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East Midlands Trains is a long-distance railway company in the United Kingdom. The trains transport people through London, South Yorkshire, the East Midlands, and into East England and the North. The corporation was founded in November 2007 to operate the service while the license was valid. The franchise deal is for 7 years until 2018, where it will be handed over to another corporation with the aim of providing outstanding service.
The company's goal in the area is to provide high-quality and reliable train services. This efficiency has only been achieved by having the possibility of recognizing the different customer needs in the regions and also encouraging more use of the train services in the area. The other major aim of the company also is the need to reduce journey times and improve connections on the regional and local routes.
As it stands at the moment, the company has had some of the success across the business that are notable such as 30 million Euros train refurbishment programme, more than 1200 new car parking spaces in the stations, improvement of the station facilities and integrated transport with allocation of 40 million Euros. The company has the history of having been among the most punctual long distance train operating company in the past four years and also operates in the ISO 14001 environmental standard. These has been among the strengths of East Midland Trains company that has boosted the operations over the past years and increased economic stability of the business.
The company has a great and huge opportunity in building on the network of the railway success in creating new jobs, development of skills among people and improving the connectivity across the region. East Midlands Trains can also leverage their experience of bringing the train and track closer to the development of the plans that will deliver better customer experience to customers and attraction of future. Through working together with the stakeholders in shaping the plans will deliver a significant value to the taxpayers in reinvesting in the public services.
Initially the company had to suffer from the problem of delays and compensation. This has been solved by the introduction of the automated compensation system with real time access to compensation delays that goes beyond 30 minutes and better assistance of the customer's during booking time.
As far as the success of the Network rail is concerned, there has been a general problem of the way the UK rail system was under privatization which yielded little incentives from the NR working with the customers. Financial Times highlights that the long time of idleness is a challenge that requires the industry to develop power on individual routes. The approach is aimed at improving the accountability and help them work closely with the operators.
Market and Product Review
Just like any other business franchise, East Midlands Trains is prone to some of the environmental factors both internal and external that affects the operations of the company either positively or negatively. The way the franchise responds to these factors will determine the success of the business.
A Framework for analysing the external environmental effect to a given organization has been key in the success and marketing strategy of different organizations. PESTEL analysis tool puts into consideration the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Social and Legal aspects of the environment and their impact to the company. The operations of the East Midlands Trains has been influenced and has affected mostly the environmental and Economic aspects in this model.
EMT portrays a positive sense of economic empowerment through its operation in the UK. there has been a clear indication of commitment to employing a lot of people in the UK to support the sustainable economy which is one of the major aims of the sustainability plan. The economy has been growing both locally and nationally. The strategy to establish charity committee in managing charitable activities has been a responsibility assigned to the head of marketing which is one of the actions for sustainable economy.
There is also a plan to support the local economies through the relationship the company has with the small and medium enterprises. The actionable approach to this is through keeping of records of use and interactions with the local SMEs in the customer experience delivery by the head of procurement (Kelly, 2017). This can be measured or evaluated through the percentage of time spend with SME and number of the SMEs in the supply chain.
The possibility of the company utilizing wider benefits of the rail in the support of the economy is also evident in the working with businesses in the transfer of LED goods. This has been planned to implemented by facilitation of carriage of small freight items on the passenger services operating to and from London St Pancras International station. The amount of freight carried will be an evaluation criteria.
The society plays an important and critical role in the development of any business in any given region. The role of the society in the business has been brought in the picture in different perspectives. Management of the stakeholder engagements is a way of being conscious with the community through the establishment of the database of these stakeholders and capturing of the EMT engagement channels.
Conducting at least five community days per year by the franchise aiming at developing EMT links with the local communities has strengthened to cohesion between them and the local community (Kelly, 2017). This is also extended with further development of collaborative work with the community Rail Partnership on the EMT network.
The development of delay management and compensation management systems is an indication of how EMT has build its information Technology structure for the growth. The stakeholders’ databases is also a great gain in this area.
The company’s 2016-18 sustainable plan highlights some of the reasons as to why travelling by train could be termed as a sustainable plan compared to others (Kelly, 2017). The ability to provide people with access to both local and national facilities at lower emission level is an environmental consideration. The sustainability plan cut across the three pillars of sustainable development which include society, environment and economy.
Transport having been mentioned to contribute 22% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2014, the company took a different approach of encouraging the community to shift to a less carbon-intensive means of transport. This was a concern for the UK since increase in the number of passengers is most likely to increase the amount of emission and thus leading to climate change. EMT has been on the forefront in making sure that the community is protected from the natural environmental hazards related to emissions.
Justification and Objectives of the Study
Market Research conducted on East Midlands Trains is a business strategic measure of understanding the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the company. The results of the analysis of various factors and operations will help in forecasting the future of the company based on the achievement of the objectives formulated. The key objectives of this study are;
To determine the key success factors of the East Midlands Trains in the UK.
To evaluate the impacts of the EMT in the economy, society and environment of the regions of operation.
