Case Study: FedEx Fuel Sense
Fuel efficiency is a priority at FedEx. The FedEx Express aviation fuel management team strives to reduce fuel use and emissions while maintaining company standards regarding quality, customer service and safety. Team members who work with FedEx aircraft adopt a fuel-efficient mindset and search out innovative ways to help the company save fuel. Over 40 different programs fall under the company’s Fuel Sense initiative.
The program’s mantra is straightforward: be the drop. This mindset and call to action reminds team members that one person, one action and one drop does make a difference. As a result, the company has saved 334 million gallons of jet fuel since launching the Fuel Sense initiative in 2007. This mindset also gives team members permission to believe that no idea is too small. Ideas can appear simple and logical, such as shutting down one engine while taxiing an aircraft between the ramp and the runway, or highly complex, such as developing new computer technology to optimize aircraft speed during travel.
FedEx relies on the insight and expertise of flight crews, dispatchers, aircraft mechanics, ramp personnel, engineers and analysts to identify opportunities on the ground and in the air. Teams evaluate the ideas, then planning and deployment across the network begins.
FedEx has learned several lessons as a result of undertaking this initiative, including:
- Set common cross-divisional goals and language. This approach helped the Fuel Sense team enlist a large number of team members with various backgrounds and experience. This led to fuel-saving efforts that reached far deeper into the organization than if only a few managers had tried to solve the problem on their own.
- Incremental wins open minds. The Fuel Sense initiative faced early resistance because the program challenged time-honored practices, such as always carrying de-icing fuel – even in good weather. A process was put in place, through a collaborative effort, to carry de-icing fuel only when ice was forecast. These early wins encouraged more team members to be a part of the solution.
- Measure, monitor and promote savings. The team developed a simple report to monitor all initiatives. Key performance indicators help the team set goals, stay focused and maintain support from upper management. The Fuel Sense initiative now has champions at every level of the company.
[This case study was featured in the GEMI Quick Guide for Engaging Employees in Sustainability.]