Read the Conversation

EF: 2020 was the year of diagnosis, 2021 the year of vaccines, what do you think 2022 will be the year of?

JT: We realized through direct experience that logistics is both essential and relevant. Logistics was previously important but invisible, and everybody assumed that it was taken care of by us. Yet when we experienced the interruption of the supply chain, which impacted logistics and trade, we started to see that logistics was an important factor, considering we were not only expecting shortages in consumer products but in more crucial items such as personal protective equipment, food, medicine, and vaccines. We also learned that logistics contributes to the competitiveness of any economy, not excluding Mexico. 67% of Mexico’s GDP relies on international trade.

The logistics system plays a significant role in Mexico’s international trade, not only with the US, the country that receives around 82% of our exports but also further afield. The challenge of transporting products by water, rail, ground transportation and air remains largely the same, but the backlog of products is increasing. This challenges us to prioritize those products in a way where we can satisfy not only the factories of the countries or the economy but also the human beings that are expecting to continue to lease.

EF: What was the role of FedEx during the pandemic?

JT: Due to our role in transporting crucial products, we were enlisted as an essential activity and given the opportunity to continue with our operations. The pandemic in Mexico called for the categorization of activities that were either essential or not, with about 93% of the economic activities being classified as non-essential. We were part of the 7% of privileged sectors confirmed as essential and permitted to continue. Almost 9,000 people worked diligently, enthusiastically, and punctually every single day during the last two years, including weekends on personal terms. We have a true commitment to the community that we serve.

Our people were heroes, they delivered important products to families in need. We were able to also transport more than 600 mechanical ventilators from the US into Mexico across 12 flights. Those mechanical ventilators were the first ones to arrive in Mexico and were immediately distributed to hospitals. We transported a little bit more than 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, on seven flights, and transported around 1500 tons of personal protective equipment, such as sanitiser, face masks etc. This was done without financial motivation, but rather to support our mission of serving others. There was an exponential increase of articles, chairs, desks, computers, and lighting elements for remote working.

EF: What is the relative importance of your portfolio to the healthcare sector operations in Mexico?

JT: Along with automotive high tech, the healthcare component is vital, as proven over the past two years. We have pharmaceutical companies located all over Mexico, and we have strong operations in place to support them in those regions.

EF: How do you see collaborations in Mexico happening?

JT: Collaboration is essential, it can be directly compared to logistics. Without collaboration, things do not get done. FedEx express covers 100% of Mexican zip codes, that is 35,000 zip codes across 32 states. Coverage, reliability, and speed are crucial factors when connecting companies and products across the country in their entirety. Regarding healthcare, it is not only the development of a cure or treatment but also the connectivity and infrastructure that is of great importance to successfully have it delivered to the patient on time.

EF: What are the challenges that you see in Mexico in terms of delivering health?

JT: This is the most important challenge and I love it because it's a reasoner aim to be. Ecommerce can connect human needs around the world, regardless of location. There are potential consumers or customers of products either pharma and healthcare included as people in the world with access to the internet and credit with a computer or intelligent smartphone. The challenge we have in logistics is closing that gap of connecting the 32 states, the 35,000 zip codes that we have in Mexico with speed and velocity and precision. So, we are migrating as an operational scheme from a centralized distribution centre to a regionalized distribution centre. So, whenever the customer calls or gets into the internet and acquires that, we have a fleet of around 3,000 vehicles, including motorcycles close by and deliver that within hours or minutes.

EF: Did you introduce new KPIs before and after the pandemic?

JT: Absolutely. In logistics, we have hundreds of KPIs. We are inherently dependent on efficiency and productivity; therefore, everything is measured. Transit times are measured in days, and commitment time is measured in hours. For us, precision is more important than speed.

EF: How did you manage 9,000 people in a moment where there was absolute uncertainty and you had to keep them engaged?

JT: There were three important factors, people, service, and profit. If you take care of your people, they will be focused on tending to the customer, meeting their expectations and those of the customer, which generates profit. During the pandemic, I would not have felt comfortable, isolated at home, having 9,000 people out on the streets delivering packages. I was not supposed to travel but I did and was able to meet 5000 employees, checking on their wellbeing. That's the management style that we have at FedEx, standing shoulder to shoulder with our staff. This is not about me, but rather about the work of 300 FedEx managers. Being there with the people every single day, regardless of time and day.

EF: As a leader at FedEx, which HR skillsets should new generations observe?

JT: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Acceleration of the digital era is happening very quickly, which may leave the older generation struggling to keep up. The understanding of STEM, abilities skills focus on the digitalization of the economical process that we have is crucial now, and in the future.

EF: After 10 years heading FedEx, how would you like to celebrate? What does your toast look like?

JT: This year will be my 31st year with FedEx, and we are closing the 32nd fiscal year. I want to start the 33rd year with my team of 9,000 people with great enthusiasm. Celebrating our achievements and motivating them so we can continue to make history together.

EF: How would you like to be remembered in five years?

JT: I like to work with people. I like to talk to them and be in their minds, in their hearts and their souls. When I think about my team of 9,000 people, I think about 9,000 families. We all have a shared responsibility of working, doing the best we can to the best of our abilities to ensure the wellbeing of families. We not only want to provide them with a job, but a vision of development career, and growth opportunities. They are the ones who have the privilege and opportunity to serve others. That's the type of mindset that I have with them. I have offered them a school of thought, "It depends on me. It's my turn." When we do that collectively, then we become a great organization. FedEx Express in Mexico has been recognized as a great place to work for 19 consecutive years. For me, it is an honour to receive this award, as all our 9,000 employees are surveyed yearly.

The privilege of the opportunity that history gives us, prepares us not to confront the future but to define the future. We have the capacity to adapt to a new reality and still be successful, delivering what is expected of us. All of what we have learned the hard way is preparing us for the future, not to confront it, but to build and define the future for us.

May 2022