Two of Amazon’s major rivals — FedEx and Microsoft – have joined forces for new near-real-time analytics into shipment tracking, which will drive more precise logistics and inventory management. The new multi year collaboration will help transform commerce by combining the global digital and logistics network of FedEx with the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud, the two companies said.
“Now more than ever, organisations are counting on an efficient and capable supply chain to remain competitive and open for business,” Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, said in a statement.
“Together with FedEx, we will apply the power of Azure, Dynamics 365 and their AI (Artificial Intelligence) capabilities to this urgent need, building new commerce experiences that transform logistics for our mutual customers around the world.”
There will be multiple joint offerings as a result of the collaboration.
FedEx Surround, the first solution resulting from the collaboration, allows any business to enhance visibility into its supply chain by leveraging data.
The solution is designed to provide near-real-time insights — down to the granular level of ZIP code, for example — on the progress and movement of physical inventory.
The benefits offered by FedEx Surround will extend to any business with a supply chain and particularly those that depend on highly time-sensitive deliveries.
For example, a hospital may urgently need a package to help save a life, or a part may need rapid transport to a manufacturing facility to avoid an operational shutdown.
In each instance, the near-real-time data insights provided by FedEx Surround offer a significant advantage to not only the organisations using the platform but also the people they serve.
FedEx Surround can also collect multiple data points gathered through the enhanced scanning and proprietary Internet of Things (IoT) technology of FedEx and analyse them using Microsoft’s broad suite of AI, machine learning and analytics solutions.
“FedEx has been reimagining the supply chain since our first day of operation, and we are taking it to a new level with today’s announcement,” said Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, FedEx.
“Together with Microsoft, we will combine the immense power of technology with the vast scale of our infrastructure to help revolutionize commerce and create a network for what’s next for our customers.”
While FedEx competes with Amazon Logistics – the e-commerce giant’s in-house shipping and delivery service – Microsoft is an arch rival of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the cloud computing business.