Promoting quality in rail – IRIS Certification improves sector’s attractiveness and competitiveness
Facing the mounting effects of climate change and while attempting to sustainably cater to increasing traffic volumes, our mobility must move towards more carbon-neutral means of transportation. Rail is the most eco-friendly means of mass transit and, therefore, the only viable solution to greening transportation while ensuring the connectivity of people and goods worldwide. To maximise rail transportation’s positive impact, UNIFE is working to push rail to the forefront of our daily mobility matrix by fostering a global culture of quality across the whole sector. Focusing on quality is essential for the rail sector as it improves the business performance, makes the mode more efficient and cost effective, increases the competitive advantage of rail transportation and makes rail more attractive and reliable.
Aiming to bring these benefits to the sector, rail industry companies – gathered under the umbrella of UNIFE – established the IRIS Certification scheme in 2005. IRIS, or the International Railway Industry Standard, is a unique global system for the evaluation of companies supplying the railway industry. IRIS Certification functions as the perfect tool for achieving high quality standards as it brings together the best practices from quality cooperation observed between the rail sector’s biggest players; is objective and transparent and differentiates companies based on their quality performance.
During the UNIFE online event focused on quality in rail, the panellists from Siemens Mobility, Alstom and UNIFE agreed on the crucial role of quality for the European rail industry. The presenters discussed the importance of quality in promoting rail’s position in the transportation mix, the advantages quality-focus brings to rail companies, gave an overview of the IRIS Certification scheme and its components and introduced the internationalisation process of the IRIS scheme through world wide quality cooperation at the IRQB and the International Organisation of Standardisation.
Chairman of the IRIS Steering Committee Thierry Haimet (Vice-President Quality at Alstom) shared that: “Quality in rail is even more topical subject now as we recover from the effects of the global pandemic. We need to ensure high efficiency and competitiveness of our rail companies. IRIS Certification scheme is the best fitted tool for enhancing quality in the rail sector bringing benefits to the operational and business performances of individual rail companies while advancing the whole sector towards a culture of excellence.”
IRQB’s Chairman Stefan Siegler (Vice President Quality and Business Excellence at Siemens Mobility) said: “The foundation of the International Rail Quality Board is a proof of high dedication to quality and the IRIS Certification scheme in the rail sector worldwide. I am very glad to witness the good quality cooperation between equipment manufacturers, system integrators and rail operators from across the word to enhance the global culture of quality and promote the IRIS Certification scheme.”
IRIS General Manager Bernard Kaufmann explained: “In just 15 years, IRIS Certification scheme has grown to more than 2100 issued certificates in 53 countries around the world. Even despite the global pandemic, the number of issued certificates keeps on increasing as many new companies become certified and numerous others continue to register on the IRIS Portal, indicating sustained interest in the scheme. This widespread trust in the system demonstrates the strength of the scheme bringing tangible benefits to all stakeholders involved.”
UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën stated: “IRIS Certification was founded by European rail industry companies gathered under the umbrella of UNIFE. Its foundation shows the strength of the European rail industry and its ability to work together in an effort to improve the performance of the companies and the whole sector. However, it requires continued effort and dedication to maintain high quality standards in the sector. I call upon UNIFE members and European rail industrial companies who do not yet hold an IRIS Certificate to further explore the benefits IRIS Certification brings to individual rail companies and the whole sector moving our daily mobility towards more sustainable means of transportation by fulfilling the objectives of the EU’s Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy and delivering the European Green Deal.”
The event featured the following speakers:
- Stefan Siegler, IRQB Chairman and Vice President Quality and Business Excellence at Siemens Mobility
- Thierry Haimet, Chairman of IRIS Steering Committee, Vice-President Quality at Alstom
- Bernard Kaufmann, IRIS General Manager
- Ursula Tacke, IRIS Master Witness Auditor
- Maria Romero, IRIS Manager
- Philippe Citroën, UNIFE Director General