Reading List: EHH

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Gilbert B Norman
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Reading List: EHH

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:23 am

Didn't take long for this "bio" to hit the presses:

https://www.railwayage.com/freight/book ... t-fighter/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Fair Use:
If ever there were a human equivalent to liver and onions—hated or loved, but no in-between—it was the late Ewing Hunter Harrison III, a chief executive of four major North American railroads, personally synonymous with the term “Precision Scheduled Railroading,” and whose mention invokes often disquieting debate on theories of management and how best to deliver shareholder value in the short- and long-term...
It's available through Google Books, and likely other retailers.

(X-posted at CN, CP Forums)

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14078
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
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Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:09 am

It's been a few years and one career later since "I've been working on the railroad" (and plus, my road is kaput), but I can only imagine the conflicts occurring today between Traffic/Marketing and Operating as more roads adopt "The Gospel According to Saint Hunter", otherwise known as Precision Railroading.

The conflict must be severe; Traffic/Marketing are salesmen, who probably call at a customer with.a "you want it, you got it" approach. Now here comes operations saying this train will operate at "such and such" time based upon when it will meet with opposing traffic. Engineering/Track is also chiming in "when can we have the track for maintenance"?

I would think the roads can "get away with" these practices call for by Precision Railroading with Agricultural customers. "Throw 'em a lower rate" is all they need.

But what will the package delivery and maritime companies say if their Container/TOFC schedules are affected? How about manufacturing shippers, such as the auto industry, who keep their assembly lines running based on "just in time" transportation?

Be great if those active in the distribution industry (that includes transportation) care to join this discussion.

ExCon90
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Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by ExCon90 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:27 pm

Unfortunately I can foresee the present pattern continuing until some major shippers are compelled to find some substitute, such as operating their own trucks--there was a strong tendency toward this in the 1970's. Once it starts to happen and shippers make the necessary plans and investments, as long as drivers can be found there will be little or no inclination to return to the rails when or if the railroads (and Wall Street?) return to their senses.

mmi16
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Location: USA

Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by mmi16 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:12 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:09 am
It's been a few years and one career later since "I've been working on the railroad" (and plus, my road is kaput), but I can only imagine the conflicts occurring today between Traffic/Marketing and Operating as more roads adopt "The Gospel According to Saint Hunter", otherwise known as Precision Railroading.

The conflict must be severe; Traffic/Marketing are salesmen, who probably call at a customer with.a "you want it, you got it" approach. Now here comes operations saying this train will operate at "such and such" time based upon when it will meet with opposing traffic. Engineering/Track is also chiming in "when can we have the track for maintenance"?

I would think the roads can "get away with" these practices call for by Precision Railroading with Agricultural customers. "Throw 'em a lower rate" is all they need.

But what will the package delivery and maritime companies say if their Container/TOFC schedules are affected? How about manufacturing shippers, such as the auto industry, who keep their assembly lines running based on "just in time" transportation?

Be great if those active in the distribution industry (that includes transportation) care to join this discussion.
One of the first areas EHH cut the employee head count at CSX was in 'traffic/marketing'. Don't want anyone selling anything 'out of the plan'.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14078
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:08 am

mmi16 wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:12 pm
Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:09 am

The conflict must be severe; Traffic/Marketing are salesmen, who probably call at a customer with a "you want it, you got it" approach.

I would think the roads can "get away with" these practices call for by Precision Railroading with Agricultural customers. "Throw 'em a lower rate" is all they need.

But what will the package delivery and maritime companies say if their Container/TOFC schedules are affected? How about manufacturing shippers, such as the auto industry, who keep their assembly lines running based on "just in time" transportation?
One of the first areas EHH cut the employee head count at CSX was in 'traffic/marketing'. Don't want anyone selling anything 'out of the plan'.
Not surprised, Mr. MMI.

So far as I'm concerned, the railroads held through WWII that shipper/customers were beholden unto them. I even once learned (likely from reading TRAINS), that the industry's reaction to the Interstate highways was one of "how do we route the cement and steel beams"?

They apparently could not, or would not, accept that their high value traffic, such as auto parts, was in jeapordy by a flexible, customer tailored, means of transport would soon be available.

Now Yager comes along with his "Lionel mentality" of a railroad that runs for his convenience. To set up turns for T&E crews of running from home for, say, five hours, then hopping on a return train that arrived, oh say , thirty minutes earlier, than operate that train home within HOS, saving away from home expenses, sounds great. But what if "not so great" for a customer/shipper who has other needs such as s "just in time" supply line.

Yes, Yager did send the industry that some efficiencies were available from his "teachings". As I noted earlier, fine for agricultural shippers not so fine for the high value stuff, when "Wally World or Jeff" wants that "must have" toy on the shelves when they want them for Xmas sales, and not when "Yager's Disciples" say they may have them.

After all, those eight wheels under the trailer can just as easily be pulled by ten more; more costly, but no wailing kids "pacified" with some "rain check".

