Federal Express Corp. ("FedEx") unveiled a new Internet-based service called FedEx BusinessLink, as part of a virtual enterprise suite of services, a strategic new direction for the company. With FedEx BusinessLink, the company will become the first to provide businesses the capability to electronically integrate the ordering of products on-line with the ability to fulfill and deliver them anywhere in the world. FedEx BusinessLink is the first offering in a strategy called the virtual enterprise suite, which will streamline the order management process and combine the global reach of the Internet with FedEx's worldwide transportation and information networks. This initiative will enable businesses to reach new markets and serve their customers more effectively. "FedEx BusinessLink solves one of the key limitations of electronic commerce by linking the automated order and fulfillment system to the delivery of the product to the end customer," said Laurie A. Tucker, senior vice president of Logistics, Electronic Commerce and Catalog Division for Federal Express. "With FedEx BusinessLink, a company of any size can become a global marketer and create new sales channels without the need to invest in additional customer service and warehousing. It also provides a cost-effective, low-risk method to meet customer demand while minimizing inventory."
Available now to selected charter customers with a national roll-out planned for early 1997, FedEx BusinessLink provides businesses with software to create and update their own on-line catalog. On-line buyers around the world will be able to search for products, check pricing information and place their orders via FedEx BusinessLink which is housed on a secure FedEx server. When orders are placed, FedEx electronically transmits them to a second server at the merchant's location for fulfillment. A customer confirmation number is linked to a FedEx tracking number; the FedEx PowerShip system generates the shipping label and barcode, and the item is ready for shipment. Both the business and the buyer have real-time access to package order and tracking information from pick-up through delivery. FedEx began testing a prototype for FedEx BusinessLink over a year ago with Insight Direct, a supplier of computers and supplies. "Customer orders on the Internet have grown to 1,000 per month because this system allows our customers to order 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Denny Chittick, senior vice president of information services for Insight Direct. "We have increased our sales and service and opened up new marketing channels without increasing our staff."
The FedEx Virtual Enterprise Strategy
The virtual enterprise strategy will offer a complete range of integrated information, transportation and logistics services, including: order entry and confirmation, inventory management, transportation, invoicing and after sales service for returns or repairs. FedEx plans to announce additional enhancements to the suite of services over the next several months. FedEx BusinessLink: Fast Facts
How FedEx BusinessLink Puts Businesses On-line:
FedEx provides business with BusinessLink Publisher catalog creation software. Business creates catalog by inputting product information and pricing. FedEx launches catalog on business's World Wide Web homepage, incorporating firewall, credit card and security measures.
FedEx provides business with marketing plan to advise business how to drive its customers to on-line catalog.
How FedEx BusinessLink Works:
-- Order Entry: Using desktop PC, customer browses business's on-line catalog and orders product. -- Order Confirmation: FedEx electronically transmits the order to a second server at the business location for fulfillment. Customer confirmation number is linked to FedEx tracking number; FedEx PowerShip system generates and prints the shipping label and bar code. -- Transportation: FedEx transports order from warehouse to customer; businesses and customer can track package status throughout process via the Internet.
-- Benefits to Businesses: -- On-line Product and Company Information: Provides potential customers with on-line pricing and product information on-demand, reducing call center seconds-per-call. -- 24-Hour Access: Internet allows for order placement 24 hours a day, seven days a week. -- Automatic Customer Order Entry: Savings on call center staffing. After business hours, call center can focus on customer service rather than order taking. -- Enhanced Business-Customer Relationship: Businesses interact directly with customers, improving customer relations and understanding of the marketplace. -- Internet Presence: On-line catalog creates presence for businesses in the burgeoning electronic commerce marketplace, leveling the on-line playing field for smaller companies. Benefits to End-Customers:
-- Order and Tracking Numbers Linked: FedEx links business's order confirmation number with FedEx shipping label and barcode to ease package tracking. -- Time-Definite Delivery: Shipping via FedEx eliminates delivery time guesswork.
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