Industries

122 articles

A.I. Comes of Age

How artificial intelligence will revolutionize customer engagement.

Siri, what’s the weather like in New York this week? Alexa, play playlist, jazz classics, in the living room. Just a few years ago, you would have wondered what on earth I was talking about with these two statements. However, now you’re likely very familiar with this type of conversation. Artificial intelligence (AI) has in […]

Tips for Manufacturers in Mexico to Boost Industrial Purchases

Here are four ways for Mexican suppliers to keep their current customers while attracting new ones.

Mexico might not be the first country that comes to mind when one thinks about industrial buyers and global trade, but smart manufacturers realize e-commerce is creating plenty of opportunity in one of the world’s largest exporting countries. Roughly 95 percent of Mexican buyers have purchased products directly from manufacturers – up from 74 percent […]

5 Ways Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Thrive Today

The future of the physical store isn’t about purchases. It’s about events, experiences and brand associations.

Rarely a week goes by without news of a household high street name shutting up shop or closing stores. The rise of online shopping, or e-commerce, is widely blamed for the demise of traditional retail. Yet people are spending more money than ever – just not on the high street. In many ways, the offering […]

Brazil’s E-Commerce Market Is Booming

With some notable policy fixes, Latin America’s largest economy will drive business growth across the region. Here’s how your company can ride Brazil’s e-commerce wave.

From the outside, Brazil’s fast-growing e-commerce market looks like a huge opportunity for retailers. Simply put, Brazilians have embraced online shopping with their well-known zest and inimitability. Even as the country’s economy – the largest in Latin America and the second-largest in the hemisphere after the United States – has struggled to recover from its […]

Boosting E-Commerce in Asia

The growth of ASEAN is directly tied to the growth of trade in the region.

The growth of e-commerce has brought both opportunities and challenges to Southeast Asia. Though a powerful enabler for ASEAN’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who today can instantaneously reach new markets, e-commerce has also created new challenges. Left unaddressed, these threaten the long-term viability of cross-border e-commerce. Overcoming barriers in Asia  According to the Organization of […]

Turning a Passion for Wine into an Omni-Channel Business

Studying and tasting Italian wine was once just a hobby for Luigi Cattaneo, an information technology veteran of 25 years. But when Cattaneo realized that he could transform his passion for fine wine into a successful omni-channel business, he and his friends created the wine bar and e-commerce site Bibentes.

A few years ago, Luigi Cattaneo was frustrated with his career in IT. He had handled projects involving B2B and B2C, direct and indirect sales, brand and product management, and more. Over the years, he had worked with a diverse range of people at several companies. But, says Cattaneo, “The products were starting to feel […]

Brands Haven’t Kept Up with the Ways Customers Use Products

There’s a daily tug of war between long-term brand building and short-term sales goals – brands must be relevant, useful and entertaining.

Here’s a truth: Many in the marketing industry today don’t really understand brands. Today, when there’s more of everything – more channels, more choice, more speed, more confusion – it’s fair to ask: What is a brand? To answer this question, we have to think about what has changed during the last decade. The emergence of the […]

Running with the Big Dogs of E-Commerce

(Even if you're just a pup).

In a global digital economy, size doesn’t matter. The world’s electronic commerce system has transformed retailers into e-tailers, attracting and retaining consumers around the corner and around the globe. So, brands of various sizes and scope can now compete on the new global playing field, valued at $2.3 trillion and projected to almost double by […]

5 Trends Transforming the Industrial Space

Distributors need to learn and adapt to customer needs through technology, talent and innovation.

The industrial market’s rapid transformation, which I wrote about last year,  continues unabated. The sector is drawing increased attention as the old-fashioned supply chain reinvents itself for the new business landscape. Here’s what we’re talking about right now: Millennials: You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. Millions of Boomers will retire this year, leaving […]

Inside UPS’s Electric Vehicle Strategy

It's time to rethink the return on investment for cleaner technologies.

