With a community of over 2.1 billion people to serve, it takes a lot to keep Facebook running. The Infrastructure team at Facebook is responsible for laying the groundwork that supports incredible amounts of data and traffic generated by billions of people when they connect and share on the platform daily. This is a very diverse team comprising engineers, programmers, attorneys, public policy managers, financial analysts, program managers, logistics specialists, energy professionals and analytics experts to support every aspect of the foundation.
Magdalene C. is the Logistics Program Manager on the Infrastructure Operations team. Her team manages the highly specialized logistics needs and material planning for the different technical teams that operate the physical infrastructure at Facebook in Asia Pacific.
“Many of my friends are surprised that a social media company has a dedicated logistics operations team, and I often get asked why does Facebook need to ship anything at all!” she laughs.
“My reply is always yes, Facebook does need to move things around. We transport huge server racks and networking equipment such as switches and routers which are housed within our network infrastructure sites. As part of ongoing maintenance, logistics planning is needed for the transport of specialized parts that are used for the repair or replacement of equipment.”
We had a chat with Magdalene, where she shares more about her role, and how she makes an impact at Facebook.
What do you do as a Logistics Program Manager at Facebook?
I ensure that equipment parts are made available at the right place and at the right time for the technical teams who run the infrastructure sites. Making these parts available is necessary for hardware maintenance at our sites where we regularly perform repair and maintenance work, as well as initiate new builds to improve the infrastructure network. I work closely with partners in warehousing, transportation and trade to store and move equipment parts in compliance with international trade regulations.
A lot of people don’t know about the Infrastructure Operations team at Facebook. Tell us more about the team and the growth opportunities?
Broadly speaking, the Infrastructure Operations team focuses on keeping networking equipment humming along at our infrastructure sites in Asia Pacific in order to provide network capacity for people to enjoy a seamless experience on Facebook. As a function within Infrastructure, the operations team has a variety of responsibilities which include managing and coordinating the upgrade and retrofit of existing infrastructure sites, repairing site equipment, and managing new site builds. We are a small team who work closely with our internal and external partners to ensure smooth operations within Infrastructure.
I see tremendous potential for the growth of Infrastructure in Asia Pacific as the monthly active users in the region account for about a third of the global community, and is growing rapidly. Thinking about how we are growing makes me extremely excited to be a part of this journey with Facebook.
What's it like working at Facebook?
Working at Facebook is super empowering. You are given the autonomy to explore and do what is right for the business. Things are extremely fast paced and dynamic. Quite often, projects that were started just a few weeks ago may morph into something quite different from the original concept. Being focused on key priorities is important so that we do not get caught up with the many different things that going on at any time. It is definitely exciting and refreshing as the challenges are on growth and scaling. You continuously ask yourself, “Can this scale?”, “Is this sustainable”, “How will things look like when this is multiplied X times?”.
Can you tell us about a high-impact project that you're working on right now?
I'm currently working on streamlining reverse logistics, which is a complex set of processes involving the servicing, refurbishing or recycling of equipment and parts that are no longer in service in order to recapture value or ensure proper disposal of them. I work with different teams to determine the entire logistics process, as well as improve or standardize systems to benefit operations. This initiative will result in scaled operations and cost savings.
That means redesigning processes so that they are more efficient?
Yes exactly! It boils down to performance improvements and optimizations - minor tweaks in processes can often deliver a big impact. For example, in a separate project, my team worked on improving the placement and labeling of equipment parts at infrastructure sites. Previously, technicians had to spend time and effort to search for the right equipment parts. We moved the most in-demand equipment parts to shelves that were at eye level, and had them labelled individually for the technicians to easily and accurately find the parts they need. This substantially saved time for them, and reduced human error.
What about a project that you've particularly enjoyed working on?
That would be the series of engagement workshops that I've recently conducted with the network team, and our warehousing and transport vendor. In these workshops, we did a deep dive on current logistics and supply chain processes, which included pinpointing gaps and areas of improvement. The teams further brainstormed on solutions to address them. What I enjoyed most was leveraging my background and past experience in logistics to come up with detailed scenarios on how to streamline logistics processes and deliver shorter turnaround times which everyone could understand and relate to.
On scaling, how is the team meeting the demands of a rapidly growing community?
As we scale, we are working hard to standardize and document key processes. This is critical, as given our current pace of growth, it is necessary that important information and updates are communicated quickly with everyone on the team. I'm working with our internal teams to drive the creation of guidelines and documentation of key processes, so that any new colleague who participates in existing projects can ramp up quickly and hit the ground running. As we continue on our incredible growth trajectory, improving and optimizing processes is the way to scale what we do.
Facebook continues to scale and grow in Asia Pacific as we build new tools, expand into new markets and design products that help bring the world closer together. Watch the Asia Pacific tech careers video to learn more!