FedEx is a global leader in logistics, and a company known for its innovation has just joined Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA). FedEx has its motives to undertake initiatives on technologies that can usher greater transparency and data security to logistics processes.
FedEx decided to get involved with the blockchain technology after a high-profile cyber attack on its TNT express division in Europe last year. According to the reports, the integration of TNT into FedEx operations would cost $1.4 billion over the next four years, instead of the initial forecasted budget of $800 million.
FreightWaves spoke with Dale Chrystie, vice president of strategic planning & analysis at FedEx Freight, and Kevin Humphries, senior vice president of IT at FedEx Services earlier this week, about the prospects of blockchain and how they look at FedEx’s association with BiTA.
“We are proud to be a founding member of BiTA and the BiTA standards board because we want to work on developing common standards around blockchain technology in the transportation industry,” says Chrystie. “We continually try to enhance the customer’s experience, and blockchain is tied to that. We try to make it easy for our customers to do business with us. Since the technology is around making data more secure and transparent, we see that it holds a lot of promise.”
“FedEx has a long history of innovation in the logistics space since the beginning,” adds Humphries. “One of our focuses has always been to find innovative ways to provide the kind of visibility that our customers need to get all the information up and down the supply chain. And Blockchain is opening the door to that by giving customers even more visibility to their package before it gets in our hands and after it leaves our hands.”
For many, the idea of blockchain cuts parallel with that of the Internet. Companies have already realized the vast amount of data that pilled up every day. In that regard, safety and transparency of data are paramount, leading to the significance of blockchain.
“We have millions of records a day in our system, and we think of blockchain as a secure chain of custody that could transform the logistics industry. We believe it holds a lot of promise in that space and would streamline all that data exchange in a very secure way. The nature of the distributed ledger and having common definitions & standards is something that is applicable from origin to destination in the supply chain. So, we are pretty hopeful that blockchain will have many use cases”.
FedEx is also looking to work on some blockchain pilot programs, with some of them already underway.
“Our early work is in dispute resolution, where we have customers both upstream and downstream from us, trying to speak back in a common language. We are trying to determine if that data is common and in some cases, we as carriers, don’t necessarily have all the data that we would like to have.
And if we could agree on these elements and standards, we think we can drive a lot of efficiency in the process, and that’s just one example.”