The ideas for this training program—which teaches employees how to learn and use the 700 identification codes needed to sort packages in the company's hub operation in Memphis, Tennessee—came from an employee quality action team in the hub.
The hub is the location into which 80% of Federal Express' packages come each night and are unloaded, sorted, reloaded onto new planes and then shipped to their final destinations.
In the past, employees participated in a six-week training program to help them learn how to use and remember the identification codes. "However," says Larry McMahan, Federal Express' vice president of human resources development, "there were a lot of employees who were failing the training because they never could become proficient at remembering the 700 codes."
A group of employees in the hub decided that there had to be a better way, and formed a quality action team. Together, they found a way to group the identification codes in sequences that were more memorable and logical to employees.
Through their efforts, these employees not only were able to help their co-workers learn and remember the codes, but they were also able to compress the six-week training period down to three weeks or less. And in one year, Federal Express was looking at a savings of $3.5 million.
Personnel Journal, February 1992, Vol. 71, No. 2, p. 42.