On March 11, 1985, a startup company called Roadway Package System (RPS) put a label with 33 precisely spaced black lines on the outside of a package. By doing so, it changed the direction of the small-package industry. The black lines were a bar code. In the hands and minds of RPS’ innovative employees, this emerging technology made it possible not only to track a package’s movement, but also to sort it using automation to get it to its destination more efficiently — and to bill it more accurately.
RPS was a division of Roadway Services, which became Caliber System Inc. in 1996. By creating competitive advantages in the form of an independent contractor workforce, flexible pricing, package tracking that provided customers with relevant information about their packages, and many more “firsts,” the company quickly expanded and gained market share. In 1993, just nine years after its creation, RPS exceeded $1 billion in annual revenue — the fastest growth of any ground transportation company in history. By 1996, it offered 100 percent coverage of North America.
RPS was officially rebranded FedEx Ground in January 2000 following the acquisition of the Caliber companies by FDX Corp. in 1998. Later in 2000, the company launched FedEx Home Delivery®, a business-to-consumer service designed to help catalog and online retailers meet the residential market’s needs with standard features such as evening and Saturday deliveries.
In September 2004, Parcel Direct became a subsidiary of FedEx Ground after FedEx Corp. acquired the leading parcel consolidator. The service was later rebranded FedEx SmartPost® and now specializes in the delivery of low-weight packages from business to residential customers through a contract with the U.S. Postal Service, which provides last-mile package delivery.
In 2015, FedEx completed the acquisition of GENCO, one of the largest third-party logistics providers in North America. GENCO’s supply chain expertise brought new capabilities, including reverse logistics, greatly expanding the FedEx Ground portfolio of e-commerce and retail solutions. GENCO was rebranded as FedEx Supply Chain in 2017, and realigned in a new structure under FedEx Trade Networks in 2018.
Since 2013, FedEx Ground has improved transit times for more than half of its city-to-city shipping lanes, making it faster to more locations than UPS. And the company continues to invest in new facilities and emerging technologies. The result is the industry’s most automated hub network and continual improvement in speed, efficiency, and reliability.
Go to the FedEx Corporate Brochure to see how FedEx Ground and other FedEx operating companies come together to connect the world — serving our customers, our communities and our team members.