DMR makes $20 million tye with CP Rail

A 10-year, $20 million (US) agreement between Canadian Pacific Railway and DMR Consulting is geared to make riding the rails more efficient.

Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) has chosen Edison, N.J.-based DMR Consulting to help it to adapt and implement its Thoroughbred Yard Enterprise System (TYES), a train yard inventory management system that will replace the old CP Rail system, Common Yards.

“What we are doing is adapting the system through a project and working with CPR to implement it and operate it over a 10-year period,” said Sean Harris, client executive for CPR at DMR Consulting.

TYES is used to manage the movement of rail cars in and around rail yards and terminals and is part of a new suite of operating systems designed to increase CPR’s efficiencies. CPR purchased the rail operations software from Atlanta-based railway company Norfolk Southern. Kathy Penner, principal project management site leader for DMR said that while CPR’s business needs are similar to Norfolk Southern’s, Canadian regulatory requirements create unique situations for CPR.

“They have some specific ways that they move train cars and that is a bit different than the way Norfolk Southern does it, so the appropriate logic has to be built into it,” she said.

And that is exactly the sort of thing DMR will be taking care of, according to Allen Borak, vice-president of information systems for CPR. Because DMR has been involved in the project for several years, it seemed like a natural choice for the partnership, he said.

“We were working with Norfolk (two years ago) and at the time DMR were willing to put people on the ground in Atlanta, so they had early involvement,” he said. “From a technology point of view, Norfolk used technologies that we didn’t have and from a strategic point of view, we didn’t want to have to build up the skills. So we thought that maybe it would make more sense for DMR, over the long haul, to get in and help us develop this thing, understand it and sustain it.”

Because there are only a handful of major railways, Borak said it is often a major challenge to find companies that write packages because there is little market for it. “Whenever you need something to cover a big piece of business functionality, you end up typically working with others to get it,” he said.

Borak said CPR plans on treating the technology as something of a black box, having someone else look after the skills and services levels. “Day to day, DMR is on the front line for application support,” he said.

Harris said the project is going through traditional development stages of business requirements, design, construction and implementation. “From a life cycle perspective, they are just wrapping up the design phase now,” he said. “Right now, they are targeting to begin integration and acceptance testing in November/December of 2002.”

Penner added that about 35 DMR people are involved, making up about half those on the project.

Lars Goransson, vice-president of Canadian services research at IDC Canada in Toronto, said this particular field has been a very successful line of business for DMR.

“Not really any surprises here,” he said. “This just confirms that DMR is continuing to move forward in the application outsourcing space. No surprise at all.”

However, because CPR and DMR are looking at using someone else’s software, he said challenges are pretty much inevitable.

CPR in Calgary is at

DMR Consulting in Edison, N.J. and across Canada, is at