Indy's Blog

March 11, 2015   Posted by: Indy

Solving Problems or Making Opportunities? (Thoughts on the New UPS Ad Campaign)

Talking Logistics_04

Courtesy of Adrian Gonzalez –

Almost five years ago, UPS introduced the general public to logistics when it launched its “We [Heart] Logistics” ad campaign, which helped raise public awareness about the logistics industry — and helped my family and friends better understand what I do for a living.

This past Sunday, UPS launched a new ad campaign with the slogan “United Problem Solvers,” which according to the press release, “communicates the company’s unique capabilities to solve problems for all customers, ranging from small businesses to the largest global enterprises.”

UPS wants people and businesses to think differently about the company and what it can offer, beyond “just thinking of our capabilities of making shipments from point A to point B,” said Maureen Healy, vice president of customer communications. It’s a goal shared by most third-party logistics providers (3PLs): getting customers to think of them from a broader, more strategic perspective.

But it’s an ongoing challenge, as this comment by Alda Abbracciamento, worldwide managing director at advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather, who worked with UPS on the campaign, underscores:

“It’s very hard to break through to have people think differently about UPS, because they think they know what they need to know about UPS. While very well-known, we’ve got to provide additional meaning to that.”

I would argue that the challenge starts internally: getting a 3PL and its employees to think differently about their business, a challenge I wrote about last March in 3PLs, What Business Are You In?

What I like most about this new UPS ad campaign is that the company took a step back and asked itself that very question — What business are we in? — and came up with several new answers, which it communicates in this video:

  • We’re in the “Pushing what’s possible” business
  • We’re in the “How do we get this startup off the ground?” business
  • We’re in the “Taking your business global” business
  • We’re in the problem-solving business

When you ask the “What business are we in?” question and think it through, you’ll likely find new answers, which open doors to new opportunities and value propositions. As I wrote last March:

Yes, 3PLs provide customers with “multiple logistics services” like transportation management and warehousing, but they are also in the business of providing (among other things)…

Software applications, trading partner connectivity, and data quality management services that provide customers with timely, accurate, and complete visibility to supply chain events, information, and intelligence.

Thought leadership and advice — “Tell me something I don’t already know” — so that customers can make smarter and faster decisions about their supply chain networks, strategy, and practices.

Risk management capabilities to help customers minimize or eliminate supply chain risks, and more importantly, to help them recover from supply chain disruptions faster and with less impact.

And when it comes to shippers, they have to stop putting 3PLs in a box. In the past, you had a box for freight forwarder, a box for broker, a box for warehouse operator, and so on. Over the years, service providers have busted out of those boxes — via mergers and acquisitions, new business models, and new product development — to pursue new growth opportunities, and to provide manufacturers and retailers with more complete, “end-to-end” supply chain solutions. So, put aside your existing biases and assumptions, stop putting 3PLs in a box, and focus on the question that matters the most when defining your supply chain strategies and initiatives: What are our desired outcomes?

I do have a problem (pun intended) with the new ad campaign: it suggests that problem solving is the sole focus of supply chain and logistics. It echoes the perception that supply chain and logistics is just about cost reduction and management. But we all know that supply chain and logistics is also about opportunity making, and about driving top-line growth, capturing market share, and improving customer satisfaction. UPS even says so at the end of the video — “[We’re] ready to help you solve problems while they’re still called opportunities.”

I hope UPS promotes the opportunities part of the message too, and I have just the song for them to consider: Opportunities by the Pet Shop Boys, and my favorite lyrics from the song:

Oh, there’s a lot of opportunities
if you know when to take them
You know there’s a lot of opportunities
if there aren’t, you can make them
(Make or break them)

So, go ahead UPS and other 3PLs, solve problems, but make opportunities too.

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February 1, 2015   Posted by: Indy

Dubai Claims Title Of World’s Busiest International Airport


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The city with the world’s tallest building can now boast that it’s home to the world’s busiest airport for international passengers too.

Dubai’s airport operator released figures Tuesday showing that 70.5 million passengers streamed through the sparkling halls of Dubai International last year. That’s a 6 percent increase over the 66.4 million that the Gulf city’s main airport handled in 2013.

The rapid growth puts Dubai squarely ahead of London Heathrow for the first time on a full-year basis as the world’s busiest international air hub. Heathrow reported handled 68.1 million international passengers in 2014.

Dubai pulled off the big gains despite having to redirect flights to the city’s second airport, Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central, while it overhauled the airport’s two side-by-side runways over the summer.

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths predicts Dubai International will handle a record 79 million passengers this year as it offers “more flights connecting more people to more destinations.”

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remains the planet’s busiest passenger airport overall.

But Dubai International is expanding fast, fueled by the growth of hometown airline Emirates and smaller budget carrier FlyDubai. They benefit from Dubai’s position between major population centers in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Both airlines and the airports are owned by the emirate’s government, which has championed aviation as a central driver of the city’s economy.

Once a sleepy fishing village, Dubai has boomed in recent decades and is now the Middle East’s skyscraper-studded, cosmopolitan commercial hub. It is also home to the region’s biggest sea port and the 2,717 foot-tall (828 meter) Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

The airport has been climbing the international aviation traffic rankings for years as it added capacity to accommodate the growing numbers of big wide-body planes like the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 that Emirates favors.

A new 20-gate concourse purpose-built to handle the double-decker A380 opened in 2013. Yet another new concourse is under construction as part of a wider $7.8 billion expansion plan.

Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at

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December 4, 2014   Posted by: Indy

Entrepreneur Looks To Build The Amazon Of The Arab World

When Ronaldo Mouchawar was working in a Boston engineering firm he dreamed of moving back to the Arab world. Born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, he had come to the U.S. to study, then got a high-paying job, but he believed he “owed something” to his home region.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, a native of Syria, is the founder of, which is now considered the leading e-commerce site in the region. He says his company, which is based in Dubai, reflects a quiet transformation that is taking places in parts of the Arab world.

It turned out his ticket back was a smart idea at the right time. He founded in 2006 and settled in Dubai, the financial capital of the United Arab Emirates. Now he’s the CEO of what’s considered the most successful e-commerce site in the region. He recently raised $150 million in capital to expand. The 44-year-old entrepreneur says commerce is part of his DNA.

“I studied engineering, my dad was a really strong trader merchant, so the combo was a no-brainer for me.”

Setting up a business in many Arab countries is difficult, which made business-friendly Dubai an obvious base. Internet penetration had reached 20 percent in the UAE by the time he moved there. His e-business took off a few years later when the regional cell phone revolution connected millions more to the net.

“Suddenly, you go from 30 million users to 130 million users” in the Arab world, he says in his glass-walled office in Dubai. This meant potential customers in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. “The Arab world massively embraced mobile technology. There is 70 percent penetration in the Gulf. That was prime territory for us.”

A Quiet Transformation

In a region where war, political turmoil and oil prices dominate the headlines, technology quietly is transforming the Middle East, says Mouchawar. He recognized the potential early and is riding the wave. Now, Internet start-up companies in Dubai attract millions of dollars from venture capitalists who come from Silicon Valley and from the Middle East.

“For those of us who sit in the middle of it, we already feel it,” says Fadi Ghandour, the founder of Aramex, a logistics company based in Amman, Jordan. He moved his operation to Dubia and spends most days listening to start-up pitches. He’s now a full-time investor in a movement he believes will reshape the region.

“You can feel the crescendo,” he says. “People will start to feel that energy that you saw in Tahrir Square, in Egypt,” he says, referring to an Arab democracy movement that started in 2011. “This is the energy of the start-up community across the region.”

Technology is embraced by the young generation in a region where 60% of the population is under 35. “Youth empowerment, this was a driver for us,” says Mouchawar.

Jobs for this generation are scare. Youth unemployment is in double digits in all Arab states. Tech jobs can change the statistics by leveling the playing field for educated tech specialists in a part of the world where family connections are often the key to a decent job.

Extract courtesy of NPR / Morning Edition – full Story at NPR / Morning Edition Here




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November 25, 2014   Posted by: Indy

There is always next year !

Having been soundly trounced by division rivals Green Bay Packers in both of this season’s games, Stewart Brown and Chicago Bears fans at Independent fulfil one of this year’s terms of the annual wager with a Wisconsin based furniture client by wearing the ‘Cheesehead’ hat unique to Packers Fans.

Independent Staff Lose this year’s Bears/Packers challenge !

The only two comments from the Bears fans on this year’s result – the hat is certainly unique and there is always next year (or maybe the year after, or even the one after that …)

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