Never have I appreciated a comment that FedEx CIO Rob Carter made at a recent InformationWeek conference more than this Christmas. When asked to describe the company's business, he responded, "We're in the business of engineering time."
It was a day and a half before Christmas and I still hadn't found the one gift that my oldest daughter wanted most. I'll spare you the details, but it was a rather obscure doll she had once seen that came from someplace, somewhere. Knowing those little details, of course, might have made it easier to find it. But no luck. Then, much to my surprise, her grandmother stumbled upon the toy while shopping in a small store in the small town where she lives. Fabulous, I thought. But with so little time, how was she going to get that doll to my house hundreds of miles away? Thank you, FedEx!
Of course, this is the kind of thing FedEx does every day. But it's the many other things it does that reveal just how significantly FedEx has transformed the package-delivery industry, providing crucial links in supply chains, logistics services, customs-clearance services, and, its latest foray, outsourced document management and other services through a $2.4 billion acquisition of Kinko's. You can learn more about how the company plans to continue to innovate through business technology on p. 34. And stay tuned--we'll bring you many more stories of these kinds of industry transformers in future issues.
Speaking of transformation, we continue to find fascinating examples of how RFID technology is affecting supply chains. Lest you think this technology is just for packages, crates, or products on store shelves, how about on cows' ears? For anyone who still thinks RFID is overhyped, we've got the beef for you on p. 18.
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