For FedEx, innovation and technology have been key elements in building the company's fast-growing operations in Latin America and the Caribbean into a service network that finks regional customers large and small to business opportunities in the global marketplace.
"I've been in Latin America for over 20 years and I've seen us go from a company that introduced time-sensitive parcel service to one that has become a pillar for economic growth in the region," said Juan N. Cento, the Miami-based regional president for FedEx Express in Latin America and the Caribbean.
"We have evolved into a solution-specific company to meet growing customer needs," added Cento, who joined FedEx in 1989 when the company took over the Flying Tigers Line and added a large international network to its system. "Not only have we built a physical and technological infrastructure in the region, but now we have become a company that can build 'me' a solution," meeting and anticipating a wide range of services needed by new and existing businesses and providing each client with the specific services they require.
FedEx began operating in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1989 and today has about 17,000 employees in the region serving 50 countries and territories. It offers express, air and ocean freight, with options for standard or expedited delivery, as well as logistics and trade consulting. The company has an air fleet of 40 planes in the region and some 1,900 trucks. In terms of technology, FedEx uses one of the world's largest computer and telecommunications networks for real-time package tracking of each shipment. Aside from the hand-held computers used by FedEx employees, Cento said the company introduced mobile tracking access to customers in Latin America about two years ago, so clients can follow their shipments from anywhere on their mobile devices, and in their local language.
Cento pointed to other innovations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Beyond time-sensitive parcel service, FedEx developed the Global Trade Manager program, an online tool that permits small- and mid-sized businesses in the region to reach unfamiliar and complex foreign markets.
"I'm a small company in Argentina that makes pens. I know how to ship my pens from...