Category Archives: Innovation

The CSX Railroad Must BE NIMBLE!

Coal likely won’t be a major traffic/revenue for CSX anymore. Coal revenue losses, which have been mounting since 2011, are expected to total $2 billion by year’s end.

So, the Class I needed to develop a strategy to radically change the structure and operation of the coal-dominant railroad for the long term. Enter the “CSX of Tomorrow.” Formally launched in late April and expected to take several years to implement, the strategy calls for realigning the network to de-emphasize coal traffic and optimize the volume-growth potential of the more promising intermodal sector and solid merchandise segment; deploying more high-tech equipment and information systems; pursuing service excellence; and developing a workforce of the future.

csxmap

The idea— and hope — behind the CSX of Tomorrow (CoT): help spur volume growth and increase profitability in the intermodal and merchandise franchises, and yet preserve the business value of coal as it becomes a smaller part of the company’s portfolio.

The Class I aims to develop a Team of Tomorrow (ToT), or a more diverse, versatile and highly skilled workforce. CSXers believe such a team can up the ante on working collaboratively, making decisions quickly, embracing new technologies and finding ways to boost productivity.

The Network of Networks: You Mean THE CLOUD

Today I spent on a project from 2013: Supply Chain Control Towers

Far greater minds than mine have defined Supply Chain Control Towers? There are many definitions but Capgemini offers a good, broad definition that many would agree with: “A supply chain control tower is a central hub with the required technology, organization, and processes to capture and use supply chain data to provide enhanced visibility for short and long term decision making that is aligned with strategic objectives.”

Yes, I wrote about Supply Chain Control Towers and Transportation Control Towers

First thing today I get a message from India. Company wants to know more about Supply Chain Control Towers. Then I read mail (uuuggghhh). Get a blog from Lora Cecere, The Supply Chain Shaman.. She knows more about Supply Chains than I ever will. But she is allied with ALL the vendors in the industry. I trust them as far as I can throw them.

scmcontroltower2

But she has a great idea: A Netword of Networks

I simplify that to “THE CLOUD”

Back the Control Towers. She and I agree on a lot. Difference simply is I want EDI to be the main communications tool (other than voice-to-voice). She wants to also introduce many existing communications tools from her great vendor community. I feel EDI is proven and can communicate ANYTHING. She wants to introduce things like HADOOP, SPARK, BLOCK CHAIN to the process. ADOBE may be her great friend. All I know about them is their opening remark if I contact them. “What is your credit card number?” Still confident in the international banking system to think BLOCKCHAIN is a lot of B..S We use BNP Paribas and know it’s capabilities.

scmcontroltower3

I am sure Lora and I will work out our differences. So confident that I have signed up for her Webinar in January.

This is a guest blog from my boss, Ken Kinlock. He is “The Man” about Control Towers

Gotthard Base Tunnel In The Alps Begins Passenger Service

Regular passenger train services through the Gotthard Base Tunnel begin. The longest rail tunnel in the world, it is the centrepiece of the planned AlpTransit rail network that will speed people and cargo through Switzerland and under the Alps. It was inaugurated on Jun 1.

The 57km (35-mile) tunnel is expected to service 65 passenger trains per day reaching speeds of 250 kmh (155 mph), along with up to 260 freight trains. It cuts the 3.5-hour travel time from Zürich to Milan by an hour and reduces the journey from Zürich to Lugano to one hour 40 minutes.

A parallel service, running hourly, begins in the same month on the original Alpine railway link, which involves countless bridges and loop tunnels and passes through the old 15 km (9.3 mile) Gotthard tunnel, which was built in 1882.

Engineers broke through the final barrier in the new Gotthard in Oct 2010. With rock cover up to 2,300 metres (7546 feet) in depth, it is also the deepest rail tunnel in the world. It has overtaken Japan’s 53.9 km (33.5 mile) Seikan rail tunnel as the longest in the world and pushed the 50.5 km (31.3 mile) Channel Tunnel linking the United Kingdom and France into third place.

