Supply Chain Solutions – Delivering Successful Projects

Your business may have the expertise and capabilities required to deliver big projects, but it also needs your supply chain to be wholly in tune with your project aims, timetable and activities. In this article, we demonstrate a practical application of our services that delivered real value for Thales.

Thales, as the principal contractor on the 4LM project to upgrade the signalling systems of four of London Underground’s most important railway lines: Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan, engaged Unipart Rail in February 2016 to provide logistics services for the whole of the five and a half year project.

Thales is installing its modern railway system – Seltrac – and has a requirement to procure and manage £100m of equipment over the project life, requiring an agile supply chain to them and their sub-contractors.

The contract with Unipart Rail covers:

  • Warehouse services based at Weedon, Northants
  • Operation of Beckton Stores
  • Operation of Cody Road Forward Stores
  • Supply of VMI Consumables
  • Provision of Unipart Dorman LED signals


Our solution

The complexity of the project required an integrated logistics service – including sourcing, moving, managing, kitting and delivering materials on a JIT basis, as access times were restricted, and local storage in central London was unavailable.

Our Weedon warehouse in Northamptonshire was well positioned to be the hub for the logistics service, using the Unipart Rail Remote Warehouse system to manage the materials through the supply chain, and onward to the Unipart Rail managed stores at Cody Road, in London.

Engineering support is critical to the success of this project and Unipart Rail’s SmartServe proposition is utilised at the Beckton Stores to support the Thales Engineers, who are key to the installation, testing and commissioning of the new signalling system

Value for Money is an important criteria for Thales, but as was value in creative innovation in managing materials in an agile manner. This has been demonstrated by the bespoke racking that was designed for handling and processing 30 drums of 44 different cable types at any one time. This enabled three cutting machines to operate together to deliver cable for the project requirements during the night.

Through our collaboration we were able to deliver performance levels that ensured the project could focus on delivering the infrastructure enhancements on the network.

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