ExCon90
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Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by ExCon90 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:25 pm

Very likely that comment in Trains was from John Kneiling. I remember that in a column about pipeline competition he commented that the railroads' outlook was "how do we route the pipe?" (Ironically, he had some ideas of his own similar to EHH's attitude: among other things he wanted to introduce a rigid appointment system for shippers to tender containers at intermodal terminals at specified 15-minute periods in North Jersey (!!!) with penalties for late arrivals and no-shows. We didn't adopt it.)

QB 52.32
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Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by QB 52.32 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:27 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:09 am
It's been a few years and one career later since "I've been working on the railroad" (and plus, my road is kaput), but I can only imagine the conflicts occurring today between Traffic/Marketing and Operating as more roads adopt "The Gospel According to Saint Hunter", otherwise known as Precision Railroading.

The conflict must be severe; Traffic/Marketing are salesmen, who probably call at a customer with.a "you want it, you got it" approach. Now here comes operations saying this train will operate at "such and such" time based upon when it will meet with opposing traffic. Engineering/Track is also chiming in "when can we have the track for maintenance"?

I would think the roads can "get away with" these practices call for by Precision Railroading with Agricultural customers. "Throw 'em a lower rate" is all they need.

But what will the package delivery and maritime companies say if their Container/TOFC schedules are affected? How about manufacturing shippers, such as the auto industry, who keep their assembly lines running based on "just in time" transportation?

Be great if those active in the distribution industry (that includes transportation) care to join this discussion.
There has been a lot of public shipper discussion about the railroad industry at this point in time and with PSR being implemented. And, railroad commercial folks are not yesterday's sales departments as they are much more sophisticated in this age of big data and business education. That's not a knock, it's just that times have changed.

In terms of railroad shippers, everything from the most trite to worthy of listening to has been out there. We've heard from the small non-asset 3PL complaining about small-volume lanes losing steel wheel interchange and the lumber yard complaining about accessorial charges because they don't have enough track capacity for their business, to packaging industry companies who rely on an aging fleet of railroad-supplied boxcars complain about local service, to larger carload shippers continue their complaints about rates and now accessorial charges, to the big intermodal users offering guarded positive feedback about the increased reliability and resulting growth PSR offers, though concerned about recovery capability when there are problems. But, I've seen nothing indicating a worthwhile loss of traffic because of PSR and the first of the big four US Class 1's to implement it has gone from worst to first with service reliability up.

In terms of railroad commercial folks, I would think they would see the benefit PSR is providing in boosting service reliability, the most important service aspect customers have reported for the past ~35 years yet remaining woefully unmet as a whole by the railroad industry. Additionally, no doubt there is recognition that double-downing focus on where railroads best compete with long-term sustainability is smart strategy and informed by rail's history since deregulation and the challenges they face in the future.

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14078
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:24 pm

From Hyatt Regency Greenwich CT--

Mr. QB, I certainly review with respect, and from one who appears to be within the industry (how many railfans have heard the term accessorial charge, let alone its definition?) setting forth a positive view of Precision Railroading (PSR).

I think "we stakeholders (mine: Long UNP)" must accept it's where the industry is going and concentrate on the benefits such as Mr. QB appears to have.

mmi16
Posts: 1017
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: USA

Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by mmi16 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:10 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:24 pm
From Hyatt Regency Greenwich CT--

Mr. QB, I certainly review with respect, and from one who appears to be within the industry (how many railfans have heard the term accessorial charge, let alone its definition?) setting forth a positive view of Precision Railroading (PSR).

I think "we stakeholders (mine: Long UNP)" must accept it's where the industry is going and concentrate on the benefits such as Mr. QB appears to have.
Railroads are 'bulking up' on accessorial charges in the same manner that the airlines are on baggage fees, flight change fees, pillow fees etc. etc.

Personal observation, both are trying to accrew more in their 'fees' than what they get for their transportation value.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!

QB 52.32
Posts: 742
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:05 am

Re: Reading List: EHH

Post by QB 52.32 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:58 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:24 pm
From Hyatt Regency Greenwich CT--

Mr. QB, I certainly review with respect, and from one who appears to be within the industry (how many railfans have heard the term accessorial charge, let alone its definition?) setting forth a positive view of Precision Railroading (PSR).

I think "we stakeholders (mine: Long UNP)" must accept it's where the industry is going and concentrate on the benefits such as Mr. QB appears to have.
Some of the pushback against EHH and PSR comes from its not-business-as-usual affront to entrenched industry and specific railroad machismo, interests and cultures. I gather that at least part of Claude Mongeau's recent appointment to NS' Board of Directors has to do with organizational issues as they continue their PSR pivot. And, as we know, EHH's successful implementation of PSR came with a strong organizational/cultural component.

On the lighter side, I chuckled to learn that Harrison's favorite television program was Judge Judy (of course!). Also interesting to note his reported admiration for CSX's Selkirk, NY, (hump yard) workforce.

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