UPS CEO Scott Davis didn't talk directly about a lot of UPS tech initiatives during the company's fourth-quarter conference call, though there's very little that UPS does that isn't directly powered by information technology--what UPS calls data-driven operations. Davis did note that by improving productivity, UPS was able, in its holiday-season crush of the fourth quarter, to offset the cost of its recent wage increase.
But what's most interesting for tech pros to hear is just how much and how quickly ecommerce is growing: UPS estimates it rose 15% just this holiday season. It explains why so many CEOs are focused these days on sharpening their digital operations, as they see their customers getting very used to doing business digitally. Davis predicted it'll open up new product opportunities, like UPS's MyChoice Web service that lets people specify delivery options, which drew about 750,000 customers in its first three months. And Davis predicted this is just getting started:
"I think you'll also see these trends internationally; it's not going to be unique to the United States. I think the whole global B2C phenomenon is still in the early innings and we'll see that grow going forward. But the key is that UPS is adapting the operations to be profitable in this business."
Listen to the CEOs of UPS, TJX, and Walmart, and there's a clear trend that ecommerce is moving into a new phase of importance for business, and there's opportunity for IT leaders to help their companies sort that out.