Transportation is one of the largest industries in the world, and its sector range is very wide which include taxis, truck, train, ships, barges, airplanes, pipelines, warehouse and logistics service. For the industry, the three main trends were globalization of business, information technology development and new technology to support process efficient, and the market demand for more value-added. Hence, the companies in transportation and logistics industry depend on the global network of distribution centres to gain quick payment cycle and cheaper resources. In FedEx Corporation, as a leader firm in the industry, its centralized structures have always required, and facilitated billion dollar investments in IT and established the website from 1994. It provided a successful technology for the FedEx Corporation as a pioneer in the whole industry for e-business. This strategy became an advantage that they used to undermine their competitors’ strengths and localized customer service. With a globally connected IT network, FedEx was able to leverage their IT advantage to service their corporate accounts on a global basis, rather than on a country by country basis.
Pioneer of Internet Business in the Global Transportation and Logistics Industry
FedEx Corporation created its own website form 1994, it is the first step and basis for the company to develop its e-commerce. FedEx.com is the first transportation website which could accept the one line order for package tracking and allow the customers to transact the business by Internet. Both shippers and recipients could access shipping information and print documentation via Internet. As the pioneer in the industry, FedEx should continually improve their system and service due to its competitor also created the Internet service and Internet software. For instance, the DHL launched the website in 1995, UPS spent billions on IT and electronic commerce. The express transportation associated with e-tailing would reach $7 billion in the year of 2000, but FedEx only handled with 10 percent of purchase on-line goods. All of these brought heavy pressure to FedEx. In 1998, the company paid more than $2 billions to acquire the Caliber System, Inc. to increase the abilities and power on Internet service and e-tailing.
Because of the large potential market and lower cost, the Internet and e-tailing market was continually enlarging in the Global Transportation and Logistics Industry. To evaluate the performance of FedEx in Internet and e-tailing market should be from the view of five performance objectives. Firstly, from the view of cost, FedEx as the first one for Internet and e-tailing in the Global Transportation and Logistics Industry, it focused on long-term investment on IT and led the company to have the specific position in the area. For the intense competition, the company paid more than $2 millions to purchase Caliber System. It could effectively increase their market share in business-to-consumer delivery service. Hence, the investment partly made up the weakness against with UPS. Secondly, flexibility, the Internet service and e-tailing provide the convenience for the customers, increase a easy and quick channel for the transportation and e-tailing business. For instance, in the year of 1999, FedEx Marketplace created a link to the on-line shopping, the on-line shopper could click to the top on-line stores and with FedEx delivery. Thirdly, dependability, the establishing of the website enhanced the dependability between the organization and customers. The computer system supported the customers to know their goods conditions in the whole delivery process. For example, the company created software called FedEx Virtual Order in 1999 which provide Internet order and also provide the customers’ catalogues for them on the website. Moreover, the IT system also enhanced the internal management of FedEx Corporation. For the enormous organization, the dependable information system should be the basis for the busy operation process. (I.e. in 1995, FedEx launched AsiaOne Network, it is a transportation routing system) Fourthly, speed, for the transportation and logistics industry, speed is one of the crucial elements for the customers choosing a transportation company. The online order and the unique information system in FedEx deal with the order and storage, goods and shipping process, every process could reduce the time than before. For example, the FedEx Marketplace provided easy access to on-line merchants to offer fast FedEx shipping. Last but not least, quality, all of the strategies and performances about Internet and e-tailing could be linked to improve the quality providing for the customers and partners. For instance, the FedEx created e-business Tool in the year of 1997 which could support an easier connection with FedEx shipping applications. And the EuroOne network established also provide a powerful transportation routing system which linking more than 30 cities. All of this would enhance the service quality of FedEx’s Internet and e-tailing.
Consequently, the FedEx had an explicit objective in the Internet and e-tailing market, for both financial and non-financial performance of organization in this area was focus on achieving their objective. For the customers and partners, FedEx try to provide more flexible, convenient, fast service by the Internet and e-tailing channel, created dependable and loyal relationships with them and build a perfect reputation in the market. For the own organization, it insisted on long-term investment on Internet and e-tailing area, it would lead to earn a long-term benefits. Besides, the organization continually emphasized on the infrastructure building and technology improvement, to create a dependable operation system and transportation team which could support the smooth operation in Internet and e-tailing market. All of these performances lead the development of FedEx. It could not satisfy only by the pioneer of Internet business in the Global Transportation and Logistics Industry but try to be the long-term leadership in this market.
Evaluation of FedEx Acquisition of Caliber System
To evaluate the success or failure for FedEx Corporation acquired Caliber Systems in 1998 should also form the different points of view. From the positive side, the company use $88 million acquired the Caliber System, Inc., it could provide the company a powerful technical support on Internet commercial at that time. In the period, the e-commercial was on the development stage in the Global Transportation and Logistics Industry, the long-term investment and acquisition of Caliber System made the FedEx Corporation own the abilities and opportunities to be the pioneer and leader in this area. According to summary of benefits for M&A, The strategy helped FedEx Corporation entre a new market, broaden the business range, develop the new product and also gain new information technology. From the result, after the acquisition, in the following year, the company had an excellent performance, the net income increased 30 per cent and posting record earning risen 73 per cent.
However, as the passage of time, the competition in the market became more intense, despite of the e-tailing and electric commerce supporting, the report shown that both the volume and the income have a negative trend. From the view of financial report, the result had an obvious falling. This condition was cause of several factors. Firstly, the fuel pricing jumping was unexpected, it will increase the cost for the company. Secondly, it also meant the Caliber System did not blend in the organization completely. The organization was enormous, the operation was complicated, hence, just acquisition strategy without well association could not make the new party perform perfectly. For solving the problems, the FedEx Corporation announced reorganization on 19, Jan, 2000.
Consequently, it is hard to simply judge whether success or failure for the acquisition of Caliber System. The acquisition brought benefits, opportunities and also new operation method for FedEx Corporation. The negative result in the following years was also cause of multiple factors, i.e. the competition in the industry, the fuel price rapid rising and etc.