Teresa Exum
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Teresa Exum —
I learned the importance of putting quality first.

Customer expectations and needs are constantly evolving — but the less-than-truckload (LTL) freight industry has remained relatively unchanged for decades. With the FedEx Freight 2020 initiative, FedEx plans to leverage automation technology to reimagine the freight shipping process and provide a simple, exceptional customer experience.

Before making changes to how FedEx manages freight shipments, the FedEx Freight Customer Experience Marketing team needed to know which features would be most important to customers. Teresa Exum, manager at FedEx Freight Marketing, knew from previous updates to the freight shipping process that they needed to use the principles of Quality Driven Management (QDM) to identify the right solutions that would make customers' lives easier while helping FedEx be more efficient.

A Quality-First Approach
During previous process changes, when FedEx first integrated freight shipping into FedEx Ship Manager®, customers had some difficulty adjusting to the new system. So when Teresa started working on additional updates to the freight process, she took a quality-first approach to avoid potential issues before they appeared.

Before kicking off the new enhancements, the team reviewed the previous lessons learned from the FedEx Ship Manager integration to ensure all past problems had been resolved. They also collected feedback from existing customers to identify the key features that would have the greatest impact on the freight shipping experience: electronic Bill of Lading, handling unit visibility, dimensional pricing and rating, and pickup and delivery enhancements.

Working with several organizational teams across multiple operating companies, the team needed a shared language, method, and set of tools. With the help of QDM, they identified potential points of failure and developed ways to mitigate issues prior to the pilot.

Delivering One FedEx Experience
By putting the customer experience first, the team delivered a solution that made the LTL shipping experience feel as simple and easy as parcel. For one pilot customer, Mi-Sher, the new enhancements have changed the way they train their employees. A representative of the company stated: "Now that I have this solution, I don't have to teach my team members how to ship FedEx Ground or FedEx Freight. I can just teach them how to use FedEx."

Inspired by Quality Driven Management
Throughout her more than 30-year tenure with FedEx, Teresa has always felt that quality was just part of her job, whether she is reinventing how FedEx handles freight shipping or trying to determine how automation and integration work best for her customers.

As a QDM proponent, she likes to emphasize the importance of fact-based data gathering, because people often overlook a problem when they are too close to the process. Her words of wisdom for team members who want to take a quality-first approach: "If you can’t measure it, you can't manage it. You don’t know how well you’re doing — or how badly — if you’re not measuring."