FedEx partners with Microsoft to improve supply chains and shipping logistics

The companies said their first offering, called FedEx Surround, will provide real-time analytics into commerce supply chains and shipment tracking.

Microsoft and FedEx on Monday announced a multiyear partnership that's aimed at helping customers use analytics to improve their supply chains and shipping times. Through the collaboration, which includes joint product development, the companies will collect data from the FedEx logistics network and analyze it through Microsoft's Azure Cloud. 

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The companies said their first offering, called FedEx Surround, will provide real-time analytics into commerce supply chains and shipment tracking. FedEx Surround can also collect multiple data points through FedEx's Internet of Things technology and analyze it through Microsoft's AI and machine learning systems.

The idea is to drive more precise logistics and inventory management through near-real-time data insights, and to also help businesses better predict issues that could hamper delivery, such as severe weather, natural disasters, mechanical delays, clearance issues, and incorrect addresses.

"FedEx has been reimagining the supply chain since our first day of operation, and we are taking it to a new level with today's announcement," said FedEx CEO Frederick Smith. "Together with Microsoft, we will combine the immense power of technology with the vast scale of our infrastructure to help revolutionize commerce and create a network for what's next for our customers."

The companies did not disclose financial details of the partnership, or provide clarity around FedEx as an Azure Cloud customer. FedEx has used Amazon Web Services as a cloud provider but it's unclear whether that relationship still stands. FedEx and Amazon parted ways as logistics partners last year amid Amazon's push to build out its own delivery network.

FedEx and Microsoft are planning to roll out more products that leverage Microsoft technologies, including Dynamics 365, over the coming months. Availability of FedEx Surround will be announced this summer.

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