May 21, 2020 | 3 min read


Digital Industry Pulse Check #15

Momenta Partners’ Pulse Check series highlights recent and notable Digital Industry developments. Our monthly Pulse Checks are designed to help keep you abreast of the evolving trends and news within the global Digital Industry landscape. As enterprises increasingly embrace and rely on digital, we want to help you keep pace with the innovations and occurrences propelling entire industries into the future.

FedEx and Microsoft announced a multiyear collaboration that will combine FedEx’s global logistics network and Microsoft’s intelligent cloud through a joint offering fueled by Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365. The first product offered by the partnership will be FedEx Surround, which will leverage near-real-time shipment tracking analytics to provide businesses greater supply chain insight. Businesses will be able to track the location of inventory down to the ZIP code. FedEx Surround will collect data from IoT connected devices to be analyzed with Microsoft’s AI, machine learning, and other tools. The application of advanced AI, IoT data, logistics tracking, global cloud computing and FedEx’s logistics network represents a significant effort to compete against Amazon’s vertically integrated transportation, logistics and warehousing, AWS cloud computing and analytics capabilities. 


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) announced it will build a 5nm fab in Arizona with support from that state and the U.S. federal government. Construction of the fab is scheduled to begin in 2021 with production targeted for 2024, according to TSMC. TSMC plans to spend approximately $12 billion on the project from 2021 to 2029. The investment is significant for several reasons: the investment in US manufacturing has been a key tenet of the current administration policy;  investing in domestic fabs provides greater supply chain security for US tech companies, and could help bring additional manufacturing capacity onshore; lastly the move provides a measure of leverage against China in trade negotiations for both the Taiwan-based firm and for the U.S. 


An industrial survey released this week by Thomas, a product sourcing and supplier vendor, found a strong preference toward on-shoring of manufacturing. 64% of the 1,000 North American manufacturers surveyed indicated likelihood to re-shore production and sourcing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, representing a 10% increase from the March survey.    Additionally, nearly a quarter of respondents are considering industrial automation, which another 20% having already installed automation systems. Unsurprisingly, the uncertainty around the pandemic makes it more difficult for producers to predict demand, with 41% reporting either a decrease in demand or inability to predict future demand. Despite the short-term impact respondent are bullish on future prospects for U.S. manufacturing, citing the pandemic as a key catalyst driving production back onshore.


A recent study by roboticists at Texas A&M University and the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue examined over 120 press and social media reports from China, the U.S. and 19 other countries about how robots are being used during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that ground and aerial robots are playing a notable role in almost every aspect of managing the crisis.


orange_line_1-759860-editedUnlock the Power of Digital -  Momenta Partners encompasses leading Strategic Advisory, Talent, and Ventures practices for Digital Industry.  Learn more about our three practices.