Global logistics and delivery giants FedEx believe that the technology that powers Bitcoin can transform their industry, and company founder and CEO Fred Smith is heavily involved with testing blockchain technology, and seeing for himself if the hype is real.
FedEx, the US logistics and package delivery giant are keen to bring their operation into the 21st century by taking full advantage of the multi-benefits brought about by blockchain technology. So convinced are the powers that be at FedEx that the blockchain will transform the package-delivery industry, they are currently road-testing its technology to track its larger, more high-value cargo.
Who Is Fred Smith?
73-year old multi-billionaire Frederick “Fred” Smith (pictured above) is the founder, president and CEO of FedEx. Smith is a genuine, all-American hero and success story; Smith is a Yale graduate who joined the marines and saw action from 1966-69 in Vietnam, leaving the military with the rank of captain, having received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.
Smith set up FedEx in 1971 with an inheritance, and kept his company afloat through many highs and lows, eventually establishing it arguably the most famous shipping service in modern history. It is certainly one of the largest courier delivery services in the world today, generating in excess of $60 billion in revenue annually.
Blockchain: The Next Frontier
Unlike fellow senior-citizen and multi-billionaire Warren Buffet, Fred Smith is a big believer in blockchain technology, and at a blockchain conference in New York on Monday (May 14) he said:
“We’re quite confident that it has big, big implications in supply chain, transportation and logistics. It’s the next frontier that’s going to completely change worldwide supply chains.”
Blockchain technology is perfectly suited to the science of logistics, as it uses computer code to record every stage of a transaction. The blockchain also provides complete transparency, by virtue of results delivered in a permanent digital ledger. This ledger cannot be changed or altered unless all involved in the blockchain agree. This greatly reduces mundane but regular and time-consuming issues such as disputes over time stamps, payments and damages.
FedEx will rely on its lofty position in the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) – a working group created to promote the implementation of blockchain technology in logistics companies – as reason for its relatively recent yet suddenly intense focus on a technology made famous by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. As one of the founding members of BiTA, FedEx already supports a number of pilot programs – focusing on the area of dispute resolution.
“Profoundly Transform The Logistics Industry”
Dale Chrystie is FedEx’s Vice President of Strategic Planning. Chrystie believes that blockchain technology will enable the company to benefit from data which is transparent and secure, and improve the FedEx customer’s experience:
“Every day we store millions of items of data in our system, and we see the blockchain as a secure chain that could profoundly transform the logistics industry” said Chrystie. “We are convinced that this technology offers many promises for this ecosystem, and would allow us to organize all of our data in an extremely secure way.”
Smith, Chrystie and many others at FedEx believe that the areas of logistics and delivery could benefit significantly from blockchain technology. An easily understandable, transparent and real-time, decentralized registry could significantly reduce the operational costs of FedEx by dramatically increasing its efficiency.
Greater Parcel Visibility
Yet another blockchain advocate, Kevin Humphries, the Vice President of FedEx Services for Telecommunications, further emphasized the benefits that blockchain technology will bring to the typical FedEx customer:
“The blockchain will allow us to offer customers better visibility for their parcels, between the time they leave our warehouses and when they arrive in their hands.”
FedEx’s interest in blockchain technology and the “Internet of Things” is all part of the company’s ongoing strategy to improve its overall performance, raise its customer service and keep the competition at bay. FedEx will continue to work closely with BiTA as it attempts to set what will be the industry standards for using blockchain technology in the transportation industry.