FedEx to Roll Out Customer Automation Platform

Memphis-based FDX Corp. today unveiled three major changes in the way it does business -- including changing its name and the name of three subsidiaries to the more familiar Federal Express (FedEx) brand -- in order to compete with other delivery companies, as well as to offer new and better services to its customers.

One of the new services FedEx officials touted at a press conference this morning was a streamlined customer automation platform to handle electronic transactions for small and large businesses, such as tracking, invoicing and customer service.

"Our customers said we needed to offer a broad portfolio of services for different shipping requirements, but we needed (to offer those services) in one place," said Frederick Smith, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corp.

In addition, Smith said that beginning March 15 the company will offer a new, low-cost residential home delivery service, called FedEx Home Delivery, in many major U.S. markets. The new service will be provided through the FedEx Ground network, formerly called RPS. The other units that were renamed are: Roberts Express, now FedEx Custom Critical, and FDX Logistics, now FedEx Global Logistics. Federal Express, the express shipping arm of the company, will retain its name but modify its logo to FedEX Express.

Dan Sullivan, CEO of FedEx Home Delivery, called this new service a great solution to the ever-growing needs of customers who shop online. He said it will allow consumers to customize delivery days and times, including scheduling deliveries on Saturdays and during the evening. FedEx Home Delivery will also offer customers a money-back guarantee.

Sullivan said the company will be deploying new technology to make FedEx Home Delivery more efficient.

"There will be a new automated delivery system that will plan the routes of the vehicles, assign packages to specific vehicles and route them in sequence," Sullivan said. "Our mission is to make people feel good about home delivery."

John Fontanella, an analyst with AMR Research Inc. in Boston, said FedEx's new offerings are an indication that the company didn't want to cede the home delivery market to United Parcel Service of America Inc. (UPS).

"Until they did a pilot (of the home delivery service) with RPS they didn't have a good home delivery story to tell," he said.

Fontanella also predicted that other shipping companies like UPS will be forced to match the service levels of FedEx Home Delivery.

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