London Underground, part of Transport for London is London’s public transit system. It serves 270 stations and has over 400 kilometres of track; 55% of which is above ground. The refurbishment and maintenance of this infrastructure is delivered by thousands of construction and support workers – the vast majority of whom are employed by contractors and sub-contractors, not directly by Transport for London.
Transport for London manages a vast supply chain to undertake overnight maintenance on its network. The business had identified a significant cost-saving by bringing more of its training in-house as well as ensuring a consistent standard of training provision. Key to this plan was an online training solution that would enable TfL to manage and run more training internally – cutting costs to the business and in turn for its supply chain – by reducing the administrative burden and moving from a post-course invoicing process to payment by credit card at the time of booking eliminating the need to chase for payment.
To replace the old paper-driven, and manually-intensive course booking process and create a new system to manage all aspects of course administration, including online payment, cancellations and delegate substitutions.
By providing a slick and user-friendly system, the plan was also to improve delegate attendance through real-time booking and cancellation functionality and enable Transport for London to deliver more training without adding to its administrative head-count.
The Course Booking solution was developed to deliver the requirement… and over time has evolved to include more functionality.
The system allows Transport for London to run a range of different training events at a variety of venues and to control which courses are visible online to users. The latter is managed by controlling access for approved companies working for Transport for London, as well as individuals, enabling them to view relevant courses. In addition, specific courses aimed at particular companies or user groups can be restricted to only these groups for online booking.
All Joining Instructions as well as course briefing materials are available for download and the system allows for administrator intervention at any stage – for example to allow a client to phone and book training directly with the administrator.
Prices can be flexed and adjusted easily to assist administrators with future course dates and payment on account is also available for specific clients as an alternative to instant online payment.
The principal outcome of the Online Course Booking system has been that the client has taken more and more training back in-house, enabling it to pass lower costs back to the contractor community.
The system handles tens of thousands of individual delegate bookings per year, from a portfolio of almost 100 different courses run by Transport for London including: inductions, safety, first aid and specialist skills including track and signalling.
The system also handles online payment as standard and has contributed to a reduction in costs for TfL by automating payment collection in this way. The Online Course Booking system continues to be a key component of Transport for London’s training delivery service since its launch a decade ago.
One of the other unforeseen positive outcomes was a reduction in “churn” in the supply chain: by creating a framework of baseline training that everyone in the supply chain must have TfL has reduced churn and retained a smaller team of key underground workers.