As a leading global transportation, e-commerce and business service provider, FedEx is able to offer customers a one-stop-shop for shipping needs. FedEx Trade Networks is focused on helping customers of all sizes to navigate the intricacies of shipping goods globally. With the backing of the entire FedEx network behind them, they have a distinct advantage to other forwarders and are able to offer customers a service few can match. LM was fortunate to have an opportunity to speak with Dr. Udo Lange, EVP and COO, FedEx Trade Networks, about the changes he’s witnessed since his appointment and he offers us a deeper insight into the organization as a whole.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to speak with us Dr. Lange. To start, could we get background information on how you came into the logistics industry and your work experience at FedEx Trade Networks? Additionally, please explain your role as COO, the areas you oversee and plan for the company.
Prior to beginning my tenure at FedEx Trade Networks in 2015, I worked in the global trade and freight forwarding industry for over 20 years. I was born in Bavaria and attended University in Germany, but I have lived and worked around the world. FedEx Trade Networks focuses on cultivating a talented team that provides exceptional service, where there are many opportunities to foster relationships with our customers. As COO and interim lead of our Asia-Pacific (APAC) operations, I look forward to enhancing the company’s current momentum in providing best-in-class solutions to our customers around the globe.
Since coming to FedEx Trade Networks in 2015, what changes have you witnessed? What are some of the objectives you’ve set for the organization?
Since joining FedEx Trade Networks, I’ve witnessed continued growth in many areas, including: air and ocean freight forwarding, LCL/consolidation and order management, cross-border e-commerce enablement, and global customs brokerage, among other focus areas that are determined by customer needs. We have a strong strategic plan and I am excited to see our exceptional team members – both in Asia and around the world – implement and execute that plan since they are the ones who drive the success of our company.
When people hear “FedEx” they often think of the courier services. Could you shed more light on FedEx Trade Networks’ core services to help differentiate FedEx Trade Networks further?
The world requires a new type of freight forwarder that understands how to turn global logistics into strategic advantages. We believe in making the complexities of global shipping simple, and we strive to provide customers with unparalleled supply chain visibility and logistics transparency to help move their businesses forward. Something that sets us apart is Quality Driven Management (QDM). QDM is the continuous improvement philosophy FedEx Trade Networks employs to develop our people and improve our services through enhanced processes. QDM provides methods that enable us to consistently deliver the “Purple Promise,” which is thedEx internal mantra of making every customer experience outstanding.
“Something that sets us apart is Quality Driven Management (QDM). QDM is the continuous improvement philosophy FedEx Trade Networks employs to develop our people and improve our services through enhanced processes.”
Is FedEx Trade Networks invested in its own assets such as warehouses and trucks, or do you run on an asset light principle?
FedEx Trade Networks is a non-asset based full-service international freight forwarder. We also have the advantage of company-operated distribution space and contracted distribution facilities on an as-needed basis. This enables us to provide customers with flexible, dependable, secure, and cost-effective options.
How do you manage your relationships between ocean carriers, airlines and other third party operators?
As part of the FedEx portfolio, we have the strength and reach of the global FedEx network. We maintain strong relationships and space agreements with ocean carriers and airlines to move the majority of our volume. Our carrier alliances are the cornerstone of our network for both air and ocean operations.
What value added services do you provide for customers?
The FedEx Trade Networks suite of services includes: order management, customs brokerage, distribution, international trade advisory services, e-commerce capabilities and a robust portfolio of value-added solutions to connect customers with a personalized combination of air, ground and ocean logistics. These include services such as trade facilitation, duty drawback, customs clearance, export documentation, and much more.
“FedEx Trade Networks is uniquely positioned as a full service provider of logistics solutions to provide customers the ability to ship LCL to or from most places in the world.”
Most everyone knows of FedEx as a leading “Integrator,” but not everyone, especially in Asia, knows about FedEx Trade Networks. Who is FedEx Trade Networks and can you brief us on the history of the company? Also, what services do you provide globally and in Asia?
FedEx Trade Networks and its predecessor companies have more than 100 years of experience in international trade.
FedEx Trade Networks is in the unique position of having the flexibility, growth and agility of a younger, smaller business, coupled with the strength and authority of a giant multi-national company in its parent company, FedEx Corp. As part of FedEx, we have unmatched capabilities to provide customers with solutions for their entire supply chain. Our capabilities and strong portfolio of solutions, backed by our combination of offices and coverage, gives FedEx Trade Networks tremendous advantages.
We are continuing our momentum in the Asian marketplace in several ways. FedEx Trade Networks is making smart, strategic investments that enhance its service and value across the region. Our portfolio includes innovative services and industry-specific solutions, including aerospace, healthcare, automotive, e-commerce, high tech, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG)/retail, and industrial goods. We are providing customers of every size with easy access to Asian and world markets.
E-commerce is growing at an ever increasing rate; does FedEx Trade Network have solutions for e-commerce for global as well as domestic distribution? What systems are in place for first and last mile deliveries?
Global e-commerce is growing across a variety of regions and countries, with online buying behaviour currently representing over $1 trillion in sales per year. This shift is changing the role of the logistics provider. Supplying a reliable service, at a competitive cost, with good transit times and end-to-end visibility, continues to be important. However, smart service offerings, consisting of parcel, freight, priority and deferred freight, as well as ocean freight, have to meet the individual needs of the consumer.
With the re-launch of FedEx CrossBorder, we are poised to meet the demands of the quickly emerging e-commerce sector of international trade. FedEx CrossBorder connects retailers to shoppers and shoppers to goods, helping to eliminate the challenges of international purchasing.
How does FedEx Trade Networks differentiate its services from the competition?
We combine best practices in transportation and logistics with advanced reporting, tracking and analytic capabilities to put customers in command of global commerce. As a result, we empower our customers to make informed freight forwarding decisions that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their global supply chain.
We are not just another freight forwarder. We provide complete end-to-end supply chain management backed by the complete suite of FedEx services to ensure our clients optimize their ability to move goods around the world.
Less-than-container (LCL) continues to be a growing segment of our ocean business. Global companies are looking to purchase products from Asia, ship in smaller quantities, and use a slower, low-costed method. This can be executed through LCL shipping.
FedEx Trade Networks is uniquely positioned as a full service provider of logistics solutions to provide customers the ability to ship LCL to or from most places in the world. For example, from Asia, we provide LCL service from major ports into the United States and, depending on transit time requirements, we can move through a typical ocean economy service. However, should your transit needs require a faster LCL move, FedEx Trade Networks also can inject directly into other FedEx companies – such as FedEx Freight or FedEx Ground.
Within ASEAN, and especially in the Mekong Sub-Region, cross border trade between say, Thailand and Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, is increasing and forecast to grow even more with further AEC integration. What is FedEx Trade Networks’ involvement in this market?
FedEx Trade Networks is always looking to expand based on customer demand. We currently have offices or regional service providers in many of the ASEAN Economic Communities (AEC), including: Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam.
Thailand plays a critical role in our Mekong Sub-Region strategy due to its geographical location and its air freight capacity. Thailand’s geographical location lends itself as a hub for cross-border trade in the AEC. Thailand leads in import and export with neighbouring AECs, Cambodia and Laos because of its large air freight capacity.