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Wednesday, June 16, 2004FedEx is at the heart of how the American manufacturing base is globalizing, allowing all manner of parts and products to arrive from mostly Asian destinations in a just-in-time way. “In the high-tech and high-value-added sectors in particular, but also in the lower-value-added sectors, the location of production is almost irrelevant,” Smith says. “It’s simply a cost/time trade-off. That’s all.”Not coincidentally, FedEx is at the bleeding edge of how companies are targeting supply chains and logistics as the key to competitiveness. Companies don’t want to carry one more penny’s worth of inventory than they have to. They don’t want to have to deal with multiple suppliers to ship documents, parcels and larger loads. They want all that to be integrated, and they want to be able to find out, at any time, where things are. FedEx literally invented that capability. Fred Smith provides several insights into the way Fedex is operating and the areas that it is focussing for inventing the future.The profundity of the Internet is only beginning because it is providing, for the first time in human history, a standardized, low-cost, written and visual medium that people can use to sell and source things without regard to time and place. That’s never been the case in human history. And when you look at the numbers that we’re achieving now in our intercontinental business, I mean that’s not just happening by accident. It’s happening because people can look at everything there is to buy and sell in their segment or sector any place in the world, cross referenced by Google or the search engines.
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