To determine the future plans for the growth and improvement of the customer services in the company.
To facilitate the generation of new development plans in the customer service based of the findings.
Having understood some facts about the East Midlands Trains, it was an important factor to conduct some data sampling research on the company to make some inferences. The reason for conducting this quantitative research was to determine how the people in the community (customers) relate with the business and how this affects the operation of the company at large. The information collected and analysed was descriptive in a way to determine the key constraints of the study. The key characteristics of the quantitative research is the fact that it deals with numbers, logic and objective stance (Orau.gov, 2017). This approach tends to be more accurate and informative in such studies as case business studies.
Conducting the research using various approaches was to put in mind the key characteristics of quantitative research in the delivery of the study results. The main characteristics considered here include;
The data has to be collected using structured research instruments.
The researcher has to make use of some tools such as questionnaires and computer softwares in collecting the data from ground.
The sample data collected has to be structured in a manner that it represents a larger population.
With high reliability of the study, the study, the research can be replicated or repeated.
The collected has to be organised in form of tables, charts and numbers for the purpose of representation.
The study can be used to generalise concepts more widely, investigation of the causal relationships or predict the future of the case study.
Pros of Quantitative Research Methods
In the case of study research, if the survey or sampling involves a convenience sample, the data collected can be analyzed with ease as compared to using other methodologies.
Using surveys in this case can help in providing reliable direction for planning programmes and messages that can be repeatable.
If the survey is able to provide statistically valid random sample, the results of the sampled data can be generalised to the entire population based on the rate of the response.
On some sensitive topics of study, the surveys can be useful since they are anonymous.
Pretest prototypes requires visual materials which is key in most surveys which are part of quantitative research methods.
Cons of Quantitative Research
The main constraint of using quantitative research methods is the limitation of probing answers.
There could be a potential bias in some cases where people chosen to respond might not be willing to share information thus giving wrong information.
Quantitative research methods might be sometimes expensive.
During this study, i decided to make use of structured Questionnaires that customers had to respond to. A sample of 15 customers were taken among the population to represent the larger community. The questions were structured based on various aspects of life starting fromt the society, economy, environment and operations of the services.
The questionnaire penetrated from the general to the specific in the service delivery. This was a way of making sure that every bit of information has been collected from the customers.the sampling was probabilistic in a manner that shows part of the population’s ideas would mean the belief of the entire customers making use of the services. The advantage of making use of the questionnaires was as a regard of reducing the data collection costs and saving on time required for the data collection.
For such a large company, it is important to make use of a large sample from different regions as small samples might not be able to cover all the areas required for the analysis. Making use of the sampling technique sometimes might be problematic as the researcher might end up making conclusions based on only a specific area leaving out the rest. The main trend in the data collected indicates some general trends that could not reflect the true picture of the company under study. This could be a resultant of some inaccurate information that would lead to wrong inferences.
Data Analysis and Key Research Findings
After deciding on the best method of data collection and having come up with the responses from the samples, it was now the right time to apply the quantitative data analysis tools to represent and analyse the data. I had to organize the data into an excel sheet by having to define the labels and variables for every set of data that was collected. The data in excel was then coded into IBM SPSS data analysis software that was to give the resultant visualization. The figure below is the coding of data in SPSS. The procedure was to decide on the general term for the question asked and finally coming up with the structure of values and variables as seen.
After coding the data into the SPSS data analysis tool\, the responses were captured into the datasheet as can be seen below. This was the information that will give the analytics of the responses using different visualization options.
The frequencies file contains the analysis of the data based on the results of the responses.
In regards to the market research of East Midland Trains, the findings indicate a tremendous growth of the company in future with the increase in the call for the train services. The company has been on the forefront in ensuring that good customer care is entitled to their clients and the correlation with the community. EMT has been on the verge of making sure that every idea relating to the growth of the community is given a key opportunity.
The company has made an effort to line itself on the competitive advantage by making sure that every operation falls in line with the PESTEL model. The economic factor of the model has been widely highlighted in every aspect of the operation. The fact that the company is in a position to employ majority of the people in the community is a clear indication of great contribution to the economy both locally and nationwide. The environmental conservation efforts through reduction of carbon emission has been one of the strategic achievements of the EMT in the operation in the UK.
The research and study on the responses from the sample taken among the customers indicates a positive feedback from the customers in terms of management and operations. Unlike other train operating companies, East midlands trains has tried all the possibilities of developing information systems for their operations which is an improvement in various areas of operation and thus resulting to customer satisfaction. The future of East Midlands Trains can be predicted to be a successful implementation of modern network railway within the region.
Kelly, J. (2017). Towards a sustainable railway. [online] East Midland Trains. Available at: https://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/Global/Documents/Sustainability%20Plan%202016-18.pdf [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
Orau.gov. (2017). Quantitative Research Methods. [online] Available at: http://www.orau.gov/cdcynergy/soc2web/content/activeinformation/tools/toolscontent/quantiativemethods.htm [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].
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