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Overcoming Transportation Needs in India: FedEx Team Members Help Improve the Chennai Public Bus System

December 8, 2014

In March 2014 FedEx hosted a group of engineers from a non-profit organization called EMBARQ for a week long training event at our headquarters in Memphis. We shared our transportation expertise with EMBARQ engineers from India, Mexico and Brazil. We also shared some other skill sets with the participants, who are called FedEx Fellows. The mission of EMBARQ is to improve quality of life in cities by providing sustainable urban transport and urban planning solutions. The following is a guest blog post from Erin Wichtoski, Quality Advisor, FedEx Corporation, about her experience supporting EMBARQ.

Bus traveling through the streets of India

Working with EMBARQ and EMBARQ India has been a truly rewarding, beneficial and thought provoking experience. In March 2014, I had the pleasure of being one of the presenters to the EMBARQ FedEx Fellows, and provided them with information on Quality Driven Management, how we improve quality in our operations, and information that they could use in their own endeavors going forward as FedEx Fellows.  It was wonderful to see this incredibly bright, diverse and caring group of individuals ready to improve life for so many people around the globe. Little did I realize that about six months later I’d be working hand-in-hand with this awesome organization in Chennai, India.

As part of the FedEx Global Leadership Corps program, two other FedEx team members and I worked with EMBARQ India to assist the Chennai public bus system in an improvement project. Our FedEx team provided an international perspective, assistance with analysis and an implementation plan for the client.  Because of the great relationships EMBARQ India had formed with the bus system authorities and related management in the transportation arm of the government, we were able to come in right away to have productive meetings and waste no time helping. 

The benefit that this support provided was immeasurable. EMBARQ is a large non-profit organization managing many different projects covering vast transportation needs globally. From project start to finish we worked very closely with a few EMBARQ employees. One came from Mumbai and stayed in Chennai for the duration of the project. Two came from Bangalore.  All were keenly interested in the success of the project. They ensured that daily support, relationship building and ensuring the best communication methods were always top priority. 

One of the unique things about our collaboration with EMBARQ is that it takes the skills that we’ve honed in our careers at FedEx and lets us apply them in new ways to a client very different than our own employer. This provides maximum benefit for the client, and gives us a chance to spread our wings. It’s a rewarding feeling, to say the least.   Our clients are able to benefit from the pro-bono work, and we are given an opportunity to flex our professional skills, and – perhaps most importantly – grow our interpersonal and leadership skills.  

For team members at FedEx and EMBARQ, the collaboration is invigorating and motivating. The benefits of the experience for those in both organizations carry on long after the completion of a specific project. The collaboration isn’t just benefitting faraway clients in need, but countless families who depend on public transportation globally, and the team members who grow through the experience. A win-win-win. I truly hope this collaboration continues for a long time – or at least until everyone in the world has safe, reliable and sustainable transportation to work and back to their family, every day, around the world.  

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