Transformation: A Prescription for Growth
When I arrived at FedEx 14 years ago, the term “smartphone” was never used. Social media was virtually unknown, and you often had to wait until a developer handed you an envelope of prints to know what your vacation photos looked like.
It’s amazing how times have changed. Throughout history we have witnessed mind-blowing transformations that have dramatically improved our lives. The first Industrial Revolution brought us railways, steam power and machine tools. Electric power and the internal combustion engine arrived next, and later computer and digital technology. Where would we be today without innovation?
FedEx has also followed a model for innovation and growth. In 1973, Federal Express launched 14 small aircraft from Memphis International Airport delivering 186 packages to 25 U.S. cities. Thanks to advancements in infrastructure, communication and technology that have fostered global connections, today the average daily package volume for FedEx is more than nine million for express, ground, freight and other expedited delivery services. In the process, FedEx has helped created the basic infrastructure of modern day commerce – a network of global supply chain logistics.
From installing computers in delivery vehicles to adding package-status tracking, FedEx was built upon innovation. It drives the FedEx business strategy and is an integral part of the culture. Even as The Great Recession hammered global economic growth and changed the way many customers move packages—shifting from overnight shipping to more economical options—the flexible FedEx network of solutions continues to foster growth.
The global economic landscape continues to change along with developments in technology, policy, and demographics. A major anchor to this story of change is the active participation of emerging markets in global commerce through goods, capital, labor and informational channels. Rapid deployment of the fruits of the second industrialization will continue to dominate growth in these countries. And that translates into ever increasing demand for merchandise – a key measure of climbing the ladder of development.
FedEx is placed firmly in the center of the action when it comes to facilitating merchandise transactions. That basic premise means FedEx business is a growth business. A corporate culture of innovation will make the growth story even more profound over time.
Whether it’s economic, business or personal, transformation is a necessary part of growth. As I prepare to leave FedEx for new opportunities, I can reflect on my time at the company as not only a professional opportunity, but also a personal blessing—one that has helped equip me with the knowledge and experience to transform and grow, and created a platform that allows an economist to have a perspective of past, present, and future.
I will observe and cheer for FedEx for years to come—continuing on a journey of transformation and embracing challenges that lift the economic prospect of billions of people.