This Hyperloop VR app is a good reminder of how claustrophobic Hyperloop pods will be……The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink

Considering the engineering and financial challenges of building a working Hyperloop, it’s not a given that the technology envisioned by Elon Musk will ever come to fruition. However, it is certain (in my opinion, anyway) that any working Hyperloop pods are likely to be claustrophobic as hell. Now, I know some companies involved have tried to waylay these fears with talks of augmented reality windows and calming lighting, but I honestly don’t think these will make a difference. You’ll still know you’re getting into a tiny pod that’s completely sealed off from the world — and this virtual reality Hyperloop app shows it.

THE MOST BORING VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE I’VE EVER TRIED

The app has been built by Dutch ad agency INDG to support the work of the Delft University of Technology, which entered its pod into SpaceX’s Hyperloop design competition earlier this year. (They came second.) The app includes a nice exploded-view diagram that explains the basic Hyperloop mechanics, but there’s also a simulated trip from Amsterdam to Paris. (You can try it for yourself by downloading the app from iTunes here or the Play Store here.)

It’s perhaps the most boring virtual reality experience I’ve ever tried: you simply sit there and watch the odometer tick away while unexplained lights streak past you. The tedium certainly didn’t help with my itching desire to get up and stretch my legs and although I’m not sure if the VR experience exactly replicates Delft’s Hyperloop design, I do hope they at least add an aisle to their pod so passengers can walk up and down a little. At least when it’s not a VR Hyperloop journey I’ll be able to read a book.

By James Vincent @jjvincent

Transit agencies use ‘Pokemon GO’ to encourage ridership

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and other transit agencies are using the “Pokemon GO” game to encourage public transit ridership.

Several of Metro’s rail stations serve as “gyms,” where players of the game can train and battle Pokemon, the agency announced this week. Additionally, many stops serve as “Pokestops,” where players can gather equipment needed for the game.

“For those of you who aren’t too keen on walking long distances, Metro buses and trains are a good traffic-beating option with many stations near the type of community gathering places favored by the game,” Metro officials said in a press release.

Additionally, the agency created a Twitter handle dedicated to updates about the augmented reality game, which requires players to walk around their environments to capture virtual creatures.

However, Metro cautioned players to remain alert and aware of their surroundings while playing the game. On Twitter, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) and several other agencies have issued similar warnings.

Meanwhile, Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Miami-Dade Transit and others also sent out tweets encouraging Pokemon GO players to use transit to catch Pokemon.

The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink COULD Go From Jeffersonville to Louisville UNDERWATER (No. 15)

Hyperloop One Plans to Take the Ultrafast Transport System Underwater

By Kelly Tatera on June 24, 2016

It just keeps getting better.

As if the Hyperloop concept itself isn’t impressive enough, Brogan BamBrogan, the co-founder and CTO of Hyperloop One, announced the company’s plans to take the ultrafast transportation system underwater.

For a little background, tech guru Elon Musk pitched the idea of the Hyperloop transportation system back in 2013, and it’s quickly becoming a reality. Basically, the Hyperloop is a supersonic transportation system that will theoretically transport people or cargo in levitating pod-capsules at rates near the speed of sound.

Just last month, Hyperloop One, one of the companies developing the Hyperloop technology, demonstrated its first successful public display of a Hyperloop pod in the Nevada desert. Impressively, the propulsion speeds went from zero to 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers) in just 4 seconds. You can watch a video of the demonstration here.
DON’T MISS: MIT Unveils Their Winning Hyperloop Pod Prototype

Now, as if on-land Hyperloop systems weren’t futuristic enough, Hyperloop One also plans to test out an underwater system.

BamBrogan sat down with Science Friday to discuss the technology, and he claims that the company already has the capability of building an underwater Hyperloop system, but is trying to find a more cost-effective approach.

