Members of AITP chapter 150 (Anchorage Alaska) had a real thrill this month when 15 of it's members signed up to experience what it is like to fly a MD-11 at the Anchorage FedEx facility at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
"What a rush!" Anchorage Chapter Vice President and National Committee Member Mark Mathis was heard saying as he "deplaned".
For a bit of background, none of the AITP members had ever flown a commercial jet, though many were private pilots and even one student chapter member had been a B-1 Bomber Pilot in the United States Air Force. Seem strange that FedEx would allow a group of rookies to fly their MD-11? Not when you think the group really never got off the ground, but instead were able to experience "real live" sensation at FedEx's MD-11 Training Simulator.
Board member and programs chair Major Jeffrey Campbell, Alaska Air National Guard, was instrumental in setting up this meeting. He had coordinated with Ray Bradbury, Manager Technology Services Pacific North West of FedEx's Anchorage operations. "It wasn't easy to get this simulator time. That baby is booked a whole lot of the time, plus it costs a pretty penny to utilize it. I was really thrilled to bring this opportunity to our membership".
In addition to the flight simulator, the group was treated to some very interesting facts about how FedEx uses technology to track your incoming and outgoing packages. Imagine tracking and reporting some 3.2 million packages and documents every business day.
Did you know? Federal Express as founded in 1971. On day one of continuous operations, 389 employees and 14 Dassualt Falcon jets delivered 186 packages in 25 US cities modern air/ground express industry is born! In 1979, Federal Express launched COSMOS (Customer, Operations, and Service Master Online System) a centralized computer system to manage people, packages, vehicles and weather scenarios in real time! In 1981, Federal Express introduced the Overnight Letter (what did we do before that?). In 1983, Federal Express became the 1st US company to reach revenues of $1 billion without merger or acquisition! Did you buy stock in Federal Express in 1978 when it went public?
A bit more on the history of FedEx
1984 - The 1st PC based automated shipping system (later named FedEx PowerShip®) is introduced. I remember dialing into it at 2400 baud ? and forget a GUI!
1986 - SuperTracker® - a handheld bar code scanner system that captures detailed package information is introduced.
2000 - FedEx teams with Amazon.com on a major e-commerce event, delivering the book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" to 250,000 eager customers on the Saturday of its release ? spring forward a couple of years ?
2004 - FedEx teams again with Amazon.com to repeat a major e-commerce event - delivering the latest Harry Potter installment on the Saturday of its release. Only this time, the event is almost double the size: FedEx Express and FedEx Home Delivery delivered over 400,000 copies of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (up from the previous release of 250,000) in a single day.
How they got started In 1965, Yale University undergraduate Frederick W. Smith wrote a term paper about the passenger route systems used by most airfreight shippers, which he viewed as economically inadequate. Smith wrote of the need for shippers to have a system designed specifically for airfreight that could accommodate time-sensitive shipments such as medicines, computer parts and electronics. (He received a C on this paper)
After being founded in Little Rock, AR, Company headquarters were moved to Memphis, TN, a city selected for its geographical center to the original target market cities for small packages. In addition, the Memphis weather was excellent and rarely caused closures at Memphis International Airport. The airport was also willing to make the necessary improvements for the operation and had additional hangar space readily available.
Conclusion It's takes a bit more technology to get you're your package - on time every time - than just planes and trucks!
Editors Note - FedEx Kinko's is a partner affiliate to AITP and provides Discount Cards to AITP members