Railinc Tracks Blog

Railinc tracks are everywhere although you don't always see them. The Railinc Tracks blog reveals them one at a time and shows you how we help to keep railroads, railcars and rail shipments moving across America. The blog is staffed by the Railinc Corporate Communication team and will give you news and insights about our company, our people and our products.

Entries with tag culture .

Customer Success Helps Employees Learn, Grow

Starting in the Customer Success Center (CSC) at Railinc gives employees a solid foundation to build on as they work to reach their career goals. In this guest post, Railinc Customer Success Specialist Karin Bennett talks about the phone calls, the schedule, and the opportunities to learn, grow and make an impact across the company. Click here to find out more about our Railinc Customer Success team.

Before I started working in CSC at Railinc, I saw customer support like most people probably do: a large group of employees in a room answering phone call after phone call — all day, every day.

I do answer a lot of calls—as many as 30 a day—but there’s more to it than just answering the phone.

We're the first point of contact most of our customers have with Railinc. When I'm not answering calls or responding to emails, I work with colleagues across the company to ensure I know our products and services inside and out so I can help make the customer’s experience better.
 


I don't have a typical day. If I'm not on-call, I get in at 8 a.m. and begin responding to customer emails from the night before. New cases start coming in soon after and include everything from permission requests to unlocking online accounts to questions about error messages a customer might receive when working in our applications.

Beyond responding to phone calls and emails, CSC oversees reviewing permissions requests from customers who want to access our applications. We put each request through a verification process to make sure that customers get the right permissions and that our data are secure. We test applications, keep important industry databases up to date, and play important roles in company-wide disaster recovery exercises.

But we aren't expected to be subject matter experts from the start.

Every Railinc customer success specialist goes through a 90-day training period to learn the basics of all our products and get comfortable interacting with customers. We do things like unlock online accounts, respond to email requests, and send a "morning report" to the entire company that recaps any issues from the last 24 hours, as well as any completed or scheduled product releases. After our first 90 days, we keep learning through product training sessions and shadowing groups throughout the company.

We also work closely with Railinc's product support teams, which provide second-level support, and attend meetings and training for individual product groups. I like shadowing product support because I end up having a greater understanding, not only of the products they support, but of processes that I can repeat with customers to provide quicker support. This training helps us understand Railinc products, keeps us up to date with product releases and lets product groups know about any persistent issues customers have had. It feels good to know that the customer feedback we collect and share is used to improve our products.

Because we provide 24/7 customer support, there is an on-call rotation. For one week every two months, I'm responsible for responding to emergency requests that come in after business hours. While I haven’t experienced an emergency call during my rotation yet, one team member had to facilitate a conference call at 3 a.m. when one of our applications went down. It can be challenging, but it's a reflection of how important a responsive CSC team is to Railinc's work.

It's tough learning the freight rail industry and all our products and services as an entry-level employee, but it positions us well to advance in the company quickly. A lot of our product support employees, managers, business analysts and others started on Railinc's CSC team. The opportunity to grow and advance is just one of many things I like about working in CSC.
 


Another is flexibility.

It might seem like I’m tethered to my phone and computer during work hours, but I can take advantage of Railinc's flexible work environment, too. I have been able to participate in company events and work from home when there is inclement weather or some other reason I can’t come into the office.

A CSC role isn't for everyone. You need to multi-task. You need to be patient as you figure out what you can to do to help a customer with their challenge. And you need to make sure the customer gets what they need.

At Railinc, our job in CSC is about more than just answering phones. We’re helping build a strong foundation with our customers and supporting the work everyone throughout the company does.

 

—Karin Bennett

A graduate of North Carolina State University, Karin Bennett joined the Railinc Customer Success team in 2017. Interested in becoming a Customer Success Specialist at Railinc? Apply today.

Railinc's Parker Named Supply Chain Pro to Know

Railinc Vice President of Operations Yates Parker has been recognized as a 2018 supply chain executive “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine. The award honors individuals from software firms and service providers, consultancies and academia who have helped their supply chain clients or the supply chain community at large prepare to meet the significant challenges of today’s business climate.

Parker was selected for the award from over 300 entrants and was recognized in the March 2018 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine.

Click here to see all the winners.

“We commend this year’s recipients for their achievements in supply chain and for paving the way for the next generation of exceptional supply chain leaders,” said John Yuva, editor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive. ”This year’s recipients embody the commitment to transformative supply chain tools and processes, earning these individuals a rightful place in this year’s Pros to Know listing.”

Parker manages Railinc’s commercial business unit, which includes tracing, reporting, messaging, and research and development product families, as well as oversees the company’s customer experience operations. He and his teams work with Class I railroads and other freight rail industry partners to identify, develop and refine technology solutions to address some of the industry’s biggest operational challenges.

Parker joined Railinc in 2008 as vice president and chief financial officer and added customer experience to his responsibilities in 2014. He has been in his current role since early 2017.

Parker earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business management from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A certified public accountant, Parker was named CFO of the Year by the Triangle Business Journal in 2010.
 

About Supply & Demand Chain Executive
Supply & Demand Chain Executive is the executive's user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, utilizing hard-hitting analysis, viewpoints and unbiased case studies to steer executives and supply management professionals through the complicated, yet critical, world of supply and demand chain enablement to gain competitive advantage. Learn more at www.sdcexec.com.

Railinc Wins NCTA Business Value Award

Railinc has been recognized as winner of the 2017 Business Value Award at the NC Tech Awards, the largest and most prestigious statewide technology awards program. Presented annually by the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA), the awards honor the companies and individuals who represent the best and brightest in technology and business in North Carolina.

