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Sperry Rail: On track to unparalleled rail reliability

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Sperry Rail helps railroads achieve continuous safety and performance through the world's first non-destructive rail testing. Their impressive track record boasts over 12 million miles of inspected railway and over six million identified defects.

Stats

4.5

months of PDW engagement

6

Vention team members

9

PDW deliverables

Project description

Almost a century on the industry rails, Sperry Rail has forged a legacy of unmatched service, which inevitably brought along legacy tools requiring modernization. Overhauling their dated data management and rail analysis tool into an intuitive, modern interface was seen as the ticket to smoother operations and keeping their business on the fast track to innovation. 

The company's strategy hinged on a vendor-driven product discovery workshop (PDW) to quickly create interactive prototypes and set the stage for future project phase planning and long-term budget forecasting. Given our prior success in engineering a web app for Sperry Rail's UK office, the US branch also chose Vention as a partner skilled in leading PDWs and building user-centric, feature-rich tools in harmony with existing business processes.

Six Vention engineers adept in UI/UX, DevOps, QA, and project management teamed up with Sperry’s existing vendors focused on requirements elicitation and design solutions. Initially brought in for frontend expertise, Vention quickly advanced to spearhead the PDW and take charge of design efforts.

The Sperry team presented an initial specification, which included a detailed vision of how the new system would work. This formed the starting point for the PDW process.

Through a series of comprehensive online interviews and design workshops, we collected the necessary requirements to complete four fundamental phases: 

  1. Elicitation of functional and non-functional requirements

  2. Designing high-resolution wireframes

  3. Outlining the product's technical details

  4. Estimating workload and timelines

 

These productive rounds resulted in a series of high-quality deliverables, each set to play a crucial role at the development stage:

  • Product vision

  • Business requirements

  • Application map

  • Wireframes and UI Screens

  • Detailed requirements

  • Technical description

  • Risk assessment 

  • Project timeline

  • Budget forecast

The result

In-depth strategizing of the discovery stage, utilizing design thinking, agile project management, and the dedication of all stakeholders to continuous communication were key in recognizing potential risks early on, as well as maintaining smooth operations despite evolving PDW requirements.

Impressed by the depth of insights and detail provided during the PDW, the client decided to move forward with Vention for the project's delivery as well. "My past experience was that third parties just don't 'get it,'" says Bobby Gilbert, Senior Director of Digital Transformation at Sperry Rail. "But Vention truly challenged our thinking: This PDW was the first time I've seen a complex software project finish under budget and ahead of schedule."

Sperry rails_Mockup_01

Tools & technologies

Vention suggested to build the solution using the following technology stack:

Backend:

React (create-react-app, SPA)

Material-UI

Redux

Axios (listed twice, only needs to be mentioned once)

i18next

Deck.gl

Recharts

Google Maps

React Table

React-draggable

React-toastify

Programming languages:

TypeScript

JavaScript

Form handling and validation:

Formik

Yup

Styling and design:

Sass

Development tools:

ESLint

Prettier

Testing Library

APIs and data handling:

REST API

dexie (indexedDb)

Lodash

Date and time manipulation:

Moment

Cloud:

AWS-amplify

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