Month: April 2007

links for 2007-04-30

Just the facts: “A Budding Network” by Frederick W. Smith

Dispensing with all commentary:

“A Budding Network” by Frederick W. Smith in Forbes 2007-05-07 (registration required)

  • FedEx spends ~1.5 billion /year on IT
  • Employs 7000 people in IT
  • FedEx Handles 3000 transactions every second
  • FedEx Receives 1000 package status inquiries every second
  • Orders are distributed to 70,000 handheld devices
  • FedEx handles 6 million shipments globally
  • FedEx has 275,000 team members
  • FedEx has 677 aircraft
  • FedEx has more than 70,000 trucks
  • The FedEx world hub in Memphis handles 400 flights / day
  • The FedEx World Hub handles 1.5 million packages / day
  • 15,000 FedEx employees can sort up to 500,000 packages / hour
  • A package sent from Miami to Phoenix will be scanned up to 2414 times

Fred Smith knew it in 1978

According to Fred Smith, in Forbes 2007-05-07 (registration required), in 1978 only 5 years after starting FedEx he said “Information about the package is as important as the package itself.” So here is an exercise fill in the blanks.

Information about ________ is as important as the __________ itself.

For example:

Information about the motor is as important as the motor itself.
Information about the customer is as important as the customer themselves.

This is a critical understanding, corporations need to consider deeply the value of their information assets. Listening to the master data discussions at Sapphire, many companies have a long way to go before they fully realize Fred Smith’s statement in 1978.

The Sapphire wave of Master Data

I spent a great deal of time attending Master Data Management sessions. Many people I spoke with observed that Master Data Management was a popular topic. Companies have come to embrace the value of high quality data. The level of complexity varies by domain, Material being the most complex and vendor being the least complex, customer and employee somewhere between the two. One of the speakers thought that material master data might be 10x more complex compared to vendor. In simple terms data is still an under valued asset. As more companies work to implement service oriented architectures and build more complex composite applications, the value of the high quality data will become even more evident.

Some critical success factors from the sessions I attended:

  • Executive sponsorship is required
  • The business must drive the master data effort
  • Take a focused approach (aka don’t boil the ocean)
  • Treat data quality like product quality, with the same rigor