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Changing How the World Does Business

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Changing How the World Does Business

FedEx's Incredible Journey to Success - The Inside Story


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Get the insider's story about how an exciting, forward-thinking start-up beat the odds to pioneer an entirely new industry.

Editorial Rating



  • Background
  • Concrete Examples


FedEx is more than a household word; it is a household verb replacing the word "delivery" as in, "No worries, we'll FedEx this so they'll have it tomorrow." The story of this colorful company's history and the personalities that brought it to fruition is captivating – filled as it is with cliffhangers, dodged disasters and near failure. In the early days of Federal Express, nothing was a sure thing. Founder Fred Smith and his management team had to elude financial ruin while inventing an entirely new industry. Author and former FedEx general manager Roger Frock fondly recounts the tumultuous early days of the company, although you may wish he had shared more of his insight into the personality of Smith, who remains an elusive unknown. getAbstract recommends this book to those who enjoy rags-to-riches corporate stories or to anyone who relies on FedEx to deliver goods that "absolutely, positively have to be there overnight."


The FedEx Story

So many businesses depend on Federal Express's quick gratification delivery service that it is hard to remember when it did not exist. Today, the FedEx Corporation earns annual revenues of more than $30 billion. It handles around six million packages daily, employs more than 250,000 people and operates some 600 airplanes and 70,000 vans and trucks to serve more than 200 countries.

When founder Frederick Wallace Smith first introduced the concept of FedEx in 1972, few people believed it could succeed. The revolutionary "hub-and-spokes" network he proposed to use for package sorting and delivery was not deemed viable. At the time, federal regulations prohibited a nationwide delivery service. Airline executives and financial experts believed it wouldn't fly. So, how did this small Little Rock, Arkansas, start-up grow to be so successful? The FedEx story is full of ups and downs. It illustrates the meticulous planning, flexibility and bold thinking needed not only to launch a new company, but also to pioneer a new industry.

Frederick Wallace Smith

FedEx founder Fred Smith was born in Mississippi and attended Yale in the 1960s. Some say the...

About the Author

Roger Frock joined Federal Express in 1972 as general manager and head of operations, and held many management roles. He is now president and CEO of a consulting company with expertise in supply chain management.

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