism for forecasting all remaining P&L accounts. This enabled full P&L variances analysis, including the ability to comment on the variances on the face of the reports.

Automated loading of GL and Staff cost Actual data and production of Cost Centre level reports directly to Cost Centre managers via email reduced the reporting time significantly.

 

"Qubix has been excellent in the implementation phase. They have understood our business and our requirements for simple to understand models. Through testing and into live use, the developers have been responsive ensuring that models do what they should and have adapted to our needs. This has been critical to the overall success of the implementation."

 

- Alex Muir, Finance Business Partner

West Midland Trains Logo

About West Midland Trains:


We are proud to operate two new railway brands for and to the Midlands, the North West and London. 

In the Midlands the West Midlands Railway brand is a local railway placing Birmingham at the centre of its network. We run the majority of the local services, as well as direct trains to many of the surrounding towns and cities, including Redditch, Stratford-upon-Avon, Worcester, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Telford, and Northampton.

Our London Northwestern Railway brand serves the London to Liverpool route on the west coast, stopping at Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Northampton, with the West Midlands at its heart.

Both services are operated by West Midlands Trains Ltd, a joint venture, owned by Abellio, Mitsui and East Japan Railway Company (JR East).

Each business brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the franchise and it's our aim to give you the rail experience you deserve at the price you want to pay.

The franchise commenced operating on 10 December 2017 and over the next nine years, we will deliver a host of key improvements across the network, investing nearly £1bn in service and timetables to make rail travel much easier.

 

Industry: Travel and Transport

HQ: London, United Kingdom

Employees: 2600

Website: https://www.wmtrains.co.uk

Technology and Services Used

Oracle Icon - PBCS (blue flat) 2
Oracle EPBCS 
Icon - Qubix Cloud Journey Methodology 2

Cloud Journey Methodology