(WMC-TV) – How does an international company that depends on flying to keep business going handle a natural disaster?
Companies like FedEx had to be prepared.
"We've got some smart people in here," said FedEx Managing Director of Global Operations Control Paul Tronsor.
That is an understatement.
Paul Tronsor is the managing director of Fedex Global Operations Control. He said the shipping giant's command and control center performs a delicate dance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
"Decisions we make today impact us seven days down the road," he said.
So, imagine what happens when the largest Atlantic hurricane in history hones her wrath on the most populated cities in America.
"We call this the war board. A massive asset tracking system," Tronsor said referring to a huge collection of screens projected onto the wall.
FedEx meteorologists began eyeing Hurricane Sandy nine days out.
A sophisticated program shows specks on a screen which represents a logistical decision to dispatch half a million flights per year.
"We use the war board to track those decisions to look forward and really predict the future," said Tronsor.
Friday, FedEx pulled 50 planes out of harm's way.
"Every few hours, we do an assessment to find out when we can operate somewhere."
Sunday, Sandy's wrath turned treacherous.
Airports began suspending flights.
"For an airline, the complexity is not in stopping the network, but in restarting the network," said Tronsor.
An elegant juggling act began after Sandy left.
"We were the first jet to land in Newark," said Tronsor.
For this team, the hours after Hurricane Sandy was a logistical Superbowl, if you will.
"Our customers today are reconnected today because of the activities we've taken here over the last week."
The story doesn't just affect people here in the Mid-South as FedEx delivers packages all over the country.