By Johnell Woody
Call me a sap, but I LOVE a good story with a happy ending! As many parcels as I have shipped via UPS, and as many jokes as I have cracked about delivery drivers brown shorts, I never knew the story behind the company. It is a tale of American success. No, America is the only place such story occur, but I would be willing to bet the good ole US of A leads the rest of world in “local boys make it big” tales.
Do you know the history of UPS? I didn’t; not until meeting Carsten Helsen and James Daniel in UPS EMEA headquarters just outside of Brussels. EMEA, one of three is a service regions, is comprised of Europe, parts of the former soviet bloc, Mid East, and Africa, and encompasses a lot more languages and cultures than the EU. But back to the then and now:
2 teenage boys 397,000 employees
$100 borrowed start-up money $54.1 million revenue 2012 ($807 M net)
Seattle basement 2900 facilities totaling 3.1 million sq. meteres
a few bicycles 100,000+ vehicles plus 230 cargo planes
a couple of streets every address in No.America & Europe
Philosophy: Best Service Philosophy: Best Service
From a humble beginning to a world leader in delivering goods and services, UPS focused on delivering “best service.” Part of that best service philosophy is being “glocal” – going global while acting local. By partnering with local firms, hiring, training, and promoting locals, UPS has managed notable success in markets where other equally well know American brands have failed. UPS developed a proactive public relations plan by country with local objectives and capabilities, fully acknowledging that although “one size” does not fit all, there is no need to completely reinvent the wheel in each market. Face-to-face communications, especially in Europe, are most effective, and that regardless of the market the message must be consistent, although delivering in the local vernacular.
Realizing that service is everything, two Seattle, Washington teenagers started a small business that grew into a global enterprise by also realizing that differences in language, culture, and tradition matter, Cinderella bridged a social gap, while Cinder-fella in brown shorts is building bridges between people and organizations around the globe.
The best part of the visit for me was hearing the German EMEA public relations director say Americans are the luckiest people in the world. American vision and persistence, where Europeans tend to be more cautious, is part of our successes.