Behind Closed Doors: FedEx Global Operations Center

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Updated: 12/04/2013 8:10 pm
MEMPHIS, TN ( - As we head full blast into the holiday season, Black Friday shopping starts right after the Thanksgiving meal is over.

But the biggest day for our biggest local employer is coming on Cyber Monday next week.

When FedEx expects to set a new record. Moving more than 22 million shipments around the world.

Hundreds of airplanes. Millions of packages everyday. All going in different directions. All managed from this room near Memphis International Airport.

Dave Lusk is the senior manager of the FedEx Global Operations Center.

"We manage the entire global operations. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Lusk said.

This is the place where the FedEx heart beats.

“We call this, affectionately we call it the war board. The technical term is the asset tracker," Lusk said.

Those assets include 650 aircraft taking off and landing at hundreds of airports around the world.

1,200 flights FedEx flights come into the global super hub in Memphis every week.

Each block on their board represents an aircraft and a plan.

Ed Smith is managing flights across the Atlantic, providing information and weather. Whatever the crew needs to know.

Dispatchers have the pilot's back.

“A good day is when the phone doesn't ring and they don't send me a message saying I got a problem,” Smith said.

"We have the ability to go out and ping the aircraft and tell how much fuel it has anywhere along the route of flight,” Lusk said.

The room is also where FedEx watches the world for trouble.

"Mainstream media is normally the first indication," Lusk said.

And the biggest trouble is usually the weather.

FedEx meteorologists not only have to get it right for Memphis, but for Kuala Lampur, too. And keep an eye on volcanoes.

"Volcanic ash, very hazardous to aviation,” Lusk said.

FedEx’s operation is so extensive, even the military stops by to take notes.

FedEx’s global operation control is where you may have to manage anything.

We stay up late at night thinking about what possibly could happen,” Lusk said.

They say they have three priorities at FedEx, protect their people, protect their assets, and protect their brand.

So far, they've managed to do it successfully for more than 40 years.
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