Changing How the World Does Business: Fedex's Incredible Journey to Success - The Inside Story

Front Cover
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006 - Business & Economics - 239 pages
From humble beginnings, FedEx has literally revolutionized the way business is conducted. Not too long ago, overnight shipping was barely an option for even the largest companies. Today, thanks to FedEx, it's available to every living room start-up. With annual revenues of $30 billion, more than 250,000 employees, 600 aircraft, and 70,000 surface vehicles, FedEx handles nearly six million shipments a day in two hundred countries. FedEx has become a household name, and has been named one of the top ten of America's Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine.

But it wasn't always easy. From his inside vantage point as the company's first general manager and chief operating officer, Roger Frock reveals the remarkable details of how Fred Smith and his team endured their tumultuous early years—fraught with a seemingly unending series of legal, financial, and operational crises that continually threatened the company's ability to stay in business—and, in the end, created an entirely new industry.

Frock chronicles the dramatic last-minute saves and turnarounds the company engineered from its inception to the present. He entertains with stories of the trials and tribulations of the company's early struggles and victories—from Pilots using personal credit cards to fuel planes, to the courier who hocked his watch to put gas in his delivery van, and, one of the most memorable episodes, the time that founder Fred Smith literally gambled the company's last remaining funds to keep the planes flying.

Frock's story introduces all the players—FedEx's resourceful and resilient leaders and employees—and shows how these remarkable individuals gave Fred Smith's original concept wings and, through flexibility, creativity, and commitment, made a fledgling startup into one of the great success stories in modern business. Changing the Way the World Does Business is an inspirational tale for leaders and entrepreneurs everywhere.
 

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Contents

The Trail of Inspiration
9
Checking with the Experts
15
Feeling More Comfortable
19
This Dog Might Hunt
23
An Irrational Decision
27
Kick the Tires Light the Fires
31
A Climate of Chaos
37
Looking for a Few Good People
43
A Little Help from Our Friends
111
Summoned to a Special Meeting
117
A General in the Guerrilla Camp
127
FundRaisingRound Three
135
America Youve Got a New Airline
141
A Threatened Resignation
147
Three Division Offices
155
Just Step out of the Way
159

Mr Smith Goes to Washington
51
The Humble House Gang
57
Goodbye Little Rock Hello Memphis
61
The Company Lodestar
65
More Obstacles
71
Lets Call it a System Test
79
The Marine Corps Boot Camp Mode
83
An Inauspicious Beginning
89
Rescue at the Edge of a Precipice
93
Light at the End of the Tunnel
101
From Caterpillar to Butterfly
171
Mach 1 to Idle
177
Concordes Dirigibles and Separation
185
People Are the Wind beneath Our Wings
201
Changing How the World Does Business
211
Time Line for the Startup 1971 to 1982
217
Index
223
About the Author
239
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Roger Frock is president of Quest Management, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in supply chain management. He has been a guest speaker at the National Council of Physical Distribution Management (now the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals), the American Management Association, and the American Trucking Association, and has made frequent presentations to other industry associations and private business groups on a variety of subjects.

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