TOP21 rollout meeting expectations, says NS

Written by Andrew Corselli

Norfolk Southern (NS) noted that during the first week of July it was able to roll out the railroad’s new TOP21 Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) operating plan “in a seamless changeover with minimal impact to customer service and network operations.”

NS attributes the successful TOP21 launch to “extensive planning and customer collaboration leading up to the implementation. This included iterative modeling by the Network Planning and Optimization team, with corresponding adjustments based on reviews by both the operating and marketing groups.”

Leading up to the implementation, NS hosted a series of 19 town hall meetings across its network with employees and customers participating in the discussion.

NS’s marketing team then met with hundreds of key customers in May and June to prepare customers for the plan and to communicate expectations for the transition. NS also established two 24/7 command centers to monitor network status and customer concerns throughout the implementation, with no significant issues reported.

This first phase of TOP21 was focused on NS’s carload and automotive networks.

“We have already begun the planning process for the next phase of TOP21 to improve our operations and to better serve our customers,” said Mike Wheeler, NS EVP, COO. “We expect another successful rollout based on frequent communication with our customers and employees to ensure another seamless transition.”

“We are one team, dedicated to serving our customers, managing assets, controlling costs, operating safely and developing people,” said John Friedmann, NS VP, Network Planning and Optimization. “The benefits associated with TOP21—reduced circuitry and improved velocity—will directly benefit our customers through faster, more predictable transit times that require fewer assets to move their shipments.”

“To our employees, we thank you for your dedication in ensuring a smooth transition to our new operating plan with minimal disruption,” said Alan Shaw, NS EVP, CMO. “To our customers, we cannot thank you enough for your business, and we welcome continued opportunities to grow our business, together.”

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