Streamlined operations, improved reliability and reduced costs without compromising personal or asset safety are never-ending demands from train manufacturers and railway operators. At Consilium Safety in Germany, Philipp Liebe, Global Key Account Manager within the Transport business area, ensures that our organization is on track with current and future challenges.
Hello Philipp, what’s the situation like in the railway industry?
I would say that the train business is ramping up. People in the industry see a future where the coronavirus is under control, and there is an underlying need for cost-efficient and safe short- and mid-distance transportation. In some countries – India is one example – trains have been overcrowded for years, and more trains are needed.
Governments are also promoting rail transport to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Not so long ago, the French government banned domestic flights for destinations that can be reached in less than two and a half hours. This opens up for more travel by train.
What is the main pain point for your customers?
Reducing costs is essential to any manufacturer and operator in the highly competitive transport sector. However, tight cost control forces you to think smarter, which is beneficial for a company like Consilium Safety with lots of experience, knowledge and resources.
One way to cut costs is standardised system platforms. Together with our customers, we create SIL2-level platforms that can communicate with the train computer management system. Not having to start from scratch in the next project saves time, and right now we have five projects where we reuse the technical platform and documentation. You can compare it with the standardisation in the automotive industry, where many types of cars share the same technical platform.
Does the cost chasing ever affect safety onboard?
No. We work with some of the major train manufacturing brands in the world, and safety matters to them and their customers. The trend is also that customers demand even more from us in terms of documentation and long-term commitment. I take that as a sign that safety is more important than ever.
What kind of costs are we talking about?
A fire detection system typically counts for one per cent of the total building cost for a train. I think that is a low insurance cost for saving people’s lives, material value and a company’s brand image in the event of an accident. In some contracts, we also collaborate with external suppliers to present an offering giving more functionality in an attractive package. High-pressure water mist firefighting is one example.
Can you tell us about your team?
Absolutely. We have an excellent team of 14 people here in the Hamburg office, with at least one expert per business area where Consilium Safety is present. Driven by my role, we run many projects for the transport segment from here, but also several cruise and merchant projects.
What’s the best thing about your job?
There are many good things about my job, but if I must pick only one I would say the contact with the customers. I think that you should always focus on what your customer needs, not on what you want to sell at the moment. If you give people good advice time and time again, they will get back to you the day it is time to buy something. Even better, you get the chance to gain trust and build a fundament for a professional friendship where you talk about life in general, such as your families and interests.
Finally, what does the future look like for Consilium Safety?
We are on an exciting journey right now. The combination of our new owners with a growth mindset and the fact that train operators and governments are ready to invest in sustainable transportation, where the railway is a crucial ingredient, makes our future look bright.
- Global Key Account Manager Transport (50%)
- Sales Manager Consilium Safety Germany (50%)
- Started at Consilium Safety in December 2013
- Lives with his family in a house close to Hamburg
- Used to be a professional handball player
Consilium Safety Germany
- Fire and gas detection systems
- Marine, Building, Transport, Navy
Quick facts about Hamburg
- The second-largest city in Germany
- Metropolitan area population of around five million
- The third-largest port in Europe
- Some 2,500 bridges – the highest number in Europe
- 33 mass transit rail lines across the city
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