Alstom to supply trains to VMS in €150 million deal
Alstom has been awarded a €150 million contract to supply 29 Coradia Continental electrical trains to Verkehrsverbund Mittelsachsen GmbH (VMS) in Central Saxony, Germany and a servicing contract over a period of 16 years.
The first contract also includes purchase options for up to 23 additional trains. The trains are scheduled to enter commercial service in June 2016 on the Mittelsachsen II electricity network, from Elsterwerda and from Dresden through Chemnitz and Zwickau to Hof.
Andreas Knitter, Senior Vice-President Europe of Alstom Transport, said: “We are pleased that VMS has chosen our modern solutions which include the Rolling Stock and the servicing. These contracts constitute a new economic model for the customer as it guarantees the quality and reliability of service.”
Dr. Harald Neuhaus, managing director of VMS GmbH, said: “Within the award process, we saw Alstom as a very reliable partner. We are convinced that we found a supplier which will deliver and maintain modern multiple units for our passengers.”
Alstom’s regional train Coradia Continental is able to circulate at a commercial speed of 160 km/h. It offers excellent acceleration characteristics, reducing travel time.
The three-car and five-car trainset versions will be able to carry up to 320 and 520 passengers respectively with a special emphasis being placed on customer comfort.
Multi-purpose areas provide space for wheelchairs, bicycles and strollers. The traction equipment is located on the roof, allowing spacious interior design including a large corridor for easier movement within the train.
Coradia Continental is equipped with a low floor, and handrails, that facilitate the access on board and circulation of passengers. The trains are equipped in accordance with the latest European crash standards, thereby providing a high degree of safety for the train drivers and passengers.
The 29 trains will be manufactured at Alstom’s site in Salzgitter. Alstom employees will perform their maintenance until the end of 2032 in the workshop near Chemnitz.
Up-to-date information regarding the maintenance of the trains will be provided to all project members via a central information platform. The servicing contract also includes the maintenance planning the supply of spare parts as well as the main inspections.
Coradia Continental belongs to Alstom’s Coradia range of modular trains. More than 3,000 Alstom regional trains have been sold and 1,200 Coradia trains are currently circulating in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.