Transportation and logistics provider FedEx Corp. will collaborate with personal computing giant Microsoft Corp. to help businesses compete in today’s increasingly digital landscape through big data and analytics, the firms said today.
The partnership will combine the global digital and logistics network of FedEx with the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud, giving businesses improved control and insight into the global movement of goods, they said.
The arrangement has already produced its first product, known as FedEx Surround. According to FedEx and Microsoft, this new platform allows business users to enhance visibility into supply chain details by leveraging data to provide near-real-time analytics into shipment tracking, which will drive more precise logistics and inventory management.
FedEx Surround will provide near-real-time insights—down to the granular level of zip codes—to track the movement of physical inventory, presenting a sea change for carriers that are typically forced to be reactive to global logistics dynamics, due to their limited visibility options.
The system can also collect multiple data points gathered through FedEx’ internet of things (IOT) technology and analyze them using Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and analytics solutions. And with every package that ships, FedEx Surround will analyze past trends to identify future opportunities for streamlined shipping, creating a stronger and more resilient commercial ecosystem, the companies said.
“Now more than ever, organizations are counting on an efficient and capable supply chain to remain competitive and open for business,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a release. “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.”