TED@UPS: What Happens When Pigs Fly?

Since these new consumer expectations are not going away, something’s got to give.


“That will happen when pigs fly!”

How many times have you heard that in your life? I heard it when I was a kid and tried to build a hovercraft from my Mom’s vacuum cleaner. I still hear it today from time to time. It’s what practical people say to dreamers. They’re often right…but not always.

What happens when pigs fly? When rules change, making what once seemed impossible, possible.

I’ve been in the supply chain industry for 23 years and have spent a lot of time thinking about the rules that govern the making and movement of stuff.

Think about how all this information right at our fingertips has changed our purchasing habits over the last 20 years.

Greater access to information has changed consumer expectations forever. Today we want what we want, when we want it and at a price we can afford. Getting as close to this ideal as possible is the new competitive advantage for business.

The “I want what I want on-demand society” is bumping up against old school manufacturing and transportation.

How do you get exactly what you want when traditional manufacturing methods are based on producing a lot of the same generic thing? How do you get your specific order on-demand when the economics of transportation are built around consolidating many orders?

Since these new consumer expectations are not going away, something’s got to give. Rules are changing. Pigs are starting to fly. Watch my TED@UPS talk to find out how we can adjust in a changing world. goldbrown2

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Alan Amling is Vice President of Corporate Strategy at UPS. He previously oversaw marketing efforts for UPS's global logistics and distribution services.

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