FedEx Blog

FedEx Blog

Transformation: A Prescription for Growth

August 5, 2013

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.


    dave simms says:

    Great synopsis of the changing landscape, our history and FUTURE of innovation that keeps us relevant, growing, and a critical leader in global economic development. We will miss Gene and his laser sharp insight.

    Mike Fedele says:

    A very interesting article by Gene and I wish him well. I think he is correct in terms of the innovation which is the natural result of allowing freedom, liberty and the free market. I do think we have two drivers in the States today..the natural drive of individuals to innovate, improve, and make revolutionary improvements in productivity which really drives our living standards. But on the other hand we have central planning tendencies mostly through monetary policy (the Federal Reserve) which distorts the cost of money, creates artifical bubbles and props up unproductive sectors like the financial and govt sectors. This limits our ability to grow and improve the human condition. The last few years that the Fed has distorted the market and not allowed the natural liquidation of bad debt that the market demands is just slowing us down. Their Keynsian Astrology is a failure. I’ll bet on American’s ability to innovate faster than the Fed’s push to reinforce failure.

    Dianne Tingirides says:

    Thank you for all you’ve done for FedEx. Your brilliant mind and engaging persona will be missed.
    Wishing you the best in all you do.

    Rose Booker says:

    Thank you very much for reminding us just how far we’ve grown as a corporation. This commentary infused our vision by dissecting transformation in both a micro and macro level. Our organization has reshaped the utilization of technology in an extraordinary way. As mentioned, the launching of the 14 small aircrafts, the global connections, computers installed in vehicles, Stream lining our business strategy to managing growth and the list goes on.

    Finally, thank you for being such an integral part and leaving your indelible mark of history with FedEx.

    Charles Hawk says:

    Gene’s brilliant economic vision, Fred Smith’s entrepreneurial genius, and other FedEx innovators willing to repeatedly “break set” or “think outside the box” enabled an American renaissance.

    This was only possible in an organization willing to protect and nurture creative thinkers. Doubtless, FedEx will continue to positively impact the evolution of American logistics and culture in the future.

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