What did MRail's customers really want to buy? Surely not rail cars! And they did not really want laser-based track deflection equipment. And, when you get right down to it, they did not want a large-scale database of rail quality for their entire track system.
Remember the hammer-and-nail example in Chapter 10? Retrofitting rail cars with the track measurement technology and then selling the car to the railroads is the “hammer” equivalent in the MRail OBMC. The rail operators do not want more rail cars-- especially rail cars that do not carry freight! Technically, they do not even want the track measuring system. They just want the information about track quality; specifically, they want a prioritized list of track sections that appear to be high-risk for derailment. Then they can send out visual inspection teams to the highest priority sections to make a final decision to authorize expensive repairs. In a perfect world, they really would buy a magic wand that could simply point them towards high-risk rail sections.
Sadly, most of us live in imperfect worlds without magic wands. But at least we now know for certain how to adjust the revenue model for MRail. The actual laser-based track system will have to be re-engineered to be small enough to be retrofitted to either a locomotive or a rail car in use. It will collect track quality data to be added to a large-scale database; automated software analysis will generate a continuously updated priority list of track sections. Customers will reference a web-based or other platform for information. Unusual data might result in emergency messages bypassing the web-interface, especially if the software also had information about anticipated track usage. Anomolous or unexpected readings might generate text messages or pager-based warnings to either notify visual inspection teams or even recommend temporary re-routing of trains. Exception-based track failure identification is what the rail operators really want to pay for.