Two Men Talking
QDM Success Logo

Indianapolis Education Trailer Team —
QDM keeps us from dealing with the same problems day after day.

The moment of delivery is a special experience for every FedEx customer. But nothing spoils that moment more than a damaged or missed shipment. Each claim is a missed opportunity to deliver the superior service our customers deserve. That's why the Indianapolis (IND) Education Trailer Quality Action Team (QAT) decided to take a closer look at the root cause of loss and damage claims for freight shipments.

When they reviewed the data, the team noticed that among FedEx Freight claims, the same issues appeared over and over, despite management's efforts to explain the correct processes for handling shipments.

New Hires, Missed Opportunities
For the project, five people joined the core team, including specialists, local supervisors, and tenured dock workers, as needed. Looking at the last-to-clear metric for freight shipments, they pinpointed which workers were more likely to deliver with exceptions (e.g., damaged, short, or lost shipments).

Based on the data, the team uncovered opportunities to standardize onboarding training for new hires while making the learning experience hands-on.

More Training, Fewer Exceptions
For the initial pilot, the team created a mock trailer for dock workers, complete with real pallets. Shipments varied in size, weight, and shape to simulate the real-world scenarios workers encounter every day.

Using insights from the tenured dock workers and their high damage and/or shortages account, the QAT created an hour-long freight simulation and rubric for assessing team member performance. Participants trained out on the dock in full view of the workers who were not participating in the pilot, which demonstrated the renewed commitment to quality.

Over the following month, the team tracked their results, comparing the workers who had gone through the training program with those who had not.

The Results

Users group icon

Multiple tenured dock workers


new hires


20 hours of freight simulation


less freight lost than with untrained team members

The unexpected success of the freight simulation convinced the executive team to expand the program beyond Indianapolis. Starting with the 10 centers that struggled the most with freight exceptions, the executive team began to share the training program with teams across FedEx Freight. Now, even the Freight Handling Competition features the mock trailer.

QAT Member Inspired by Quality Driven Management
You could say that former senior analyst of Claims Prevention for FedEx Freight, Dustin Hartz, is a QDM convert. For his role as a program management advisor, he uses the ABLE process daily — and he even teaches QDM Coach classes in the Midwest.

In his own words: "QDM is a way to do your job smarter so you don't have the same problems come up every single day."

When he's coaching his team members on how to make the most of QDM, Dustin offers one key piece of advice: Follow the process. Often, people go into a project thinking they know the right solution, but it's critical to get a variety of perspectives during the ASSESS and BUILD phases to identify the best solution to the problem.