“The DNA of my time at SpaceX has got its fingerprints all over Hyperloop,” BamBrogan says. “There’s nothing new that has to be invented, but (what) we are doing is innovating and doing things to bring the cost down.”

At this point, BamBrogan says the production costs are still too high, but hopefully these costs will go down as the technology develops. Plus, he says that many people probably don’t even know how much they want the Hyperloop system since it’s new and yet to become available.

“We think we can deliver things people don’t even know they want yet, and that’s going to manifest itself in a lot of ways,” he says. “So I think we will see some above-grade systems, we’re definitely going to see tunneled systems, and we also want to see some underwater systems.”

The Hyperloop One underwater concept can be seen in the image above — exciting things to come.

JUST THINK: Not Another Ohio River RIDGE!!!

Hyperloop Technologies: Changing the way we travel (Ali Hyperloop 14)

In 2013, entrepreneur Elon Musk, proposed a conceptual high-speed transportation system called the ‘Hyperloop’.

And while construction of the “Hyperloop” itself is still in the startup phase, both current and former students at UCLA’s IDEAS campus have already envisioned what the Hyperloop travel experience would be like.

“We were just looking at the data of Elon’s white paper and expanding it, taking it to the next level,” explained former UCLA graduate student Matt Whitham. “How big would a Hyperloop station have to be? What would the interior of the capsule look like? How to design it? Would you be able to stand up inside of the capsule while going 760 miles an hour?”

The idea is that passengers would ride inside capsules, at tremendously high speeds, in pneumatic tubes. A cross-continent trip that today takes days could be completed in mere hours.

“It changes the perception of space it changes the perspective of time, it’s going to be revolutionary,” says UCLA Professor Marta Nowak.

And, as Full Frame Contributor Sandra Hughes found out, reinventing the way we all travel is no small challenge.

See Video http://www.cctv-america.com/2016/06/11/hyperloop-technologies-changing-the-way-we-travel

Russian Railways taps into Hyperloop transportation technology, with GE and SNCF (Ali Hyperloop 13)

Russia has confidently tapped into hyperloop train technology for moving both freight and passengers at speeds of up to 1,200 kph. Russian Railways and Hyperloop One are exploring together the possibility of using the futuristic technology. General Electric and SNCF could join Russia’s Hyperloop pilot project as investors, declared the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev (TASS).

“We’re now discussing with Russian Railways first pilot projects and therefore will hopefully be testing them in the nearest future in Russia as well, and such major investors as General Electric and SCNF, the leading industrial companies, are putting their faith in the project and obviously we hope it will be successful in Russia as well,” he said.

Hyperloop One, the Russian group of companies Summa (owner of Fesco, one of the largest Russian shipowners and operators of port infrastructure with integrated rail and logistics operations), and Moscow Government have signed an agreement to explore building Hyperloop One systems in Russia’s capital region. The deal was signed at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum by Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin, Summa Group chairman Ziyavudin Magomedov and Hyperloop One chairman and co-founder Shervin Pishevar. According to Hyperloop One, discussions with Russia’s federal government are underway for a second feasibility study, with an agreement expected later this year.

“Our longer term vision is to work with Russia to implement a transformative new Silk Road: a cargo Hyperloop that whisks freight containers from China to Europe in a day,” Pishevar stated.

Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that the Russian government proposed Primorye-2 transportation corridor as the pilot stage for hyperloop. The 70 km long corridor connects the ports in the southwest of Primorye – Posiet, Zarubino and Slavyanka – with China’s northeastern provinces. According to him, China has also expressed interest to co-fund the project. “We have a fund to support the Silk Road projects. I believe that this project may count on 100% co-financing from this fund,” he said.

RDIF also announced yesterday that it made investments in Hyperloop One. RDIF committed funds to the company during the Series B financing round, which closed in April 2016. A number of leading international investors participated in this round alongside RDIF. Among them are: Sherpa Ventures, Formation 8, ZhenFund, Caspian Venture Partners, 137 Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Fast Digital, Western Technology Investment (WTI), GE Ventures, as well as SNCF.

