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AMTRAK: Top Management and Performance Challenges-Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018

March 29, 2017  |  Management Challenges

This report identifies our views of the top management and performance challenges facing Amtrak (the company). We identified the following eight challenges, which generally align with those identified in our two prior management and performance challenges reports.
• Governance: Sustaining Commitment to Improving Management Processes and Effectiveness
• Financial Performance: Securing the Company’s Financial Future
• Asset Management: Sustaining Equipment and Infrastructure
• Acquisition and Procurement: Effectively Managing the Company’s Processes
• Safety and Security: Ensuring the Safety and Security of Passengers, Employees, and Infrastructure
• Information Technology: Improving the Integrity, Security, and Utility of Technology Systems
• Customer Service: Putting Passengers First
• Human Resources: Refocusing Priorities to Build a Quality Workforce
Although we found that the company has made progress in each of the challenge areas, continued management focus is needed to ensure sustained progress. We identified three long-standing and systemic issues that have impeded the company’s progress in addressing these challenges: first, inconsistent use of the company’s strategic goals to drive budget and operating decisions; second, a governance structure that does not hold managers accountable for achieving program results; and, third, a workforce culture that is at odds with the company’s stated goals and mission. Until these underlying factors are addressed, the company’s efforts to remediate the top management and performance challenges will continue to face obstacles.
The company is undergoing a number of organizational changes and launching new initiatives to improve oversight and management of its core functions. Whether these changes and initiatives achieve their intended results will depend upon the company’s leadership and top management sustaining its focus on them, providing the necessary resources for implementation, and reinforcing that every employee is responsible for embracing and promoting the company’s values of safety, service, and financial excellence.

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