Innovative Ways Social Media has “Shipped” Supply Chain Management to the Success of FedEx

Jen Norris    October 27, 2014

fed ex logo

Organization: FedEx
Contact: Fred Smith, CEO


Like most Canadians my husband and I work full time and have two kids; a stop off at the mall in between hockey practices, swimming lessons and everything else that needs to be done a weekend is a bit daunting. I love the idea of shopping at my convenience and then having my items shipped right to my door. My last trip to the mall, I was rushing to return an item and on my way out the door, saw a pair of boots I loved. With no time to stop in the store to try on the boots, that evening I found the boots online and had them shipped directly to me.

In preparing for this blog, I started to look around at all the FedEx trucks on the roads and wondered how many shipments FedEx does in a day? The statistics are staggering; 10.5 million shipments per day to more than 200 countries and territories with 300,000 employees ensuring the shipments arrive to their destinations.

fed ex employee

How does a company ensure that customers around the globe receive their shipments in a timely manner? With a supply chain management system that is driven by customers’ needs. The goal of a supply chain is to transport products through a complex process with little interruption.

FedEx has developed a short video on its Supply Chain Global Distribution Center and how they are utilize the supply chain to better serve its customers.

“At the core of a value-driven supply chain strategy is managing highly effective relationships – with constant communication” (2006) Linda M, Taylor “. A value-driven supply chain goes beyond OEM-EMS provider-supplier collaboration to determine and rate success based on customer satisfaction.”

In 1978, Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx said “the information about the package is as important as the package itself.” The organization to this day believes the statement to be true and uses information to gain a competitive edge on its competitors.

FedEx relies on technology and communication to ensure that customers receive their goods in a timely manner. FedEx has developed global distribution centers, a transportation network, with best in class technology for inventory and warehouse management systems as well as software to manage data. Once a package is scanned, FedEx is able to track who sent the package, where it’s going, when it’s to arrive and any special shipping requests. Employees have RF equipment (Radio Frequency) that allows wireless communication so users can rely information via electromagnetic waves from a host computer to a hand held device. With this technology employees are able access shipments information at any time, giving real-time information necessary for time-sensitive shipments.

Fed Ex shipping outline

Inside the FedEx Memphis “Super Hub”, machines scan, sort and weigh 2.2 million packages a day. Once scanned the packages are sorted a least two more times before being placed on plane to be flown out to its destination.

“FedEx provides the opportunity for small businesses to compete in metropolitan centers regardless of where they are located”. Charlie Regan, President of Leadership Charisma Group

Tracking of packages is communicated throughout FedEx as well as to the customer.  FedEx has integrated it’s system to update customers on shipment status through Social Media.

In September 2012, Facebook had over 1 billion active users. FedEx responded by developing “FedEx Ships to Friends” and launched its innovative, new Facebook shipping app. The app allows people to prepare and pay for US domestic shipments without ever leaving Facebook. Once the shipment has been processed, people could share with their friends by posting on timelines that they were shipping a package to them and include a customized message. “With FedEx Ship to Friends, we’re connecting with customers in the networks and communities they enjoy, while positioning our company to maximize the transition to social commerce.” (2012) Charlie Ciaramitaro, Director of Marketing for FedEx Services. “FedEx Keeps Friends Connected with the Launch of an Innovative, New Facebook Shipping App, FedEx, Nov 8

In 2012, FedEx Canada took to the TV screen in the Reality Show, Undercover Boss Canada.  Canadian viewers were able to see behind the scenes at FedEx Canada. This interview features Kathy from BC.

As of Dec 31, 2013 there were over 7 billion people using the internet compared to 360 million in 2000. That is an increase of 676 %. FedEx realizes the increase of internet usage and simplified business process for its customers. Information regarding shipments can be presented based on customers’ preferences. Customers can track their package through Twitter or Facebook. FedEx representatives are also online to respond to any inquiries and escalate any problems to the appropriate department if need be. If Facebook or Twitter aren’t ideal then a text messages can be sent directly to a phone. If those methods of communication aren’t preferred, simply type the tracking number into the Google search bar and Google’s first search result will lead to the direct results of the specific tracking number.

From the introduction of tracking numbers, FedEx has a long legacy of industry-leading innovations that simplifies the shipping process for customers across the globe. We will look forward to their next innovative development to keep FedEx ahead of the competition.

Lessons Learned:

Supply chain management isn’t just internal; customers expect to know just as much about their package as an employee does.  In order to get the packages to the customer quickly, FedEx has developed an integrated system that allows FedEx employees as well as customers to track packages within their logistic system.   The communication starts as soon as the shipping order is placed, and doesn’t end until the package is delivered.   To set FedEx apart from the competition, FedEx has also taken to Social Media outlets to simplify the shipping process and deliver innovative solutions.

Web References

Social Times
Logistic View Points
FedEx Images
FedEx News
Internet World Stats
FedEx Small Business
NC State University

Submitted By: Jennifer Norris – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.
To contact the author of this entry please email:

If you have any concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance