FedEx Corp. and Microsoft Corp. plan to launch a multi-year collaboration that they say will transform commerce by combining the transportation company’s logistics network with the power of cloud computing technology, the firms announced on Monday (May 18).
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The initiative is expected to roll out this summer, with customer access coming later.
“FedEx has been reimagining the supply chain since our first day of operation, and we are taking it to a new level with today’s announcement,” said FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick Smith in a statement.
They pledged to use Azure and Dynamics 365 to reinvent the commerce experience and enable businesses to better compete. Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing service, which allows customers to store data online. Dynamics 365 provides an array of data-driven business services.
FedEx networks link more than 99 percent of the world’s gross domestic product in 220 countries and territories, while Microsoft Azure is used by more than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies, the companies said.
The mission is to provide control and insight into the global movement of goods.
“Now more than ever, organizations are counting on an efficient and capable supply chain to remain competitive and open for business,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, in a statement.
Dubbed FedEx Surround, the companies said the initiative will provide businesses with a window into its supply chain, offering near-real-time analytics of shipment tracking. Today, they said, most carriers react to global logistics dynamics with only limited options built into how a package gets to its destination. Surround aims to provide solutions to businesses with a supply chain and those that depend on highly time-sensitive deliveries.
For example, if a hospital needs a life-saving package, or if a part must be delivered to a manufacturing plant to avoid a shutdown, the data access can offer an advantage to not only organizations using the platform, but also the customers they serve.
This new service comes at a time when the infrastructure built for pre-pandemic eCommerce levels is staggering under the weight of the digital shift. As the PYMNTS COVID-19 tracker reported last week, the sheer volume of packages from a variety of retailers has forced FedEx to limit the number of deliveries. UPS suspended its service guarantees on March 26.
“With stores closed due to shelter-in-place mandates across the country, April’s Digital Economy Index highlights some of the ways in which brands in these categories have had to shift strategies during this unprecedented time and how consumer online shopping is evolving,” John Copeland, vice president of marketing and customer insights at Adobe, wrote in a blog post.