RFM Celebrates Success of Third SME Challenge

Rail Forum Midlands (RFM) is delighted with the success of their third SME Challenge as part of the Rail Supply Group’s Rail Sector Deal Midlands Pilots. The SME Challenges have been designed to provide opportunities for SMEs to work collaboratively to develop and offer solutions to commercial needs identified by different clients across the industry.

This is the third SME Challenge run by RFM and was focussed on Depot Digitalisation and Sustainability with DB Cargo UK as the end client who have major depots in Crewe, Stoke and Toton. There were over 40 ideas/proposals submitted by the SMEs and RFM are pleased to announce that 14 of these ideas/proposals have been selected for one-to-one follow up meetings with DB Cargo UK.

Marie Hill, Chief Transportation and Digitalisation Officer at DB Cargo UK said: “Working with RFM we have had the ability to allow multiple SME’s the opportunity to look at the ‘current’ ways of working at our Stoke and Toton depots – giving them an insight into what we do and, what changes they would implement to help DB Cargo UK on its journey to a digital and sustainable future.”

Robert Hodgson, Engagement Manager at RFM said: “It was a pleasure to run this third SME Collaborative Challenge with DB Cargo as the end client, with their goal of improving efficiency, productivity and sustainability of their depots across the country. The engagement from both DB Cargo and the many SMEs was excellent and I look forward to seeing some of the ideas and proposals coming to fruition.”




For further information contact:

Elaine Clark – CEO



About Rail Forum Midlands

Rail Forum Midlands (RFM) is a national industry body with strong regional connections including supporting the nationally and internationally important rail supply chain cluster across the Midlands; RFM has over 300 members providing products and services across all aspects of the industry. RFM actively supports the national rail agenda and strategy, encouraging collaboration, promoting members’ capabilities, leading a number of regional skills initiatives and supporting innovation and export priorities. RFM is owned and governed by its members with a Board drawn from member companies.



Notes to Editors

  1. Sector Deals form part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy – they are broad agreements between an industry and the government to establish a partnership approach to creating opportunities that boost productivity, employment, innovation and skills in key sectors of the economy.
  1. The RFM Rail Sector Deal Midlands Pilots Programme for SME Growth through Collaboration had two previous challenges: Lightweighting and Opportunities for Decarbonising Freight
  1. The Lightweighting Challenge was launched in July 2020, supported by Bombardier, Hitachi, Porterbrook and Siemens with other OEMs/asset managers. The challenge related to the need to remove weight from passenger rail vehicles – both new and existing.
  1. The second challenge, focused on Opportunities for Decarbonising Freight, working with Tarmac, a major end customer for rail freight together with the University of Derby and several potential clients including freight operators, wagon companies and asset managers was launched in October 2020. Topics of particular interest were Data Management & Telematics, Locomotives & Wagons, Driver Management and Path Improvements and Terminal Management and Improvements.
  1. The Rail Supply Group (RSG) is the leadership body for the rail supply sector in the UK. Their aim is to strengthen the capability and competitiveness of the UK rail supply chain to grow business at home and abroad. The RSG was tasked by Government in 2018 to deliver its Industrial Strategy: Rail Sector Deal and aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the rail supply industry at home and overseas. The RSG’s core activities are: Digital Railway; Mobility and Data; Sustainable Railway; and Export and Inward Investment. The four pillars have three overarching initiatives: Midlands Pilots, Skills & People and Industry Productivity.
  1. The Rail Supply Group would like industry views on the Rail Sector Deal priorities for 2022 and beyond and have launched an industry-wide survey, led by independent market researchers Savanta ComRes. To take part in this survey please click here. The survey will take 10 minutes to complete. The deadline for responses is Christmas Eve, Friday 24th December 2021.
Share this page: