Don’t Underestimate UPS

One of the many things I enjoy and appreciate about reading is the thrill of constant discovery. If you’re reading the right material, it’s quite obvious that the more you read, the more you learn.

For instance, like so many others, I spent years seeing those busy bee UPS drivers dressed in their dull brown uniforms driving their oversized, unattractive brown trucks all over the country delivering packages. Little did I know that, behind the scenes and unbeknownst to most of us, Big Brown was changing the world by focusing on logistics of all things.

Forbes Magazine says: “UPS used to be a trucking company with technology. Now it’s a technology company with trucks!” This, of course, is an excellent example of the needed change we’re hearing so much about in today’s media.

In his best selling book The World Is Flat, author Thomas. L. Friedman shares a few perfect examples of what UPS is doing in its new role of flattening the world.

For quite some time, the Toshiba Corporation suffered from a major image problem as a result of simply taking far too long to repair the broken laptops. Today, if you happen to own a Toshiba laptop computer that is under warranty and you have a problem with it, you’ll be happy to know that all you have to do is call Toshiba to have it repaired. That much hasn’t changed. However, from that point on there’s a world of difference in procedure. They will tell you to drop it off at a UPS store and have it shipped to Toshiba. However, here’s what they don’t tell you:

UPS will pick up your computer and deliver it to its hub in Louisville, Kentucky. That hasn’t changed either. However, once it arrives at the hub, it’s no longer shipped on to Toshiba for repair. UPS employees, trained and certified by Toshiba, will repair computers and printers right there at the airport in their own workshop. If you could visit that hub repair facility, you’d find UPS employees dressed in blue smocks, in a special clean room, replacing motherboards in broken Toshiba laptops.

UPS analyzed the time factor and then suggested to Toshiba that it simply cut out the many middle steps that were causing the disturbing delays. Those steps of course consisted of shipping the computers from Louisville to the Toshiba repair facility, repairing it at that location, and then shipping it back to Louisville before being returned to the customer. In certifying Big Brown technicians, it is now possible to send your Toshiba laptop in one day, get it repaired the next, and have it back the third day! As a result, Toshiba’s customer complaints have been reduced dramatically!

While you’re digesting that example of “thinking out-of-the-box,” don’t make the mistake of thinking that its creativity stops there. Due to increasing gas prices and time challenges, many people have chosen to avoid the local mall when shopping for tennis shoes. Now you can simply go online and order a pair of Nikes from its web site. That order is then routed to a UPS-owned warehouse near the Kentucky hub and a UPS employee picks, inspects, packs, and delivers your shoes for Nike.

The same procedure holds true if you happen to order your underwear from UPS employees, trained by the good folks from Jockey, will actually fill the order, bag it, label it, and deliver it to you from another large warehouse in Louisville!

So the next time you’re comfortably sitting in your living room decked out in your underwear and tennis shoes working on your laptop, gives thanks to your very creative friends at Big Brown!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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