Driving Corporate Process Excellence

A leading North American short-haul rail carrier has experienced significant growth through acquisition as well as organically in recent years. 

Corporate processes for the company’s more than 40 railroads have been centralized with the expectation of cost reduction, greater consistency, and faster receipt of revenue.

A team of C-Suite executives co-sponsor an extensive program to transform core processes performed at headquarters and other regional hubs.  SimpatiCo is once again asked to take a leadership role based on past project success working with the growing organization.

SimpatiCo’s Role

SimpatiCo partnered with over 50 stakeholders across the organization to define and implement improvements to the Pricing, Billing and Invoicing, Employee Lifecycle, and Monthly Closing processes, leveraging best practices from across the company’s railroads wherever possible.  Specific deliverables included the following:

  • Catalogued the contract variables/fields required to effectively and efficiently record and invoice traffic
  • Mapped and analyzed the rate gathering and entry process to reduce number of no-rate or estimated rate cars
  • Developed comprehensive “scorecards” for 10 pilot railroads and measured manual and rework activities; identified root causes of manual effort and resolved across all railroads
  • Developed future-state maps for three employee lifecycle processes:  on-boarding, updates, and exit that detail hand-offs across core Finance, Accounting, and HR processes
  • Installed comprehensive metrics to help identify root causes of accounting journal entry errors and rework during the month-end close process (e.g., G/L Accounting, Revenue Accounting, Fixed Assets, and Corporate Accounting)
  • Redesigned the internal requisition/purchase order process to increase compliance and improve overall procurement cycle time


Senior leaders and team members across the company now consider the revised core processes “the way we do business”, and significant improvements are captured during the program:

  • The number of rate entry databases is reduced by 30% and suspended waybills are at a record low
  • Based on instituted metrics, manual activities and rework associated with Billing and Invoicing are reduced by 35% across pilot railroads; identified manual and rework issues were corrected at all other railroads
  • Time to close the books each month has improved by two days, including an improvement in on-time invoices by over 50%; a “soft close” methodology is now in place for non-quarter-end months
  • Revised authority levels for P.O’s has improved turn-around-time without compromising delegation of authority.

One year into the process excellence program, the company is acquired by a competitor for more than a 10% premium over closing stock prices.  Process excellence is often referenced during due diligence, and the acquiring company has indicated an interest in extending methodology and practices to its railroads.