IT program manager sharpens skills at FedEx

By Dianne Ryder DLA Public Affairs

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Editor’s Note: This article concludes the series highlighting DLA participants in the Training with Industry Program, which provides Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act-certified employees an opportunity to gain career-broadening experience while working in an industry environment.

Anthony Buto, an information technology project manager with the Defense Logistics Agency, recently completed an assignment with FedEx through the Defense Department’s Training with Industry Program.

The professional development program helps Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act-certified military and civilian employees learn from private industry and improve their leadership skills. Buto, whose job in IT includes acquisition elements, leapt at the chance to apply for the program after learning about it from his manager in February 2019. He was accepted into the program in May and began his six-month detail in June at FedEx’s headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.

The multinational courier, which includes FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, FedEx Services, FedEx Logistics and FedEx Office, reported revenues of over $69 billion in fiscal 2019.

“FedEx delivers 15 million packages a day to more than 220 countries and territories, linking more than 99% of the world’s gross domestic product,” Buto said, adding that there are 450,000-plus FedEx employees worldwide and about 30,000 in Memphis.

Buto began his detail with FedEx Express’s human resources department, where he created recruiting videos for social media and updated the FedEx Express careers website.

“Recruiting is especially important during the peak holiday season when the number of packages shipped daily by FedEx can more than double from 15 to 30 million,” he said. FedEx planned to hire 55,000 people ahead of the holidays to meet the increased shipping demand.

Buto also worked with FedEx Express’s branding, marketing and legal departments, as well as FedEx Services’ IT department while supporting other recruitment efforts and the FedEx mobile app redesign.

“I was able to work with some incredible people on projects that will improve the customer experience, reinforce the FedEx brand, help recruit tens of thousands of new employees and be used by millions of people,” he said, adding that several modernization efforts were underway during his time at FedEx to automate logistics processes and replace legacy IT systems.

He learned about FedEx’s culture, the “The Purple Promise,” which reflects the company’s commitment to excellent customer service, and the FedEx Cares program that’s designed to positively impact 50 million people around the world by the company’s 50th anniversary in 2023.

Another company tenet that impressed Buto is FedEx’s people-service-profit philosophy, which mirrors DLA’s people and culture values.

“The idea with PSP is to create a virtuous circle. When the company takes care of their employees, the employees will strive to take care of their customers by providing excellent service, which results in more customers choosing to purchase the company’s products and services. The profits generated from these repeat purchases enables the company to continue to invest in taking care of their employees,” he added.

Like other TWI participants, Buto found the constraints of a six-month detail challenging but said it was worth the commitment.

“My goal was to identify new processes, methodologies, frameworks and solutions that I could bring back to DLA,” he said. “While I would have liked to have spent a full year on this assignment, I am extremely grateful for my six months at FedEx.”

Buto said many of his leadership, project management, IT and problem-solving skills easily transferred to the assignment. He highly recommends the TWI Program.

“You can learn a great deal by reading about a company, but working there provides unique opportunities and insights unavailable to the outside world,” he said, adding that while his expectations for the assignment were high, the experience exceeded them.