Speaking on day three of the virtual Adobe Summit held between 27-29 April, Rajesh Subramaniam, president and COO, FedEx spoke about how the company used the crises that surrounded the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity.
“I go back to May 2019, well before the pandemic, when we decided to double down on e-commerce because of the resurgence of the category. We decided to go from a five-day network to a seven-day network. It sounds easy but anyone who runs a network will tell you that’s a big step change. We also decided to go and deliver inside people’s houses, including big things like washing machines. Further, we also decided to insource a lot of things within the company. We made all the calls with a bet that the markets would be in our direction,” said Subramaniam.
And then came the Covid-19 pandemic that no one expected.
“When the pandemic came along and people stayed at home, and we were delivering everyone’s personal supply chains – AKA e-commerce – for their daily consumption. That market really boomed. The other side of the equation was the vaccines. We launched an IoT device which is now strapped to all vaccine packaging and shipped. Now, we are delivering 10s of million vaccines with 99.99% accuracy,” he added.
While others were asked to work from home during the pandemic, FedEx staff members couldn’t, as they ensured timely delivery of packages. Talking about the last 14 months, Subramaniam, said, “I’m immensely proud of the FedEx team over the past 14 months. We have delivered more than two billion masks, 80 kilotons of PPEs and several relief shipments around the world in this time frame. To deliver all this we rely on our 670 aircraft, 2,00,000 motorised vehicles, but the most important asset is our 6,00,000 frontline team members.”
Subramaniam ended his brief chat with Shantanu Narayen, chairman, CEO and president, Adobe, by talking about FedEx’s digital journey.
“Digital innovation has been in our DNA from the very get-go. Our chairman and founder, Frederick Smith, talked about how the information of the package was as important as the package itself. He said that in 1978, and at that time, launched tracking and tracing for the industry. When the internet came on, we were the first application on the web. So, technology has always been a part of FedEx. Of course, looking forward, we truly believe we can use the foundation of our physical capabilities, but leap forward on the technology side. We transport around 20 million packages per day; each of those packages is scanned 20-30 times. We are sitting on global supply chain data. We want to be able to be a data-driven company where we can take advantage of that data to provide unique value for our customers.”