FedEx Blog

FedEx Blog

What Can Creativity Do…?

January 19, 2009

FedEx is well known for it’s creativity and a variety of “industry firsts”….and many employees under estimate their ability to truly make a difference, think outside the box, and make an everlasting impact.

A few years ago I was challenged with a project, and that was to find a way to increase our customer drop off points. One idea was to create a “slot” on the side of our FedEx vehicles where customers in major markets could drop off their overnight letters or courier pak envelopes in any of the literally hundreds of FedEx vehicles.

The idea seemed simple, but pulling it off and obtaining the support and buy in of all the various internal departments was the biggest challenge. The concept needed the approval of Corporate Marketing, Legal, Brand Identity, Security, Safety, Express Operations, Vehicle Maintenance, Training, and Risk Management just to name a few.

While it would have been so easy for any of these organizations to say no, or it’s not a priority, the can do and get it done attitude of every individual in these departments allowed me to find common ground, develope a plan and move forward.

The idea eventually came to fruitition and now many Express vehicles in major markets have the “FedEx Drop Slot” as a result of the many supporting efforts of the departments mentioned above.

Well what can creativity do….? Simple, in addition to being able to add another first for FedEx, or the good feeling you get from “making a difference” there was another benefit I under estimated, and that was the impact “outside” our company.

On a recent sales call with one of our largest Express customers who was looking for unique differences among the carriers, they stated that “creativity” and the ability to think outside the box and get things done was of great importance to them.  Today with many of our services being viewed as “generic” by some customers, finding ways to differentiate ourselves is key.

I relayed the story to the customer about how the Drop Slot project came about, and the support and “can do attitude” of our employees who went above and beyond to “think outside the box”, challenge what was considered standard operating procedure and make it happen. The customer then truly realized the “difference” between FedEx and any of our competitors. The customer was impressed on how FedEx “Corporation” supported their employees,  “empowered” them to go above and beyond, be creative and “make a difference”, they saw it was our “Culture”, People First Philosophy and just one of the many things FedEx does on a daily basis that so many others take for granted.

I can only imagine the global impact to our company should employees around the world tap in to their creativity and find ways to improve what we do. In Japan it is referred to as “Kaizen”, a philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life.

Imagine the possibilites that await us knowing we work for a company that allows and fosters creativity within. Knowing that all levels of management support the employees in this endevour is rare in today’s business environment. The internal or external impact can be unlimited and the opportunity is there for each of us as employees, to be “Creative, think outside the box and find ways to make a difference”.


    How cool to read how this came about.

    I’d seen them but didn’t imagine the degree of buy-in you need to move such a “duh” idea forward, or how it takes years to go from concept to reality even when it’s “invented here.”

    Jocelyn Baclor says:

    Excellent article. I’m looking at discussing creative problem solving in my next department meeting and have already found some good reference materials. You, however, made it real and concrete for me. Thanks for blogging.

    Brent Pinsent(CA YOWA) says:

    Great read Joe.I do agree with you that the idea is the easy part.The workings to get an idea from conception to being implemented are somewhat challenging to say the least. I guess persistance really did pay off in your idea.Congrats to you! I believe a lot of people still have the notion that their own ideas are good but can’t forsee it going anywhere due to the system not being streamlined. Thanks for showing that it is possible. cheers

    Joe Perrone says:

    Thank you for sharing your comments. Glad this was able to help. I’ve been with FedEx for nearly 30 years and have established a good network of contacts.
    Don’t hesitate to contact me if there is anything further I can do to assist.

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