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FedEx prepares ‘logistics as a service’ platform

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FedEx and Microsoft are partnering on a new cloud-based platform.

FedEx Corp. is partnering with a tech giant to help retailers fulfill, ship and service e-commerce orders.

The leading parcel delivery provider is building upon the collaboration it launched with Microsoft Corp. in May 2020 to integrate its network intelligence with capabilities from the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP/CRM platform to introduce a cross-platform “logistics as a service” for retailers, merchants and brands.

FedEx Surround, the first FedEx customer-facing solution built using Microsoft Azure cloud technology, was deployed in December 2020 and leverages AI, machine learning and analytics solutions to proactively monitor the risk to FedEx packages along a delivery route, such as weather disruptions or traffic delays. This near real-time information provides supply chain visibility and allows users to proactively plan remediation and alternatives that FedEx can help execute to keep a shipment on track.

Now, the two companies have announced plans to introduce a data integration, combining data insights from FedEx with the Dynamics 365 intelligent order management module. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 intelligent order management solution uses data and artificial intelligence (AI) to create an omnichannel order management application that integrates with existing ERP and CRM systems.

The platform is equipped with prebuilt connectors to tools for omnichannel order intake, cross-channel order fulfillment and delivery, as well as rules-based order orchestration actions, within a low-code/no-code environment that uses AI and machine learning. It is also packaged with data and visibility into the FedEx network.

Expected to be available to customers in the U.S. in the second half of 2022, this cross-platform approach will be designed to enable faster, more cost-effective delivery; near real-time delivery status communications; and frictionless returns with approximately 60,000 drop-off locations and printerless QR codes.

FedEx has been actively competing with Amazon in everything from electric delivery vehicles to providing hosted e-commerce services, more recently piloting self-driving vehicles for linehaul trucking operations and integrating two Salesforce cloud solutions into its ShopRunner e-commerce platform.

“Nearly two years ago, we set out on a mission with Microsoft to transform the commerce ecosystem,” said Raj Subramaniam, president and COO of FedEx Corp. “In that time, we’ve made significant progress, leveraging Microsoft Azure technology with our FedEx Surround solution, which provides critical support in enabling advanced monitoring of time-sensitive priority shipments. This next phase of our collaboration will continue to connect the unmatched supply chain insights from the FedEx network with the Microsoft Cloud to improve e-commerce experiences for brands, merchants and consumers.”

“More than ever, it’s clear just how critical having a resilient supply chain is for every organization's success in the modern economy,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “We’re bringing data and insights from the FedEx network together with the Microsoft Cloud, starting with Dynamics 365, to help organizations accelerate their digital transformation across their business operations so they can offer customers more integrated ways to shop, and faster, more efficient deliveries.”

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