“RDIF pays great attention to the development of transport infrastructure, including the technological advances that will shape the future of the transport industry. Our investment in Hyperloop One project will facilitate the arrival of cutting-edge technologies in Russia. RDIF and its international partners will provide support to the project not only in Russia but also in the Middle Eastern and Asian markets.”

Hyperloop pods competing in Elon Musk’s big race later this year – Ali Hyperloop 11

Later this year, dozens of college teams from around the world will travel to Hawthorne, California to compete in a high-stakes contest to prove Elon Musk’s vision of super-fast, super-sustainable, tube-based transportation known as the Hyperloop.

The teams were chosen last January in SpaceX’s Hyperloop pod design competition held at Texas A&M University.
From over 120 schools, 29 college teams (plus one high school team and one non-student team that formed on Reddit) were picked to advance to the next round. They are now building fully functional, three-fourth scale models of their pods to test on SpaceX’s one-mile track. It’s unlikely that any of the pods will get up to the Hyperloop’s theoretical full speed of 760 mph, but the shot of adrenaline to the burgeoning Hyperloop industry should be huge.

The exact date and location of the contest haven’t been revealed yet. SpaceX is shooting for early-to-mid-August, according to leaked emails sent to the teams. That date, however, will depend on construction and testing of the track. Still, all the teams are hard at work, fueled by their collective excitement of being at the vanguard of a new form of transportation. (In his original paper outlining the Hyperloop, Musk described it as “the fifth mode of transportation.)

“There are so many unknowns because this is the first year of the competition, and the first time anything like this has been done,” said Grace Everitt, a member of the University of Florida’s Gatorloop team, “but it’s thrilling to be part of the first wave of the revolution.”

DelftUniversity

See the others http://uk.businessinsider.com/what-riding-inside-hyperloop-pods-could-look-like-2016-6?r=US&IR=T

8 Things Exceptional Employees Hate (and Toxic Employees Love to Do)

The very worst employees don’t actually cause the biggest problems. Whether totally incompetent or unbelievably lazy, they’re easy to spot — so, although it’s never fun to fire anyone, at least you know there’s a problem and you can let that person go.

The biggest problems are caused by employees who appear to be doing a decent job but who in fact are slowly ruining the morale, attitude, and performance of other employees — and in the process, ruining your business as well.

What do they do?

1. They love to have the meeting after the meeting.

You have a meeting. Issues are raised. Concerns are shared. Decisions are made. Everyone in attendance fully support those decisions. Things are going to happen.

Then someone holds the “meeting after the meeting.” Now she talks about issues she didn’t share in the actual meeting. Now he disagrees with the decisions made in the actual meeting.

And sometimes those people even say to their teams, “Look, I think this is a terrible idea, but we’ve been told to do it, so I guess we need to give it a shot.” That means what was going to happen never will.

Waiting until after a meeting to say “I’m not going to support that” is like saying “I’ll agree to anything … but that doesn’t mean I’ll actually do it. I’ll even work against it.”

Those people need to work somewhere else.

2. They love to say, “That’s not my job.”

The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.

Even if that means a manager has to help load a truck or a machinist needs to clean up a solvent spill; or the accounting staff needs to hit the shop floor to help complete a rush order; or a CEO needs to man a customer service line during a product crisis. (You get the idea.)

Any task an employee is asked to do — as long as it isn’t unethical, immoral, or illegal, and it’s “below” his or her current position — is a task an employee should be willing to do. (Great employees notice problems and jump in without being asked.)

Saying “It’s not my job” says “I care only about me.” That attitude quickly destroys overall performance because it quickly turns what might have been a cohesive team into a dysfunctional group of individuals.

3. They love to act like they’ve already paid their dues.

An employee did great things last year, last month, or even yesterday. You’re appreciative. You’re grateful.

Still, today is a new day. Dues are never paid in full. Dues get paid. The only real measure of any employee’s value is the tangible contribution he or she makes on a daily basis.

