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4 Giants of the Delivery Industry

Delivery van on the way to destination

The delivery industry has seen significant growth in the last decade, making room for new businesses in the food, grocery, and medical delivery fields. A few of the largest delivery companies still hold a majority of the market share, but their rise to the top and continued success offers a lot of insight into a successful delivery model. How have these companies been able to find this much success? And what can your business learn from their example? Here are 4 giants of the delivery industry.


FedEx is an American multinational delivery company that was established in 1971. FedEx is one of the major players in the shipping industry, servicing nearly every country in the world.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, though. To get to where it is today, FedEx had to overcome a variety of challenges. For example, in 1986 FedEx created a fax product called ZapMail. Unfortunately, this project was unsuccessful and was discontinued for a loss of $195 million.

In order to overcome this setback, FedEx had to double down on what they were best at. The company put an increased focus on making deliveries fast and reliable. As a result, FedEx was the first shipping service to offer widespread overnight delivery. Even huge companies like FedEx have setbacks, but what sets the best business apart is how they bounce back.

FedEx has never stopped trying to improve what it does. From the beginning, FedEx saw a need and filled it, and then it kept working hard to fill that need in a better way.

The delivery industry is fast-changing. In order to be successful, businesses must learn to adapt like FedEx has done and continues to do.


UPS is a multinational package delivery and supply chain management company. The company was founded in 1907, making it one of the oldest active delivery companies in the world.

The UPS name has become synonymous with shipping and delivery, particularly in the United States. Part of what helped UPS to become so successful is a memorable brand identity that projects reliability, strength, and security.

UPS has one of the best know brand logos in the world for good reason. Despite a variety of changes over the years, the company has maintained a consistent image from day one. Another noteworthy part of UPS’s branding is their ubiquitous brown truck. Although the color isn’t flashy or pretty, it’s certainly recognizable. It also goes along well with UPS’s brand identity of strength and stability.

The example of UPS teaches delivery businesses about the importance of branding. Never underestimate the power of a good brand. Investing some time and money into getting your branding right is well worth the effort.


DHL is a German logistics company providing courier, package delivery, and express mail service. The company group delivers over 1.6 billion parcels per year.

In 2009, DHL made the calculated decision to step away from domestic pickup and delivery service in the United States. This decision was made in an effort to shift into areas where they could better differentiate their business. Instead, DHL Express would have the single focus of being the world’s leading international express shipping company. International express delivery offered higher revenue per shipment and required more customized skills.

This is an important lesson for all businesses to learn from: sometimes you have to be willing to change focus. You may have made your name within a certain industry segment, but it’s okay to change focus to another area if you’ve determined that it’s more profitable.


Amazon is an American technology company founded in July 1994. As of 2021, the company surpassed Walmart as the world's largest retailer outside of China. While Amazon isn't specifically a delivery company, their focus on providing an excellent customer experience through easy and fast deliveries earns them a spot on this list.

Amazon had humble beginnings. It started out as a small online bookseller and grew into an international giant. The company saw a market need and was ready to expand outside the scope of its original business model.

From the very beginning, Amazon prioritized its delivery experience. Even though Amazon only added last-mile delivery in 2018, Amazon has always offered multiple order, delivery, and return options, along with a user-friendly web interface. Whether you’re buying or returning a product, the experience is effortless, so much so that customers always seem to come back for more.

In order to prioritize delivery, Amazon was willing to take risks that other companies were unwilling to take, even in the face of short-term profit loss. This is evidenced by the mentality of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who said, “We can't be in survival mode. We have to be in growth mode.”

Although it’s true that not all delivery companies are in a position to have such an uncompromising growth strategy, every business can learn from Amazon’s commitment to an excellent customer experience.

Learn from the best

There is a lot to learn from these delivery giants, no matter the size of your business. Each one of these companies has a different business model and different strengths. Although there is no one path to success, being adaptable, customer-centric, and reliable is an incredible predictor of growth.

Are you looking for more tips on improving your knowledge of the delivery industry? Check out our checklist: Finding Success in the Delivery Industry: A 5-point Checklist.


FEDEX is the trademark of Federal Express Corporation. Federal Express Corporation is not associated with OnTime 360. UPS is the trademark of United Parcel Service of America, Inc. United Parcel Service of America, Inc. is not associated with OnTime 360. DHL is the trademark of Deutsche Post AG. Deutsche Post AG is not associated with OnTime 360. Amazon is the trademark of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Amazon Technologies, Inc is not associated with OnTime 360.

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