Leading business outsourcing specialist TNT Business Solutions has taken part in a unique collaborative learning event with West Midlands Fire Service to douse the economic pressures they face and fan the flames of success.
Contract managers from TNT Business Solutions shared their experiences with firefighters to discuss how each organisation is responding to the prevalent challenges of today and tomorrow.
It is hoped the joint project – still in its infancy – proves to be another innovative example of how joint partnerships between the private and public sector can reap rich rewards in achieving efficiencies and savings.
The workshop for managers from TNT Business Solutions and officers from the fire service was organised by leadership and management development company Acua at its headquarters in Coventry.
Acua has designed and is leading a learn-while-you work Foundation Degree in Leadership Capability for TNT Business Solutions, which has its UK headquarters in Atherstone, along with a leadership programme at West Midlands Fire Service. The two organisations were brought together to share their experiences and success stories.
Anne Garvey, from TNT’s Management Development team, said the event generated some thought provoking dialogue.
“It was an open discussion which which enabled some sharing of information with an organisation from the public sector,” she said.
“It was really interesting to learn more about what West Midlands Fire Service is doing beyond the actual response element of their roles and there was some definite nuggets of learning both parties gained from the discussions about how to generate greater efficiencies.
“There is certainly an appetite for us to collaborate further with West Midlands Fire Service again in the future.”
Acua Managing Director Larraine Boorman added: “TNT and West Midlands Fire Service are organisations from very different sectors, which had no prior relationship before this event, but share a desire to nurture and develop the talents of its workforce and future managers with the overall aim of providing the best possible service they can to their customers and, in the Fire Service’s case, the public.
“Acua has worked closely within teams at both organisations over the last 12 months to structure programmes which tackle topics directly relevant to the roles they face in their day-to-day jobs and we felt there was a lot they could share and learn from one another, which proved to be the case.”
Matthew Townsend , Senior Contract Manager, TNT Business Solutions, and a student on the Foundations Degree course, said: “The real benefit for us was to see how remarkably aligned the private and public sectors are in facing tough economic times.
“The fire service was able to see how flexible TNT is in our approach and our strategy. We shared some of our Lean processes which are not about removing services but by streamlining them and making them more efficient.
“Their ‘can do’ attitude is very similar to out ‘Sure we can’ philosophy.”
Phil Loach, Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer at West Midlands Fire Service, which has its headquarters on Vauxhall Road in Birmingham, said the event is set to be followed by further workshops.
“It is unlikely the two parties would have met if it was not for Acua, so the company was very much playing its other role of cupid and bringing together organisations which may have symmetry between them,” he said.
“We’ve already made preliminary arrangements to continue the new relationship established with TNT with a view to looking at real organisational issues and seeing if a different mindset can assist in solving other problems the service faces.”
Acua’s development programmes are tailored to suit each individual client and are led by its business coaches at clients’ premises as employees work towards gaining higher education skills and qualifications accredited by parent organisation Coventry University.
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