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Information Technology is a Universal Language

March 11, 2009

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When I was approached to be a member of the IT team to implement the new FedEx Asia Pacific hub in Guangzhou, China, I didn’t know how to react.  In my 20 years at FedEx, I’ve always been involved with the IT systems that help our hubs operate.  I was a member of the team that successfully implemented two expansions of the Indianapolis hub, but implementing a hub in China?

Our small core team, comprised of US and Asia Pacific IT team members was about to embark upon a mission-possible! 

Were there stumbling blocks?  Sure.  Was there adversity?  Yes.  Were we frightened that we would miss our deadlines?  Of course.  Were we successful?  Hugely!  Our IT projects came in on time and under budget.  I am also quite skilled at eating with chopsticks!

Of course, working across two time zones as far apart as ours was very challenging. I also had no idea how much negotiation would be necessary to install and operate computers, hand-held wireless devices, and network equipment in China.

Now, exactly three years later, I’ve grown to love the marriage between our teams and our cultures.  The working phrase that our team adopted was, “We are all one family”.  And as one family, we came together with great strength and conquered tasks placed before us

Being just one member, of what is now a huge family, it was such an honor to be one of the few U.S. employees to be on-site for opening night, Friday, February 6, 2009.  As the first aircraft pulled into its assigned gate on our FedEx ramp, you could feel the excitement in the air.  There were Chinese guests nearby, to witness this noteworthy event.  By building a hub in Guangzhou, I think that FedEx has secured a place in Chinese history.

Words cannot express how glad I am to have been selected to participate in this project.


    D. Hykel says:

    Terrific job Alex, I’m sure being there for go-live was quite gratifying!

    Eileen Olewinski says:

    Alex……I remember when you first talked about being assigned to this project……it was really exciting and scary at the same time. I love your sentence; “I’ve grown to love the marriage between our teams and our cultures” because it describes how the partnership grew…good times and frustrating times. Congratulations on a job well done. eileen

    Sunny says:

    I love this title, ‘Information Technology is a Universal Language’. I think this is the key factor to the successful marriage between the team and culture. and with great pleasure, I may start my new IT life with the new Fedex APAC HUB. I believe the coming experience will be unique and expected. As you said, FedEx has secured a place in Chinese history. I believe that.

    Sumit Mandowara says:

    Hello Alex

    Congratulations for your achievement. And I think that I am a bit late, maybe 2 years to do so. However, As I went through your post it only helped me understand how IT has become a Universal Language. I am one of those who believes that for something to exist in business today, IT has to exist before.

    I am working on a paper on Information Systems in Logistics and I am looking for some real life opinions and practices of IS and IT in logistics.

    I would be very grateful to you if you can help me by sharing your experience about IS/IT operation in the logistics in the industry.

    Sumit Mandowara

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