Two separate but key Union Pacific initiatives – supplier diversity and train length – are merging in Texas, leading to a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
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Four siding extensions are under construction or have recently been completed with diverse suppliers in the west Texas, San Antonio and Houston areas. A siding – a track parallel to a main track with switches at both ends – is used for meeting and passing trains.
Longer sidings, which act as passing lanes, are critical pieces to Union Pacific’s train length strategy. They allow the railroad to decrease or eliminate train meets, which reduces main line congestion and delays. The more fluid the network, the more efficient it becomes. These capital investments are vital to meeting the transportation needs of our customers and improve our operational efficiency.
“As these projects reach the finish line, we’re able to unlock our longer train strategy on various routes,” said Mark Allen, director-Track Construction, Engineering, Spring Texas. “Working with diverse suppliers opens up new perspectives on how we do things. It takes lock-step coordination between Track Construction and the Supplier Diversity team to ensure effective projects, and we’re looking forward to more opportunities in the future.”
Diverse suppliers on the four Texas siding extension projects include Latino-owned Macro Z Technologies and Native American-owned Choctaw Construction Services, said Randall Lasenburg, manager-Strategic Sourcing, Supply Chain.
“Leveraging diverse suppliers ensures our supply needs are met while allowing us to work with companies who are reflective of the communities Union Pacific serves,” Lasenburg said. “These are large, complex wins. We do not sacrifice quality or safety for diversity efforts. We are always looking for safe, qualified and price-competitive suppliers. Mark Allen and his team have been very supportive and open to taking calculated risks that create opportunities for diverse suppliers.”
Did You Know?
The Supplier Diversity team increased diverse spend by 23% ($522 million) in 2021 after a nearly 30% ($95 million) increase in 2020. The 2021 spend represented 8.2% of Union Pacific’s overall supplier spending with diverse vendors. Additionally, the team onboarded 131 diverse suppliers.