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FedEx Delivers: How the World's Leading Shipping Company Keeps Innovating and Outperforming the Competition 1st Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471715795
ISBN-10: 0471715794
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“…well written and surprisingly readable…essential reading on business courses.” (EN Magazine, September 2005)

"The book provides a blueprint for building and sustaining an innovation culture that engages every employee." (Supply Management, 8th September 2005)

From the Inside Flap

By now, every business leaders should know that innovation is the key to business success in the twenty-first century. You can't rest on your laurels, and you can't rely on what you did well yesterday to get you through tomorrow. But innovating isn't easy, and building a culture of constant innovation is even harder.

FedEx Delivers reveals the secrets of innovation from one of the world's most dominant, successful, and innovative companies. After spending more than two decades at FedEx-decades at FedEx-decades during which the company vaulted ahead of its competitors at an astounding rate-Madan Birla knows what it takes to innovate. Using his own long experience and first-hand accounts from top leaders at FedEx, Birla explains the leadership practices and support systems that put the company ahead of the pack.

FedEx Delivers not only reveals why constant innovation is essential to success, but also shows every business leader, including you, how to apply FedEx's renowned leadership practices to any organization. At its simplest, innovation depends on quality leadership. Without a leader who understands the importance of constant innovation and adaptation, an organization will lose momentum, and drift along with the status quo. Here, Birla explains the leadership development strategies that FedEx uses to produce the kind of leaders who know how to nurture creativity and find new and better ways to serve customers.

In simple, step-by-step fashion Birla offers an effective blueprint for building and sustaining an innovation culture that actively engages every employee-building creative thinking into the very heart of the business so that innovation becomes standard practice rather than lucky chance. Breaking innovation down to the three vital steps-the generation, acceptance and implementation of new ideas-Birla offers unique insight and invaluable advice on building an organization that can adapt to any challenge and meet any goal.

packed with true stories, real-world examples, cutting-edge practices, and expert advice on implementing new ideas and processes, FedEx Delivers is much more than a simple story of business success. A one-of-a-kind resource for any business leader in any business, FedEx Delivers shares effective, prescriptive practices that can lead any company to the forefront of its industry.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 215 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471715794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471715795
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Madan Birla is a speaker, consultant, and trainer to Fortune 500 companies. He also speaks in executive education programs at Kellogg Management Institute, Northwestern, Dartmouth, and others. In his 22 years at FedEx, he was Managing Director of System Form Engineering (Long-Range Planning) and Materials and Resource Planning before being named Managing Director and Preceptor in the company's Leadership Institute. At the FedEx Leadership Institute, he excelled "in the horseshoe," facilitating Innovation, Leadership and Life Balance courses for all levels of management throughout the world and acted as counselor to top management.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jijnasu Forever VINE VOICE on October 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In a very easy-to-read book, Birla uses his vast experience in FedEx to outline how the philosophy of FedEx evolved and thrives on innovation. The vantage point enjoyed by the author certainly reflects in this "big picture" viewpoint of one of the better known company's growth. Of particular interest is the notion of innovation ( spelt with an "i") dealing with process improvements and Innovation (spelt with an "I") dealing with business model changes. The author provides an interesting discussion on what constitutes innovation and how FedEx defined (or didnt define) it. The rest of the book explains how a 5-dimensional employee base can be created. This discussion is certainly novel and adds some interesting perspective for anyone involved in managing people and/or processes.

Though the book will certainly please any "managerial-type" reader, I was a bit disappointed to see that the author's vast engineering experience was essentially untapped in this book. There is no meaningful discussion on the operational side of "how " FedEx actually implemented innovation....In that sense, the title is a little misleading for an engineering-minded reader. Regardless, this is an excellent read, provides a different perspective on how innovation should be seen, and a broad paradigm that enables developing an employee-base committed to and thriving on innovation. A good read. (It may be interesting to read this book along with the autobiography of Kinko's founder - "Copy This!". FedEx's buying of Kinkos is discussed in this book and for even a casual observer the synergy between these two companies seems real.)
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on January 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Fred Smith and FedEx overcame incredible obstacles in the company's start-up, and cannot be congratulated enough for doing so. In addition, it went on to become the first service company to win the prestigious Baldrige Quality Award in 1990. However, Birla's "FedEx Delivers" does neither readers nor FedEx any service by its incomplete and simplistic coverage.

Birla's book emphasizes a quasi-Baldrige/human-relations perspective. However, my research showed that maintaining an important competitive advantage and low costs are far more important to organizational success. Birla does not address these aspects. (This conclusion is reinforced by several Baldrige Award winners subsequently encountering severe financial downturns after winning the award - even bankruptcy.)

The second major problem with the book is that it does not cover FedEx's series of acquisitions since successful startup. These include Viking Freight, Watkins LTL Express, Roadway Package Express, Flying Tigers, and Kinkos. Again, FedEx has done a great job of building these existing businesses, but Birla tells us none of it - important since so many acquisitions fail. Neither does he address the resulting incursion of substantive competitive disadvantages. (One obvious issue is substantial route and facility overlap between various divisions - this becomes increasingly untenable as fuel prices increase.)

Finally, my experience (FedEx Ground) is that FedEx has NOT tried to substantially change the human-relations environment in these companies - even though they may seriously contradict Birla's summary of the original Baldrige-winning FedEx.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark McGregor on January 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There is not a manager or executive throughout the world who would not benefit greatly from reading this book. In only 200 pages Madan captures the very essence of what is needed by any business in order to survive and thrive in today's economy.

Through the story of FedEx he both illustrates why companies need to engender a culture of innovation and, also sets out exactly what is needed to execute on that strategy. Any negativity on the part of a reader will have more to do with their own personal doubts or fear of failure, for the ideas are sound and well illustrated.

In the work I do I spend a lot of time reading management and success books, this is one of the best that I have read in a very long time. The linkage between Strategy, People, Process and Systems is as strong as I have ever seen.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Author Madan Birla spent 22 years with FedEx, watching its culture of innovation develop as it applied new ideas in the marketplace. Birla's fluid writing style and his first-hand observations and insights make this an exceptional corporate story. He knows the people who built FedEx at all levels, from delivery drivers to CEO Frederick Smith. Birla focuses his book on how FedEx became a leading innovator and reshaped the global airfreight business. While many corporations give lip service to innovation and employee development, Birla says FedEx delivers the real thing, and he provides rare specifics as he shows companies in other industries how they can replicate FedEx's successes. We recommend this book for executives at all levels in large and small businesses. If you absolutely, positively must learn to innovate, this book delivers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Abdullah Nergiz on February 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Madan Birla successfully described the innovation and the role of the employee at the company's performance by giving real life examples from the history of FedEx.
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