FedEx Innovation: Four Decades of Breakthroughs
Innovation is a part of our DNA. It started in 1965 when our CEO and Chairman Fred Smith, then a Yale undergraduate, came up with a system to allow for the delivery of time-sensitive shipments. Within a decade, that idea established an entirely new industry — hub and spoke express shipping. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve continued to pioneer new innovations, all with an eye on connecting people and possibilities by providing better solutions for our customers.
Our innovations have taken multiple forms: the first PC-based automated shipping system, later named FedEx PowerShip®; FedEx® Tracking, which allows customers to keep tabs on the status of packages in transit; FedEx carbon-neutral envelope shipping, which has purchased offsets equivalent to more than 150,000 metric tons of CO2e since its introduction in 2012.
A systematic approach
Those and other FedEx developments are a direct result of the emphasis we put on innovation. All of our team members are tasked with looking for ways to streamline operations and improve the customer experience. But we also focus on it in a more systematic manner. FedEx Innovation is a cross-disciplinary team with a single mission: Develop game-changing ideas. The team takes a disciplined approach to its work, methodically researching and identifying emerging customer needs and then testing potential solutions. As in any innovative culture, its members aren’t afraid to rethink existing ways of doing business.
For advanced research, we sponsor the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis. The institute has a versatile, high-tech facility, and it’s home to research teams that work on everything from artificial intelligence and biotechnology to geospatial analysis, multimedia arts, nanotechnology, and more.
The process of breakthroughs
FedEx Innovation has engineered some remarkable advances. One recent example is SenseAware®, a powerful multi-sensor device that detects and transmits near-real-time shipment data on six key variables, including location, temperature, humidity, and shock.
The thing about innovation is that it’s a never-ending job. Shipping more than 10 million packages per business day around the world offers new challenges every day. Those challenges are what drive us to develop better solutions for our customers. We’re always looking for ways to build connections that allow people and communities to flourish and prosper.