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FedEx tracks your packages more closely than ever before



Are you obsessed with tracking your parcels online? You’re not alone. A typical parcel’s barcode is scanned 10 to 20 times on the way to your door. Shipping companies often upload the detailed information to their websites because people want them to. Plus, it doesn’t cost anything to publish the data, says Satish Jindel, a former FedEx executive whose current company ShipMatrix analyzes parcel shipping data. “People like the idea of ​​knowing that their package has been shipped and delivered,” he says.

But in some industries, like healthcare, obsessive pursuit matters. The world’s largest logistics companies are developing new products to quench the obsession.

In May, UPS began offering a service that uses a mix of Bluetooth, cellular, and Wi-Fi technology to track and collect data on sensitive packages, such as medicines, as they moved across the network. This week FedEx released its own version ̵

1; a tiny Bluetooth-enabled sensor that’s roughly the size and weight of a tic tac box containing a few tic tacs. For the time being, the sensor helps customers to send sensitive parcels quickly in order to track their journeys. FedEx says it will deploy hundreds of thousands of sensors for its five largest customers in the aerospace, retail and healthcare sectors this fall.

FedEx’s new tracking sensors, attached to boxes here, are smaller and cheaper than their predecessors.

Photo: Fedex

In healthcare, having the right product in the right place at the right time can be a matter of life or death. An expensive drug that arrives late or is overheated in a hospital may be useless. A growing number of elderly people who regularly need access to medicines and medical devices means an increased demand for health-friendly logistics. Companies are more likely to spend money tracking down drugs and medical devices because it’s so expensive to lose, says Jindel.

The Covid-19 pandemic – and the starry hopes for an upcoming vaccine – have also placed the main focus on getting sensitive packaging where it is needed. Earlier this month, German delivery company Deutsche Post warned that distributing a vaccine from manufacturers to medics using syringes could be a serious challenge, especially in Africa, South America and Asia. Things that may complicate things: The vaccine may need to be stored in extremely cold temperatures as low as -112 degrees Fahrenheit as it is shipped around the world.

That makes it a good time to be a logistics fanatic. “The world we live in, especially during the pandemic, has a great need and interest in ensuring that your shipment is handled correctly and gets to where it is needed at exactly the right time,” says Rob Carter. FedEx Chief Information Officer.


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