As part of International Women’s Day on March 8, PPTI is speaking to influential women in the postal sector about their careers. In the first of a three-part interview series, Amanda Summers, same day operations supervisor at FedEx Express, tells us about her role and the opportunities for women in the industry.
Could you tell us a bit about your role at FedEx?
I have been working at FedEx Express for over 25 years and have been working as the operations supervisor for same day Manchester for the past four years.
My responsibilities include leading a team of 13 agents at the Manchester Regional Operations Centre, ensuring my team have the tools and resources available to support their day-to-day work. This includes supporting my team through coaching and development opportunities. Additionally, I manage the service level agreements of some of our major accounts and manage suppliers for the Northern region in relation to onboarding and compliance.
What was your career journey (before and at FedEx) to get to where you are today? How did you break into the logistics industry?
My journey into the logistics industry started at a company called Leggett Freightways as an office clerk; this was in conjunction with a college course I was completing which included a work experience section. I then transferred to the logistics department. After I had been with the company for 18 months, I applied for a role in customer services at TNT Bredbury and I worked in this role for over nine years. I was then promoted to backshift supervisor in operations and was in that role until I had my first child and returned to a traffic clerk’s role for 12 months. I moved again after seeing a position became available in same day at Bredbury, where I have now been for 13 years.
What particular challenges are there for women in the industry?
As with any industry, finding the right work-life balance can be a challenge at times. There can be times when I am working on a particular project which requires a lot of attention and time management skills. However, my team and the wider business are always very supportive and encourage each of us, particularly in the current environment, to ensure we’re working to a schedule that suits our personal life and commitments.
What operational challenges have you had to overcome in the past year?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the operational challenge I had to overcome was working from home. Like so many others, working from home has now become the new normal and was certainly a tricky task to navigate in the beginning of this transition. With the differing roles at FedEx, I had to manage 50% of the team working from home and 50% of the team working in the office while maintaining consistent communication between the groups.
Although it was a challenge at first, as a team, I’m proud to say we’ve worked really well together in transitioning to this new way of working and have adapted really well to this new normal. The whole team is now a well-oiled machine.
What advice would you give women looking to start out in the industry?
Don’t forget about the potential career development opportunities within the industry. The logistics sector involves a huge team that helps ensure everything runs smoothly, and with this comes a whole new world of roles and responsibilities that could introduce you to your dream job.
What is your favourite thing about working in both the logistics industry and at FedEx?
No two days are the same. It is fast-paced, and you never stop learning. The people are also passionate and always willing to go above and beyond to ensure a great customer experience.
What are your career goals for the next 5 years?
I want to continue to grow and develop on a personal level with the hope that I might be able to progress into the same day operations managers role at some point.
About Amanda Summers
Amanda is an active and passionate member of FedEx’s Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN), which aims to help team members harness their power by learning from each other and sharing stories and advice. Amanda takes the time to mentor and support many team members across the business. She has supported colleagues with interview preparation, seeing many of them progress their careers.
Amanda has recently completed a Global Leadership Development Programme. She undertook this remotely while working from home, which involved a considerable amount of dedication over several months. She is the only supervisor to receive the Senior Operator of the Quarter award twice.
Outside of work Amanda has two teenage boys, supporting them with their development and teaching the all-important life skills. She also co-manages a local basketball team and raises funds for the team by contacting local businesses for support to make sure the children have their annual award ceremony and a kit. As part of this work, Amanda has also received team organizer and best coach awards for her work with the team.