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Christmas from the frontlines of FedEx

Hundreds of boxes fall down ramps to sorters at a FedEx shipping hub.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bill Radke: For some of us, things at work are starting to slow down for the holidays. But for the people at FedEx, this is the busiest morning of the entire year. The company figures it will ship more than 10 million packages today alone.

What does that do to a human being? Let's find out by welcoming Greg Mollgaard to the program. He's a manager at FedEx's hub at Los Angeles International Airport. Greg, I can't believe you're taking the time to talk with me right now.

Greg Mollgaard: Oh, no problem.

Radke: What is the FedEx's LAX hub like on the busiest morning of the year?

Mollgaard: Um, like a controlled chaos.

Radke: How much control and how much chaos?

Mollgaard: Control, 100 percent. Chaos is really not too bad -- we got the right systems in place to handle all the packages as long as we staff up.

Radke: How much have you staffed up? How many extra people did you bring in for this time?

Mollgaard: My operation in particular, we are pretty staffed up already. I have 44 employees that work for me on a sort. But we are bringing in anywhere from 40 to 50 overtimers.

Radke: Help me picture it -- are you surrounded by stacks of brown cardboard boxes? Or what does it look like?

Mollgaard: It's not just brown cardboard boxes anymore, you know. It's a lot of different variations, from like plasma TVs, computers, books. They come down and we have 'em on our belt, and we process them, you know, at a good rate to go ahead and get everything loaded up and out on time.

Radke: Holiday shipping is one of those economic bellwethers. How busy is it this morning compared to a year ago?

Mollgaard: A year ago we did on our busiest day, which was December 15, we did about 12 million packages. This year, we're doing 14 million packages in our system.

Radke: OK, so at least it's going the right direction for the company.

Mollgaard: Yes, sir.

Radke: How long you been with the company?

Mollgaard: I've been with the company a little bit over 18 years now.

Radke: What's the most amazing technological advance for you, in your opinion, in those 18 years?

Mollgaard: Right now I'd say, we have what's called a power pad, which the on-road curriers use. And it just has so much more information and makes the job so much easier from back in the day, when we used to have to pick up a package and actually look up the code in the book and write it on there with a market. Well now, everything is just punched in the power pad and it just prints out the label to where it goes

Radke: Yeah, I don't care what your handwriting is like anymore, right? It's not my problem.

Mollgaard: Haha, yeah, it's probably good that I'm not writing on boxes anymore.

Radke: Oh yeah? Greg Mollgaard is a manager at the FedEx hub at LA International Airport on the busiest morning of the year. Greg, thank you for taking the time.

Mollgaard: All right, thank you very much for having me, appreciate it.

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