Passenger electric cars get all the press, especially when someone launches one into space. But something important is going on in the world of commercial vehicles as well. Last year Tesla announced it would produce an electric long-haul big rig. PepsiCo, Walmart and UPS promptly committed to buying a few hundred. More recently, UPS made an important […]

The Next Frontier: Selling Auto Parts Online

Smart dealerships see e-commerce as a friend – not a foe.

All dealerships – regardless of specialty or volume – would be wise to pay attention to this statistic: Twelve percent of online shoppers reported that they purchased automotive parts accessories in the last three months, according to the latest UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study. While that is a small percentage, it is growing […]

Printing Heads: 3D Printing Launches a New Era in Aircraft Design

New technology helps engineers speed up development and remove design constraints.

Just a decade ago, the idea of 3D printing metal parts directly from a computer file seemed like science fiction to many people. But the technology is quickly growing up. There are few better examples of its promise than the GE Catalyst, a new advanced turboprop engine GE Aviation started testing in December. More than one-third of […]

Whittling Away Cash Flow Woes

Capital shortfalls are a leading cause of business failure – and even profitable, rapidly growing companies are not immune.

Sourcing from overseas suppliers allows U.S. manufacturers to lower their production costs and grow their gross margins. But working capital challenges can overshadow those offshoring benefits for small and mid-sized industrial buyers. That’s something my company, Teknatool USA Inc., recently discovered when we experienced a prolonged period of rapid sales growth. We sell lathes, drill […]

Europeans Embrace Online Cross-Border Shopping

Trust, transparency and convenience are the stepping stones to e-commerce success.

The internet has reduced the world to a global village in the past few decades. Shopping has now become a global experience, enabling retailers to market and sell their products to customers anytime, anywhere.  At the same time, shoppers have equipped themselves with smartphones, 4G and various payment options like Apple Pay, PayPal and others. […]

The Way We Make Things Is About to Change

These 3 trends are driving the adoption of new printing presses.

Tooling – the process of designing and engineering the tools necessary to manufacture parts – was the essential technology behind the early industrial revolution. It allowed manufactured goods to go from humans to machines and powered the production of complex mechanical inventions like the steam engine. With new economies of scale driven by machines, raw materials […]

Focus on the Experience

How retailers can win over butterfly consumers.

For decades, the retail model worked: Open a store and consumers will come. Put a brand name or a logo on the item, and consumers will pay more. But then two seemingly unconnected events shook up the long-trusted model. First came the iPhone, a novel telephone with a touchscreen. This hit the market as the […]

IoT-Driven Manufacturing Trends to Look for in 2018

We are in as transformative a phase right now as when electricity was invented – people will wonder how we ever lived without IoT solutions.

With Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology spending expected to reach $772.5 billion this year – 15 percent higher than 2017 – the world’s top manufacturers are shifting into exhilarating overdrive down the path to AI-driven and IoT-enabled automation. So where will 2018 take us on this journey? First and foremost, the year ahead will see manufacturers rapidly connecting the […]

Returns: The Latest Battleground in Retail

Retail giants invest in solving the problem of returns.

The latest holiday shopping season posted strong results for retailers. According to MasterCard, sales between Nov. 1 and Christmas increased nearly 5 percent – the largest year-over-year gain since 2011. What’s more, e-commerce growth jumped 18 percent compared to the year before, with Cyber Weekend alone racking up a record-breaking $6.6 billion in sales, according […]

How Businesses Can Win At Leapfrog

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating new leapfrogging opportunities. But not all are created equal.

Rapidly emerging technologies — such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, wearables, robotics and additive manufacturing — are spurring the development of new production techniques and business models that will profoundly disrupt most manufacturing and global supply chains. For example, some low-cost manufacturing export economies may be at risk, as technology may soon make […]

5 Ways to Make Global E-Commerce Easier for Everyone

Small businesses face many hurdles to going global, but e-commerce brings us closer to an inclusive global economy.

