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Not all change is exciting, right? More so, after the year 2020 has turned out to be so far. But for Kawal Preet, President, FedEx, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), almost everything that is exciting involves change. She shares what this means as she takes on a new role in the AMEA region, while the company is preparing for a "shared future", at what she calls, "an extraordinary time."
Not all change is exciting, right? After the year we’ve had so far, I think there’s no denying that. But for me, almost everything that is exciting involves change. Change into adulthood or parenthood; change of career; change of country. Even the most exciting things in nature are forever changing: stars, planets, seasons, landscapes. And the latest change, for me, means stepping into a new role of great responsibility at FedEx at - yes, an extraordinary time.
To begin with, it’s unique to take up a position that didn’t actually exist before - of the creation of a mega-region, AMEA: Asia Pacific plus the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, and Africa.
Today, AMEA is home to powerhouses of manufacturing, trade, innovation and explosive growth. These regions are firmly among the most vibrant and dynamic of our international business.
How exciting is that? But geography means more than borders and land. It means people, communities; a rich tapestry of artisan businesses and lively entrepreneurs; buzzing start-ups and growing franchises. It also means preserving traditions: teaching trade and learning skills; revitalising infrastructure and nurturing young minds. In short, a shared future.
I’m grateful to be responsible for shepherding FedEx AMEA into a new era and helping to connect small businesses - from Bangkok to Bahrain, Christchurch to Cape Town - to even more possibilities and a shared future. The advantages of managing these diverse regions together will be immediate for both our own operations and the service we can offer our customers.
It means we’ll be extra nimble in responding to global trade shifts. For our customers, we’ll be able to make cross-border trade far more seamless and map future opportunities better.
And still, there’s another monumental change that has taken place recently which involves partnerships.
Partnerships for FedEx are nothing new. We’ve always allied ourselves with other companies and brands - from the post office to eBay to 7-Eleven - to innovate, increase capabilities, or fill gaps in the market.
But the partnership we announced with Microsoft is truly the first of its kind. An entirely digital collaboration, each network will endlessly enrich the other. It’ll change the way we use data and transform our ability to derive the insights that matter most.
And just look at where we are and where we’ve come from. We’re already seeing how businesses are starting to view and manage their supply chains differently, as a direct result of experience they’ve gathered from the COVID pandemic. For instance, we are already seeing greater consideration for ‘just in case’ inventory management rather than ‘just in time’ stock delivery. No business wishes to be caught out again.
These shifts in how organisations plan for and ensure business continuity bring greater complexity to supply chain management –something that can be supported through better data processing and analytics as well as time-saving software solutions.
As someone who has always valued innovation and transformation, our new partnership with Microsoft is really exciting - it is about re-imagining FedEx at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds.
There’s been endless discussion lately on the new normal. Global events have left no aspect of society and business untouched, and the ‘new normal’ or ‘next normal’ have become - well, the norm, for all of us. And at FedEx, as you can see, the same is true. Whether through geographical realignment or innovative partnerships, we’re aligning ourselves to the new normal with an eye on the future.
And that, to me, is about as exciting as it gets.
Photo / 123RF
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