News Telecoms

Unlocking Value

Network Rail's current multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan represents the biggest investment programme in the railways since Victorian times. As an integral part of the railway supply chain, L.B. Foster Telecoms continues to benefit from its close alignment with network owners, rail operators and major contracts consultants.

That’s the result of smart strategic positioning, which has seen the business treble in size over the past four years. But the flow of cash into the railways won’t continue unchecked, so where else can we apply our knowledge, know-how and skills to cement our future?

Neil Sheffield is managing director of L.B. Foster Telecoms. He explains: “The rail sector is very important to us and we have successfully built a solid reputation as a deliverer of high quality, integrated telecoms solutions. We are known for our willingness to do the hard yards to achieve the right outcome for our customers, and it’s that willingness which has helped us establish powerful strategic partnerships with some of the biggest consultancy names in the construction business.

“That, combined with the quality and knowledge of our people, is what sets us apart in what is a highly competitive sector. Our team is equipped with transferable skills that are in high demand on other major infrastructure projects, such as nuclear power stations, road tunnels and airports, as well as in shopping centres and large commercial developments.

Across the business we have accumulated a wealth of experience on high profile contracts, including the Crossrail Project. We have implemented integrated telecoms solutions at each of the Elizabeth Line’s 10 new stations, as well as managing upgrades and modifications at other stations on London’s newest railway line.

Neil Sheffield, Managing Director, L.B. Foster Telecoms

“Working on projects of this scale and importance brings us into regular contact with some of the UK’s and Europe’s largest civils consultants and Tier 1 contractors. That’s where we are demonstrating that what we do, and possibly more importantly how we do it, is what’s moving us up the value chain and repositioning L.B. Foster as an integrated provider of complex telecoms solutions.”

Strategic partnerships

Underpinning the future commercial direction of L.B. Foster Telecoms and providing the business with access to new market opportunities is its key strategic partnerships with major consultants.

Tony Barham is Business Development Manager at L.B Foster Telecoms. “AECOM is a global network of experts working with clients, communities and colleagues to develop and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most complex challenges. They are exactly who we need to be talking to. The fact we are reflects just how far we have moved, from the days of simply selling ourselves as installers of telecoms systems to where we are now - a holistic telecoms solutions provider.”

AECOM and L.B. Foster Telecoms are now partnering on a new project on London’s Bakerloo Line, which will see our Telecoms teams working on four new stations, three new shafts and two new tunnels. Tony Barham continues: “Previously we would have had to tender for projects like this when details were released of the telecoms requirement. Now we are in at the start of the project, working with the client and architect and advising on the most appropriate solutions.”

Neil Sheffield continues: “Alongside our strategic partnership with AECOM, we are now also working with WSP, one of the world’s leading engineering professional services firms, and AMEY, a leading supplier of consulting and infrastructure support services in the UK and internationally.”

“Both are providing access to opportunities in new markets. Rail is still a significant part of what we do. In the UK and we are aligning our business with WSP on a number of major projects, including HS2. Our collaboration with Skanska is embedded in the rail industry, working on projects including London Waterloo resignalling.”

Peter Jones is managing director of L.B. Foster Europe. He understands the importance of getting the right people in the right place to do the right job: “What our Telecoms team has achieved is a great example of how to extract value by repositioning the business in the supply chain. It has been successful because we have a great team - from top to bottom - who understand their roles and who are focused on delivering innovation and the best solutions for our clients.”

Across our businesses we are extracting greater value from our partner relationships to drive growth and consolidate our reputation as an end-to-end solutions provider. That’s what’s behind our success, which is reflected in our best ever business performance in Europe.

Applying our core skills in electrical and mechanical engineering beyond what we have always regarded as our core market in rail is a natural progression for us. It’s a model that we are now applying to other parts of our European business with considerable success.

Pete Jones, Managing Director, L.B. Foster Europe