‘Tis the season to shop online. Rather than braving the high street, why not open your browser? E-commerce sales worldwide hit an estimated $25.3 trillion in 2015 and have grown since. The internet makes buyers and sellers more visible and accessible to each other locally and globally. The international bit is really interesting. The opportunity […]

Our Top 5 Manufacturing Articles of 2017

A year-end look at the best manufacturing content from Longitudes.

In Part 2 of our five-part white paper series, Routes to the Future, we argued that the way we make the world around us – how we design, produce, deliver and reclaim the objects of everyday life – will follow new routes. We are trekking down many of these routes today but have just scratched the surface […]

Our Top 5 Retail Articles of 2017

A year-end look at the best retail content from Longitudes.

The companies that best adapt to the consumer-led revolution will win the future – period. That principle applies to retailers, logistics providers and any business looking to provide solutions to customers at the click of a button. As the retail landscape undergoes rapid transformation – and the line between physical and digital stores continues to blur – it’s […]

Our Top 5 Podcasts of 2017

A year-end look at the best podcasts from Longitudes.

We fully embraced the podcasting craze in 2017, launching Longitudes Radio in October. The mission? To bring more conversations about where the world is heading straight to you. In our inaugural season, we explored how UPS is building the Network of the Future, talked about the qualities of an effective public speaker and predicted what blockchain […]

Reimagining Business: How to Cater to the Customer of the Future

Customers want to be empowered. To do that, companies must move from producers to enablers.

Meet Dawn. She’s never been to the doctor’s office, but she visits her doctor every week. She’s constantly shopping, but she’s never waited in line. Her apartment recognizes her face. She doesn’t go into the office, she logs onto a platform. She doesn’t have a resume, she has ratings. She doesn’t have a boss, she […]

4 Factors Driving the ‘Age of the Consumer’

The origins of e-commerce lie in the distant past. Its future, however, is ripe for disruption.

Malcom McLean, a trucker from North Carolina, isn’t a household name – but you have certainly benefited from his innovation. Today’s global economy would not be possible without the intermodal shipping container, or the box, pioneered by McLean. This box helped standardize ocean shipping, shrunk the world of commerce and enabled global trade by reducing […]

Retail Revival: Can Stores Make a Comeback?

Physical retailers have distinct advantages that can spur business growth – as long as they evolve with their customers.

Though several major retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection this year and others have closed thousands of stores, all seemingly at the hands of online commerce, reports of the death of retail are greatly exaggerated. In fact, research shows that the industry is booming and that stores still matter. Recent data from the U.S. Census […]

Why Business in Asia is Changing

As the region continues to evolve, it's time to make way for a new generation of Asian entrepreneurs.

With the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam this week, it’s worth reflecting on just how much has changed since the first APEC meeting in 1989. The days of Asia’s “Tiger Economies” are fading into the rear-view mirror. While the rapid rise of Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea have largely […]

Cognitive Computing Redefines Vehicle Safety

The auto industry is transforming the driver and passenger experience.

My first car was a ’65 Chevy Impala, which I bought from my uncle. The engine was in bad shape so within the first week, I swapped it out with one I bought from the local junkyard. It was a pretty simple car – manual transmission, manual windows and locks, no air and an AM/FM […]

IoT in Manufacturing: Voices From the Field

How the Internet of Things is changing the way manufacturers work.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a transformative movement in technology, particularly in manufacturing. IoT in manufacturing applies the concept of connected devices to power smart manufacturing. To find out how IoT is affecting manufacturing organizations, we interviewed several industry leaders who see how IoT is changing their operations – and how they are preparing […]

How Cognitive Computing Is Reshaping Retail

The old retail playbook is no longer an option. Luckily, digital consumers are leaving clues for us to follow.

Cognitive computing is forever changing how we shop. How? Consider your social media activity. What did you post on Facebook this week? Twitter? Snapchat? You are sharing your one-of-a-kind digital footprint with the world through images, videos and chats that detail likes, dislikes, emotions and opinions. Retailers know they can “distinguish themselves by providing value […]