Saying “I’ve paid my dues” is like saying “I no longer need to work as hard.” And suddenly, before you know it, other employees start to feel they’ve earned the right to coast too.

4. They love to think their experience is all that matters.

Experience is definitely important, but experience that doesn’t translate into better skills, better performance, and greater achievement is worthless. Experience that just “is” is a waste.

Example: A colleague once said to younger supervisors, “My role is to be a resource.” Great, but then he sat in his office all day waiting for us to come by so he could dispense his pearls of wisdom. Of course, none of us did stop by–we were all busy thinking, “I respect your experience, but I wish your role was to do your job.”

How many years you’ve put in pales in comparison with how many things you’ve done.

Saying “I have more experience” is like saying “I don’t need to justify my decisions or actions.” Experience (or position) should never win an argument. Wisdom, logic, and judgment should always win — regardless of in whom those qualities are found.

5. They love to gossip.

Before a meeting, some of us were talking about supervisors in another department when our new boss looked up and said, “Stop. From now on we will never say anything bad about anyone unless they are actually in the room. Period.”

Until then, I never thought of gossip as a part of a company’s culture — gossip just was. We all did it. And it sucked — especially because being the focus of gossip sucked. (And in time, I realized people who gossip suck too.)

If an employee has talked to more than one person about something Mark is doing, wouldn’t everyone be better off if he stepped up and actually talked to Mark about it? And if it’s “not his place” to talk to Mark, it’s definitely not his place to talk about Mark.

Saying “Did you hear what he did?” is like saying “I have nothing better to do than talk about other people.”

Not only do employees who create a culture of gossip waste time better spent on productive conversations, but they cause other people to respect their co-workers a little less–and anything that diminishes the dignity or respect of any employee should never be tolerated.

6. They love to use peer pressure to hold other employees back.

A new employee works hard. She works long hours. She’s hitting targets and exceeding expectations. She rocks. And she eventually hears, from a more “experienced” employee, “You’re working too hard and making the rest of us look bad.”

Where comparisons are concerned, a great employee doesn’t compare herself with others — she compares herself with herself. She wants to “win” that comparison by improving and doing better today than she did yesterday.

Poor employees don’t want to do more; they want others to do less. They don’t want to win. They just want others to make sure they don’t lose.

Saying, “You’re working too hard,” is like saying, “No one should work hard because I don’t want to work hard.” And pretty soon very few people do — and the ones who keep trying get shunned for a quality you need every employee to possess.

7. They love to grab the glory.

OK, maybe he did do nearly all the work. Maybe he did overcome almost every obstacle. Maybe, without him, that high-performing team would have been anything but.

Probably not. Nothing important is ever accomplished alone, even if some people love to act like it is.

A good employee and good team player shares the glory. He credits others. He praises. He appreciates. He lets others shine. That’s especially true for an employee in a leadership position–he celebrates the accomplishments of others secure in the knowledge that their success reflects well on him, too.

Saying “I did all the work” or “It was all my idea” is like saying “The world revolves around me, and I need everyone to know it.” And even if other people don’t adopt the same philosophy, they resent having to fight for recognition that is rightfully theirs.

8. And they love to throw others under the bus.

A vendor complains. A customer feels shortchanged. A co-worker gets mad. No matter what has happened, it’s someone else’s fault.

Sometimes, whatever the issue and regardless of who is actually at fault, some people step in and take the hit. They willingly accept the criticism or abuse, because they know they can handle it (and they know that maybe the person actually at fault cannot).

Few acts are more selfless than taking the undeserved hit. And few acts better cement a relationship. Few acts are more selfish than saying “It wasn’t me,” especially when, at least in part, it was.

Saying “You’ll have to talk to Martha” is like saying “We’re not all in this together.” At the best companies, everyone is in it together.

Anyone who isn’t needs to go.

 Jeff Haden

Contributing editor, Inc.