I've often thought—what is FedEx's secret weapon? I think I know. It's the EMPLOYEES. What a great group of dedicated and proud individuals. I observe your friendly faces and purposeful strides everywhere I go. FedEx is truly one of the best “people companies” in the world.
—U.S. Senator David Pryor, in How Time Flies, a publication celebrating FedEx's 25th anniversary, 1998
Don Hardy, a colleague I have worked with closely for many years, had just returned from his assignment of heading FedEx Australia operations for two years. While there, he saw firsthand how FedEx's employees worldwide were fully engaged in the company's mission of doing absolutely, positively whatever it took to serve its customers. During Hardy's stay in Australia, one of his senior managers in Sydney, Kim Garner, met with a customer who sold duty-free goods to tourists. As part of this business, for an additional charge he would pack and ship the merchandise so his customers would not have to carry their purchases. His goal was to have the packages waiting for his customers when they returned home. FedEx was able to help him accomplish that feat Monday through Saturday, but he needed Sunday pickups—a service FedEx did not offer at the time—to achieve 100 percent customer satisfaction (see Figure 5.1).
In response to this customer request, Kim met with his staff to see if they could come up with a solution to this problem. The team brainstormed for a while until ...