1,00,000 Haj Pilgrims, 21 cities, 30 days, 200 staff!
The Thomas Cook Foreign Exchange division signed an agreement with the State Bank of India to handle the disbursement of Saudi Riyal 2100 to 100000 pilgrims travelling from 21 cities across India. These pilgrims are part of the Government subsidy that travel through the Haj Committee of India, and come from the most interior locations in India.
Given the sensitivity of a project of this stature, we had to ensure that we lived up to the expectation of all the stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in this.
It was, indeed, a huge challenge to manage the mammoth task of resource deployment, operating at centres where we do not have branches, currency stocking / movements / packing, security, Insurance, marketing, etc. Nearly a month of meticulous planning and co-ordination between the Head Office team and each of the 21 centres enabled us to draw up a plan for the successful execution of the project which would last for around 30 days!
Nearly 200 staff was deployed across India with employees travelling across states to provide assistance to manage the disbursements. Centres such as Gaya, Ranchi and Srinagar where we do not have our own branches were managed by nearest locations. Staff from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Cochin were sent to disbursement centres like Lucknow, Varanasi, Bhopal, Indore and Nagpur which were catering to nearly 20000 pilgrims between them. A special mention of the team that managed the Srinagar disbursement as they did it with full commitment, considering the local challenges they faced. Staff from the back office and other businesses also provided support in cities where we needed it.
The disbursement was to be done in two phases, with the 1st phase starting from 5th – 10th August at 9 cities catering to around 60000 pilgrims, and the 2nd phase catering to nearly 40000 pilgrims from 12 cities.
One of the key business opportunities was generating personal exchange transactions from each of the Haj pilgrims This project offered us the potential to make huge revenues in a short span of 30 days!
As a business we gained priceless experience to manage such a complex and mammoth project, but this would not have been possible without the support and guidance received from the senior management coupled with the team work and spirit with which the entire team managed this disbursement and normal day to day operations.
At Thomas Cook we proudly say…Haj Mubarak!
–Haj Co-ordination Team, Mumbai—