Operations at FedEx Ground

A very clear picture of operations and operational management exists in the loading bays at FedEx. It was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of operational management. The packages that whirl around the conveyer belt inside of the factory. Working there in August gave me a taste of what operations really look like. My job was simple I had to stack boxes inside trucks and get the trucks loaded quickly (400 boxes an hour). Both exercises that we did in class apply to what I was doing at FedEx. For building the puppets we were trained how to handle the boxes and to make sure nothing gets broken or put in the wrong trucks. For the building of the structure that was to hold up the 50 pages, I had to stack boxes so they would be stable. This was very important since if the walls of boxes aren’t built to hold they can fall on and injure the employees that have to unload the trucks.    But building something that supports paper is not just a physical thing, building a successful business means building a structure that can sustain itself through technology and proper management that will then in turn increase and better operations.

The operational management at FedEx is built on strict procedures. When working for FedEx I got to see the many different important rules delineated in the employee handbook. It is the starting point for all employees. The main philosophy is to prepare workers to work the same way whether they be in China or the US. It is designed to create the best workers who will work effectively and efficiently in handling the operations of the company. To begin to do this workers must go through a week of training which starts with lectures, after that week they start hands on in the trucks with one week supervision to make sure everything is up to standards and codes. The employee handbook has a critical part in this process. There is the Workright Manual which gives step by step rules and procedures as well as the codes and standards. There is a passport that describes dock safety. And a hazmat training guide for package handlers.

I also had a chance to tour the control room and found out that on average day, FedEx forecasts that it will load anywhere from 17,000 to 25,000 in a three and a half hour shift. The managers were very friendly and many of them, from sort manager to area manager to vice president of operations came and showed me how to properly stack boxes when I was starting. This compares to a good teacher that understands learning is done through experience and through advice given when being trained or when you are working.

The human element combined with training and schooling makes operations and operational management possible.

6 thoughts on “Operations at FedEx Ground

  1. Good blog, I was able to see your perspective on human element in the company. Though one thing came to my mind as I though of technological development. As much as I understand that the consistency is very important because it effects efficiency but I am curious how much human input compared to machine input are in the Fedex loading bay facility?

  2. It is sometimes hard to believe that many of the positions we, as students, hold at work are often related to what we are studying. Especially withoperations management because it can be applied to almost every work environment. While having to load and unload boxes at work may seem unrelated to school work it is very much all about it.

  3. I see that you are talking about the operations at Fedex and how they relate from everyone to the VP of operations to the laborer actually loading the trucks. I had worked at a very similar company for six years (with a leave of absence in the middle while traveling away from home) and it was a great experience. These two companies are very competitive and operate much the same way. I loaded trucks for about 8 months until getting moved onto another part of the building doing something a little different. It was a great experience and it was always nice to see management come down from their office and check up on us, making sure everything was operating smoothly. This was one of my companies policies, that although management was not allowed to physically touch any packages, they still had to stay involved and constantly check up on employee morale.

  4. Good post! I can see how are you talking about Fedex and the everyday operations that they go through. I can understand why FedEx uses such strict procedures when working for them. Loosing a package of a customers could be very costly to the company.What a neat experience to be able to tour around FedEx. Being able to deliver that many packages must be due to the strict operations they have there employees follow.

  5. When you think about loading, one would think it is not that hard. But when you are in business, and delivering is the service you are offering(like FedEx) creating an effective and efficient loading system for the trucks are the key points of your business. That’s where operations management comes in play. The operations management sector has planned carefully the process how loading can be done in the safest and most economical way. The procedure you go through for loading the trucks, is done that way so the packages will take less room in the trucks, which means more packages to be loaded, less trips for the truck and more savings. You also mentioned that FedEx wants to have effective and efficient workers. From what you described FedEx is investing money and time, to have high performance worker which are the key elements of a project triangle.
    By planning, scheduling(400 boxes/hour), controlling and keeping in mind the project triangle FedEx is a leader in the delivery service.

  6. I currently work for UPS and it’s extremely comparable to FedEx in terms of its operational structure. It is amazing how many packages they are responsible daily; the amount of information required to be stored and sorted correctly is baffling. There is a lot of order involved and the internal control system is very well performed because of the excellent training they provide their staff. As an employee I like to ask the drivers about their knowledge in everyday operations and it’s always a great thing to hear the meticulous, detailed knowledge they would have on the subject. These men and women take a lot of pride in their jobs because the company does well by them and never fails to treat them with the dignity they are entitled to.

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