FedEx is one company that has invested in utilized technology to put them where they are today.  After having spent many years myself in logistics imageand moved from that industry to healthcare, it was a bit of a culture shock for me.  13 years ago logistics companies were already using the bar coding system and instruments to “shoot” the pallet of freight from a “bar code gun” to enter the information into a manifest, sound somewhat similar to what were are now just starting to implement in healthcare? 

Another word with similarity, “integration”, well we are all talking about this with healthcare software.  A number of years ago I had the opportunity to tour the Memphis facility to see the “big system” at work.  In a short amount of a few hours every evening, the system went to work, highly automated.  One other item he mentioned in the interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, was education.  We keep hearing this over and over and I say it a lot on this blog too.  The white collar workers need to make the adjustments in methodologies for the blue collar workers to create jobs and keep that sector of our population working.  That message was very clear. 

imageTraining is taken very seriously too at FedEx.  I had the opportunity to see and experience some of their methodologies years ago, to even include flying an Airbus simulator, which was a once in a lifetime type of experience.  Back to the story line here, their success is not only based on healthy working ethics, but also education in the forefront at all levels.  Each industry can learn from another.  One strong suggestion here is to not be afraid to try new technologies, something maybe that might rub off a bit with healthcare as relates to technology.  

Again, after moving in to healthcare from an industry where technology was king, in my estimation and opinion, healthcare was lagging behind in many areas, something I felt and still feel is ready for change.  Mr. Smith also talks about their investment in Asia and recently moving their hub to be closer to service and handle the products for shipment, as the old base was in Subic Bay, and on that same line he feels the US makes it too difficult expense wise for corporations and the fact that not only logistics companies but also healthcare companies should be able to to expense capital equipment and software when it's put into service and not have to wait and depreciate.  Anyway, there’s also a pod cast on line and it’s worth listening too as well with more depth added from the printed version.  BD 

And the second thing was it was an integrated air/ground network. Nobody had ever done that before, where you had the trucks and the planes together. So we were able to go in to the people and say, "You can ship from any place in the country, to any point in the system" - to use our famous initial tagline and our advertising - "absolutely, positively overnight." 

It just revolutionized the shipping world. And then we invented the barcode things to let people track things as they were in motion. And that was very profound, because what that did was let you have visibility of your inventory, whether it was in motion or at rest. And the only reason you have a warehouse is to put something so you know you got it.

Nobody had ever thought about taking that barcode and making sequentially numbered items, and then out in the industrial world track them, and send that information back so you can have it on a real-time basis. That was the innovation, the centralization of that.

Express is tied into the high-tech, high value-added trades, semiconductors, auto parts, aircraft parts, precision machinery, operates in 220 countries around the world. And then you have FedEx Ground, which is heavily tied into the retail sector - Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, Costco. (where we all go for prescriptions for one thing, BD)

Our job, as we see it in the top management, is to try to make their job easy. So when the downturn came, to answer your question, that's why management had to take the first hit.

And what happened in this country over the past 25 years or so, is that the country became far too heavily invested in the financial sector. And here are a couple of numbers that just really jumped out at me, when I heard them: In '83, finance was about 15.5 percent of the corporate profits of the United States.  By 2007, the last year before the meltdown began, it was 32 percent.

On the record: FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith


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