Longstanding relationship with the University of Pittsburgh fosters learning and innovation
March 27, 2018
FedEx Supply Chain is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While the city was originally known for its coal and steel industry, it’s now more known for sports, academia and innovation. Only Washington D.C, Boston, and San Francisco outnumber Pittsburgh for number of educated young people.1 The area is home to 29 colleges and universities, the oldest and largest being the University of Pittsburgh, or Pitt. Since Pitt has strong industrial engineering, supply chain management, and MBA programs, FedEx Supply Chain has collaborated with the institution in a number of ways over the years.
Engineering Co-Op Program
One of the ways FedEx Supply Chain has worked closest with the institution is through our engineering co-op program. The company’s project engineering team collaborates with the cooperative education program at the University of Pittsburgh, Swanson School of Engineering. A number of locally and regionally-based companies offer this valuable professional growth experience for current undergraduate students.
Associate Director of Cooperative Education at the University of Pittsburgh, Chris Ann Frankovic, commented, “FedEx Supply Chain has been a great co-op partner, offering our students valuable experience while on multiple rotations.”
Not only does this relationship help students develop critical skills they’ll need in their careers, it’s also a great opportunity for our company to connect with strong local talent. After the students have demonstrated their proficiency and gained valuable organizational knowledge, the intent is to offer the top students full-time positions after they graduate based on their high-quality work during their co-op.
Long-term, the students integrate closely with their counterparts and teams to maximize the value of their time at FedEx Supply Chain. They are fully immersed in actual projects and actively support the company’s solutions team. Co-op participants are with us for three years and rotate between project engineering, field engineering, and labor management. Students travel to facilities to interact with teams and get hands-on supply chain experience. Examples of their projects may include conducting time studies, developing facility designs with AutoCAD or analyzing data from proprietary supply chain systems.
One student said of his experience, “Being on the front lines of work from day one was a tremendously valuable experience and I am learning more than I had ever expected.”
MBA Strategy Consulting
Our strategy team has also engaged with a few MBA student groups in the Katz School of Business. The most recent occasion was an e-commerce project this past fall. Five students enrolled in a consulting practicum course, had the opportunity to learn about the business model and a specific challenge the company faces. Over the course of the semester, they designed and conducted a survey with prospective customers, then gathered and analyzed their data. At the end of the semester, the team came to our headquarters to present their findings and recommendations to internal stakeholders. Their robust approach and analysis led to relevant and valuable conclusions. This is a testament to the experience and guidance of the program educators.
Beth Schulte; a strategy analyst who worked closely with the MBA group, had this to say about the engagement, “The students were thorough in their research and analysis and presented a number of innovative, competitive ideas. The end result was particularly impressive considering the relatively short project timeline. We are continuing to explore all of the recommendations and look forward to continuing to collaborate with the university.”
Local Industry Events
FedEx Supply Chain has also been a sponsor of a number of local events hosted by the university’s Center for Supply Chain Management. The annual symposium brings industry leaders from across the country together here in Pittsburgh. It’s a great opportunity to share best practices and discuss the future of supply chain. Earlier this month, Ryan Kelly, our SVP of Sales, Strategy and Communications, was a guest speaker as part of the breakfast series. He discussed the increasing number of brands seeking outsourced supply chain support and the evolving role of 3PLs in today’s changing retail market. The company’s teammates have enjoyed and benefited from participating in these local events.
Gartner ranks University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Supply Chain Management among the top 20 for programs of its type.
FedEx Supply Chain is a leader in integrated supply chain solutions based in Pittsburgh, PA. The company’s expertise in value-added warehousing and transportation services is based on decades of experience. In addition to serving many Fortune 500 companies, FedEx® Fulfillment is an all-in-one solution for small businesses. FedEx Supply Chain is a Gold Sponsor for the University of Pittsburgh Center for Supply Chain Management and also engages with student groups at Penn State and the University of Texas.