Partnership will infuse cloud-based analytics to make supply chains and logistics smarter
As e-commerce and just-in-time shipping gains importance, shipping giant FedEx is teaming with Microsoft to infuse its logistics and delivery services with cloud-based analytics to give businesses deeper insights into their supply chains and customer relationships.
The Lowdown: Under the multiyear partnership, the companies will develop new applications and services that leverage Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, Dynamics 365 customer relationship management, and other artificial intelligence capabilities. The goal, FedEx and Microsoft say, is providing customers that leverage their respective services greater capabilities in inventory and logistics management.
The Details: The first product of the Microsoft and FedEx partnership is FedEx Surround, a system that provides users with insights into inventory and shipment details down to the ZIP code level. FedEx Surround leverages elements of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics solutions to give companies real-time insights into their fulfillment processes to identify improvement opportunities and correct challenges as they arise. FedEx start rolling out Surround this summer.
The Impact: During the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce orders and fulfillment surged as businesses raced to online ordering to capture products no longer available through conventional channels. Logistics companies such as FedEx and UPS already offer applications for tracking shipments through their networks. Adding more intelligence and analytics to the process, as being developed by Microsoft and FedEx, will provide businesses — including technology vendors and solution providers — with tools for planning and improving their delivery systems, cost controls, and customer service.
The Buzz: “FedEx has been reimagining the supply chain since our first day of operation, and we’re taking it to a new level with today’s announcement,” said Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx. “Together with Microsoft, we will combine the immense power of technology with the vast scale of our infrastructure to help revolutionize commerce and create a network for what’s next for our customers.”
“Now more than ever, organizations are counting on an efficient and capable supply chain to remain competitive and open for business,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Together with FedEx, we will apply the power of Azure, Dynamics 365, and their AI capabilities to this urgent need, building new commerce experiences that transform logistics for our mutual customers around the world.”