A performance benchmarking study of Indian Railway zones
Purpose ‐ The paper aims to carry out a performance benchmarking study of the zones of Indian Railways (IR) to develop an alternate approach for measurement of aggregate operational performance of the railway zones and to envisage its operations in a supply chain perspective, so as to gain academic and practical insights. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A case study research employing data envelopment analysis (DEA) methodology has been used, with the help of data obtained from the IR annual statistical statements published by the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. Findings ‐ Within the set of inputs and outputs considered, the exercise identified the best performing railway zones over the years and the efficiency trends. Some weaknesses of the conventional DEA were addressed by including the concept of cross-efficiencies along with self-efficiencies, by analyzing longitudinal data spread over four years and also by comparing the efficiencies with the operating ratios. To an extent, this study has also helped to understand the impact of the recent restructuring of the zones on their performance. Originality/value ‐ The study enables the reader to gain some valuable insights from a managerial perspective for IR so as to formulate strategies of its zones to foster better performance.