High Tech

How to thrive in today's 'intelligent economy'


Global opportunities are there for the taking – and your supply chain holds the key.

First came the personal computer, an early '80s box of wires and noisy parts – heavy like a bag of spuds, crude on the eye and slow as an ox. Fast-forward 10-plus years and a sharper, slimmer version became a household necessity, thanks to an exciting  technology: the Internet.

To master today's economy, embrace flexibility and exert control, particularly in your supply chain.

Of course, innovation didn't stop there. Today's integration of complex technologies has coined a term among analysts, the "intelligent economy," referring to a quality-driven – and volatile – marketplace shaped by fast-paced change and high consumer expectation. To master it, you must embrace flexibility and exert control, particularly in your supply chain.

UPS's Alantria Harris, a marketing manager in the high-tech industry sector, explains why.

Q: What is the intelligent economy?  

A: It acknowledges the web of communication technologies that have emerged over the past 10 years. We now have a wider playing field that has paved the way for global opportunities. Examples of technological capabilities that drive the intelligent economy are mobility and cloud computing, which make communication and the movement of goods and services faster and more personalized.

Q: What trends are emerging in the intelligent economy?  

A: Middle classes are growing in emerging markets such as India and Brazil. Another technology-driven trend is a more personalized consumer experience. We've therefore seen more companies use customer service as a competitive advantage and differentiator.

Q: What opportunities are available for small businesses in the intelligent economy?  

A: Greater opportunities for growth now exist in emerging markets with this growing middle class. Many small businesses are also cost effectively sourcing and importing materials to create goods. In fact, nearly three-fourths of small businesses we surveyed for a 2012 study, Change in the Chain, said they had room to grow when it came to importing and exporting.

Q: How does this affect the supply chain?  

A: Having control of your supply chain provides the kind of flexibility you need to respond to opportunities such as consumers' desire to receive goods quicker regardless of where they are in the world. The emphasis has now shifted to visibility and speed, as these critically decide your capability to respond to market and supply-side opportunities – and to the level of customer service you provide.

Q: How can UPS help a business become a more intelligent company?  

A: UPS helps companies do three things: lower transportation costs, increase revenue and enhance the customer service experience. With a broad portfolio of transport options, you can find the most cost-effective UPS solution to meet time-and-size needs, be it a small package or a truckload of heavy machinery. Technology-wise, products such as Quantum View Manage® efficiently provide supply chain visibility – and allow you to keep your customers fully informed. When it comes to increasing revenue, UPS has access to 220 countries, so companies can optimize opportunities across the globe.

Learn more about UPS's international shipping solutions and technology.


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