On Jan. 26, FedEx Founder and Executive Chairman Frederick W. Smith obtained from the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) for an intimate, one-on-one dialog with Yossi Sheffi, CTL director and professor of civil and environmental engineering. Their discuss, titled “50 Years of Delivering Innovation,” targeted on the evolution of provide chain and logistics over the previous half century – during which FedEx performed a significant position.
Smith’s go to marked the start of CTL’s year-long celebration of its fiftieth anniversary. The yr of its founding, 1973, coincides with the yr Federal Express first started working – with 14 Dassault Falcon 20 plane delivering 189 packages, a far cry from the 16.5 million packages it now delivers each day .
In his introduction, Sheffi known as Smith “a legend in our field.” A real visionary, Sheffi continued, “he started more of an industry than a company.” From in a single day delivery—which was remarkable in 1973—to bundle monitoring, FedEx is a constant innovation chief within the delivery business.
Smith described his philosophy on innovation as fairly easy: “If you’re in business,” he mentioned, “and you’re not innovating, you’re in the process of commoditization or extinction.”
During a Q&A session with college students, researchers and members of the MIT neighborhood, Smith articulated two issues enterprise leaders should tolerate so as to innovate efficiently. First, he mentioned, ‘you have got to have the ability to tolerate characters. Many of the individuals who give you actually good concepts are a bit unusual indirectly.” He grinned and added, “That’s how people thought of me.”
The second requirement is ‘tolerate failure’.
Smith credit the continued drive to innovate – and a willingness to give you daring new concepts – for FedEx’s longevity. “Not every year is great,” he mentioned. “We do make a few mistakes, but somehow we got $100 billion out of those 189 packages because we’re very analytical and we understand you have to change.” As cautionary examples, he cited firms that “changed the world,” reminiscent of Sun Microsystems and Wang Laboratories, however which have since come and gone. “But here we are,” Smith continued. “We’re still standing.”
Innovation is a essential worth for firms to carry on to, crucial for survival, Smith mentioned. “The way to do it is to do it,” he mentioned, encouraging enterprise leaders to “constantly beat their fists” concerning the want for adaptation and alter.
CTL@50 Presents: Delivering 50 Years of Innovation – A Conversation with FedEx Founder Fred Smith