In 2019, Winnipeg saw the hard work of a new leadership team realized; the bolstered relationships between departments and crafts resulted in improved operations.
“One of the biggest challenges in Winnipeg was mending the relationship between the unionized members and our management team,” said Nick Pattyn, Superintendent Winnipeg. “Building that bond of trust, making sure that we had that open line of communication and dealing with the issues at the forefront allowed us to gain the trust back.”
Winnipeg’s craft employees agree and attribute the success to better communication between management and unionized employees, fixing safety concerns when they arise and ensuring that everyone is aligned on the task ahead with frequent all-department meetings.
“The cross-functional communication has been great, and it really makes a difference that everybody included is on the same page to get jobs done,” said Darryl Packulak, Snow Plow Foreman. “People are expressing more, and more are involved across the board on what it is we’re trying to accomplish. We know what we’ve got to do when we do get there.”
Many of the key operating metrics – number of cars handled, on-time trip plan performance and decreased terminal costs, including cost per cars handled – saw significant improvement. The most significant improvement, and what set Winnipeg apart from other terminals, was safety. In 2019, the team brought their Federal Railroad Administration-reportable injuries down to 0.82 as at Dec. 15, 2019. For everyone who works in Winnipeg, these are the results of an engaged leadership team and workforce.
“It’s easy to improve one metric at the expense of other metrics,” said Pat Remillard, General Manager Operations Central. “I can improve service and spend a lot of money doing it. But to improve service and maintain my costs and operate safely and then continue to operate safely while I’m driving productivity, this is what makes me proud.”
Winnipeg takes pride in the application and principles of Home Safe. Tracy Miller, Senior Vice-President Operations East, said that Winnipeg embodies what Home Safe represents. “Home Safe is about 100 percent compliance for yourself and holding your mate 100 percent compliant to the rules so that you both go home safe,” he said.
“We’re a safety-first company,” said Ryan Mayman, Assistant Superintendent. “We look out for our mates, and we bring that to work every day. Going home safe at the end of the day, that’s our number one priority.”
Pride in their work, diversity of thought and background, and holding each other accountable to safety rules defines the culture at Winnipeg. It’s a winning combination and one that Pattyn says will drive Winnipeg to continue to improve terminal performance.
“Watch out, because we’re going for two years in a row,” said Pattyn.