This is the first time Railinc has won the Business Value award. Railinc was named Industry-Driven Company of the Year in 2016.

“It’s an honor to be recognized among such an impressive group of technology companies and leaders,” said Allen West, Railinc president and CEO. “This award underscores the important work our people do to support the freight rail industry and the value they deliver to customers every day through our products and services.”

Railinc’s nomination highlighted the company’s asset health work, the AskRail mobile application and its efforts to support freight rail operations in the Chicago Terminal, the busiest rail terminal in North America.

“Since 1995, the NC Tech Awards has honored excellence and innovation throughout North Carolina, representing the best and brightest,” said Brooks Raiford, NCTA president and CEO. “As a winner, Railinc has distinguished itself as a peer-leader, and we are proud to recognize them as a 2017 NC Tech Awards winner.”

Railinc’s CIO, Jerry Traynham, was also recognized as 2017 Private Sector CIO of the Year at the event. Click here to read a Q&A with Traynham.

You can see the complete list of award recipients here. Winners were recognized at NCTA’s annual awards gala on November 9 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham.

—Railinc Corporate Communications

Railinc Interns Get Hands-On Experience

Railinc internships offer valuable, hands-on experience in areas ranging from IT to business operations to human resources. This summer, the company welcomed about a dozen high school and college students, including Jesse Morgan, a senior North Carolina State University computer science major who worked as a software engineering intern. Jesse was kind enough to share with us his thoughts on his Railinc internship experience:

What I Did
I worked on a product called the Car Repair Management System (CRMS), which keeps track of repairs between different repair companies. I helped test the product and web application. I spent most of my day writing code to automate the testing using a framework for the Java programming language Selenium, which makes it easier to automate. I ended up doing about 50 to 60 percent of the CRMS web application user interface testing. My typical day would start the night before. I would run tests through Jenkins, an automation server, before I left each night. When I’d arrive in the morning, I could see what passed and failed. I kept track of cases I was working on through a wiki page and added the new cases to the page so I would know what I needed to pass. I actually ended up getting them all passed by the end of summer.
 


Jesse Morgan, center, with his fellow interns at the Railinc summer event.


What I Learned
I learned a lot of practical skills. I already had some experience working with Java, but I was able to learn more and develop my skills. As I gained experience during my internship, I learned better software design techniques such as writing more general code that can be applied to multiple test cases.

What I Liked
I really liked the people. Everyone was always willing to help me if I needed it. My supervisors were knowledgeable and helpful, and they kept me on track. I never felt like I was on my own in figuring out a problem or attacking a project. I also built some great connections and relationships with people I worked with and with other interns. My internship offered me a taste of what a real-world job and working in an office setting would be like. I had never had that opportunity before, and it was just a really great experience.

Railinc hires interns throughout the year and posts internship openings on the Railinc Careers page. 

—Railinc Corporate Communications

Employees Ace Volleyball Tourneys, Boost Charities

The Railinc Railspikers volleyball team celebrates after winning a tournament.

Railinc's culture of wellness is strong, and there are many ways to keep active here, from running on the greenway to on-site boot camps to yoga. Some people swim or cycle, and others get together for team sports like softball, ultimate and cricket.

For the last five or six years, a group of Railinc employees has made the short trek to the sand volleyball courts at North Cary Park every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to play at lunchtime. It’s popular, sometimes attracting enough employees to have two games going simultaneously. And it has spawned a team—the Railspikers—that regularly participates in (and wins) local volleyball tournaments.

“We started playing at lunch for fun,” said Murali Bobba, a senior database administrator who organized the Railspikers team. “We’ve had a lot of people join us, some who play in leagues. We thought starting the team would give us the opportunity to play in games that were more focused on competition.”

The other members of the Railspikers are Raj Mallarapu, Srikanth Maddukuri, Sandeep Pailla, Vishnu Kandi and Nagi Guntaka.

On September 24, the Railspikers, along with a few players from outside the company, won the 2016 Sewa International charity six-on-six tournament, beating out 26 other teams. It’s just their most recent trophy. By participating, the Railspikers helped raise money for Sewa’s “Sponsor a Child” program and a Mumbai foundation that helps children who live on the streets.

You can see photos from the Sewa tournament on Facebook.

And two weeks before that, the Railspikers, won the Triangle Area Telugu Association six-on-six tournament. In June, they outplayed eight other teams to win the inaugural YHC Sand Volleyball Tournament. Proceeds from that tournament went to the nonprofit YourHelpCounts Foundation, which used the funds to donate 100 solar study lights to rural schools in India.

Last year, they won six-on-six sand volleyball tournaments in Cary held by Sewa, the Triangle Area Telugu Assocation and the Greater Carolina Kerala Association.

The Railspikers also participate in the Town of Cary’s adult indoor volleyball league.

The team’s success has inspired a second group of Railinc employees to start a team—RailHulk—and to compete in the same indoor volleyball league as the Railspikers. RailHulk team members are Ramesh Veerappan, Ganesh Subramanian, Jeff Yusiewicz, Chip Summey, Brian Childs, Murali Bobba, Murali Muthyam and Nanda Navarathnam.

“With the heavy demands of work, sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to build the rapport and camaraderie that can benefit teams,” said Raj Mallarapu, a senior software engineer and member of the Railspikers. “Meeting outside of work like this provides the opportunity, helping us and the company.”

—Railinc Corporate Communications