FedEx (FDX -1.52%) and Microsoft (MSFT 1.94%) announced an exciting multiyear collaboration which is set help businesses become more efficient. and deal with one of the most pressing issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic -- how to manage their supply chains.

The first product of the collaboration will be FedEx Surround. In a nutshell, FedEx Surround will marry data from the transportation company's extensive logistical network with Microsoft's Azure cloud and data analytics solutions.

Trucks outside a distribution warehouse.

FedEx Surround will help companies manage their supply chains. Image source: Getty Images.

As such, a business will be able to "enhance visibility into its supply chain by leveraging data to provide near-real-time analytics into shipment tracking, which will drive more precise logistics and inventory management." according to the press release

It's a good move from FedEx, adding to the buy thesis for the company.

FedEx Surround 

FedEx Surround will enable businesses to react more effectively to supply chain difficulties.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a host of companies struggling to deal with supply chain issues, first from suppliers in China, and then around the world as the pandemic spread.

Improving supply chain efficiency is also a big deal for businesses that are increasingly relying on time-sensitive deliveries.All told, the world is moving toward ever more time-sensitive deliveries, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the necessity of reacting to supply chain disruptions. As such, the FedEx/Microsoft partnership, starting with FedEx Surround, comes at exactly the right time.