UPS at 100: Where Do We Go from Here? Transforming into a One-to-One Business

UPS: Transforming Package Delivery into a One-to-One Business summarizes the CEO’s vision for meeting customer empowerment with transformation.

UPS: Transforming Package Delivery into a One-to-One Business: Michael L. EskewMichael L. Eskew, Chairman and CEO of UPS, outlined the package delivery giant’s vision for transforming itself into a “one-to-one” business at the Executives’ Club of Chicago’s Enterprise CEO Lunch, 15 February 2007. Before a packed house at the Chicago Hilton, he demonstrated UPS’s creative “whiteboard” marketing campaign and explained its role in communicating to customers the value of the company’s transformation.

The importance of UPS’s vision extends beyond UPS stakeholders because it reflects a shift in emphasis away from industrial efficiency to knowledge-based innovation. Make no mistake, efficiency is mission-critical to every business, but fewer companies can differentiate based on efficiency. To its considerable credit, UPS sees the shift and is striving to empower customers with information as well as delivery services.

A History of Transformation

Mr. Eskew set the context by emphasizing that UPS has a history of transforming itself to meet technology and market challenges:

Founder Jim Casey began the company as bicycle messenger service in 1907, but emerging technology, […]

Transformation: from Self-contained Company to Networked Global Organization

Indust_Kg_orgWhat does the Knowledge Economy Portend for the Industrial Economy organization?

Today, most of the world’s global commercial and governmental organizations increasingly find themselves confronted by the Knowledge Economy’s new success factors, which are often contrary to the Industrial Economy’s. Compounding the challenge, past competitors have had similar structures and limitations to incumbents’, which gave everyone more time to adapt to change; however, new Knowledge Economy competitors often do not have the same structures and limitations. Technology and globalization are changing the rules of engagement.

These developments leave industrial companies in an awkward situation. Now, they need to excel at collaborative innovation—historically a weak point—to capture and hold customers’ attention. In the Knowledge Economy, innovation will replace efficiency as the primary driver of value creation. Competitors that can engage rapidly shifting customer desires will dominate.

To succeed, incumbents must quickly become more adaptive and collaborative with external partners and customers. Moreover, they must transform themselves while they continue to operate at increasing levels of performance.

Industrial Economy Success Factors Knowledge Economy Success Factors Deliver vast quantity and low prices to relatively few broad […]

Discovery and Innovation in the Global Knowledge Economy

The emerging knowledge economy will reconfigure the role of discovery in innovation in some surprising ways. First, a couple corollaries:

For most of the history of mankind, information has been scarce, and an important way that people innovated was through discovery. In agrarian and industrial economies, it was extremely important to discover new ways to transform raw materials in order to create new products. Since people lived in relative isolation compared to today, there was significant duplication of discovery efforts in pockets around the world. The pervasive TCP/IP network (i.e. Internet), combined with accelerating adoption of modern architectural approaches (i.e. service-oriented architecture) and messaging (Web services and XML) is unlocking the world’s data/information as a dizzying pace. It’s a cliché that we have too much information, and this trend shows no sign of abating. Moreover, software tools for automating the management of information are improving all the time. Of course, this development gives people an unprecedented ability to collaborate—on everything.

In the knowledge economy, discovery gets leveraged, pervasively and instantaneously. Discovery will remain extremely important to creating value, but I’m going to argue that it will play a cameo role in the hyper-innovation knowledge economy: crucial but supporting.

Anyone attending […]