The Fixer: Steve Bandrowczak

The phone was ringing.

It could have been anyone. Steve Bandrowczak was only in his first week as CIO of DHL; he was constantly speaking with new colleagues and learning the terrain of the global shipping giant.

He had a budget of more than $2 billion, with 220,000 users in 220 countries. In time, Bandrowczak would come to call that job “the cocaine of the CIO role.” He dined with Colin Powell. He had meetings with princes, senators, and prime ministers. He could pick up the phone and speak with Bill Gates and other top CEOs.

But this wasn't one of those calls. The voice on the other end belonged to the senior vice president of operations (SVP) at JFK International Airport in New York.

Steve: Hello, Steve Bandrowczak.
SVP: Are you the new CIO? I'm getting creamed out here, and I need you here as soon as possible.

The problem was simple—and complex. Before any DHL aircraft from overseas lands in the United States, the entire inventory needs to clear customs electronically. That means all the information—where it's coming from, where it's going, the weight and shape of the packages, and so on—needs to be clearly detailed. If it clears, when the plane lands (in this case, at JFK), it's cleared to go to the DHL hangar. Once inside, workers unload and sort the packages for the next step in their journey, and the plane gets ready to go back to its point of origin. That entire process can take up to four hours.

Simple. Lengthy, but simple. ...

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