FedEx at Forty: Pushing Boundaries

FedEx innovators lead the way in bold advances.

FedEx packages pass through scanning tunnels at the hub. An average package will be scanned more than 12 times from pickup to delivery.

photograph courtesy FedEx

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When Rob Carter “bombed out” of pre-med studies at the University of Florida, he enrolled in a few computer classes. “I’d never seen a computer before,” he says and adds with a laugh, “I had a calculator but that was about it.”

Clearly the man who heads FedEx’s innovation team made the right move. During his 20 years with the company and 13 years as Chief Information Officer, he has sparked major advances that have kept FedEx at the top of technology applications, infrastructure, and global support of FedEx products. One of only four CIOs since the company’s founding, Carter credits his predecessors and his boss for FedEx’s reputation as an innovator. Though a CIO’s role isn’t always popular — “utilization and management of technical budgets, especially against business expectations, is often difficult,” he explains — Carter says he has a “dream job” of working with Fred Smith and driving his vision of innovation through technology. “As the company has grown and the footprint has expanded,” he adds, “the only way to manage that effectively is through good information systems and processes. Virtually every aspect of the business runs on a foundation of technology.”


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