Moving the World One Year Later - Learning to Dance

In the second case of this EFMD award-winning series, the first year of the Moving the World Program, a public-private Corporate Social Responsibility-driven partnership between TPG and the UN World Food Program is followed. INSEAD's Luk Van Wassenhove and Ramina Samii describe how the two organizations merge experience and capabilities in worldwide humanitarian operations.

by Luk Van Wassenhove, Ramina Samii
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Contrary to the first case study that looked at partner selection from the TPG perspective, here events are seen through WFP's eyes. In this case study, Moving the World: The TPG-WFP Partnership, Learning How to Dance, INSEAD's Luk Van Wassenhove, the Henry Ford Chaired Professor of Manufacturing at INSEAD, and Research Associate Ramina Samii look more specifically at the implementation of this initiative.

Both partners had to learn to move to the same beat, not to impose a rhythm that the other would not appreciate nor overstep each other's boundaries. To begin with, the two parties met more or less 'on-the-ground' in Tanzania and identified 5 major initiatives.

The School Feeding Support initiative aimed to engage the 161,000 TPG staff across 62 countries to feed an equal number of children per year. Country-based fundraisers were launched with amounts collected matched by the company. Much to everyone's surprise this initiative took off in big way and proved a positive life-changing experience for many TPG staff.

As for the Joint Logistics Supply Chain, one of the projects included a TPG study on in-house vehicle maintenance versus outsourcing, while on the warehousing side, TPG involvement was sought to remodel TPG's Italian humanitarian warehouse.

For the Emergency Response Unit, WFP intended to leverage TPG's express and logistics capability and know-how to enhance its operational effectiveness. An aviation training program was launched to train and certify WPF's air operators, previously impossible due to the prohibitive cost of such training. TPG also addressed logistics bottlenecks such as in Liberia where humanitarian agencies were prevented from offloading their cargo.

As far as the logistics-related initiatives were concerned, the biggest challenge was to figure out where TPG could help with its logistics capability. This happened in Iraq. The partnership was a first for both parties and differences were particularly felt in terms of working patterns and decision-making processes. Since WFP's business was about saving lives while TPG's culture rotated around financial reporting and profit, an effort had to be made by both parties to see how TPG, by bringing its expertise, could help WFP save more lives.

In other words, in this partnership as with others, an effort had to be made to dance together. The future will tell us about Moving the World's longevity and ongoing impact. An important study, and EFMD case award winner, of how successful such public-private partnership can be in making a difference.


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