Strategic Planning at Ups


First, as an outstanding aspect of strategy and scenario planning, the continuous review of the process has to be men-tioned. The process of scenario and strategic planning is improved over the years and shows a learning curve within the UPS organization, e. g. the perspective of company outsiders is considered for the horizon to 2017. Besides this virtue, the use of dramatic presentations to visualize the scenarios can be evaluated as good. The establishment of a common basis and vocabulary for discussions through scenarios are further success factors.

Moreover, the two-step process of the Centennial Plan and the Strategy Roadmap draw the link between a broad vision and execution by using quantitative measures. Top-level support from the CEO ensured success of the strategic planning initiative. Finally, the appointment of a Chief Implementation Officer (McDevitt) resulted in success of strategic planning at UPS. In general many tenured managers as well as their young successors were involved to the planning process and contributed to the success by bringing in their experience. In addition to the favors there also exist drawbacks.

The first possible improvement regards the presentation used in the plan-ning process of 1997. Dramatic presentations might bias participants of the meetings to one scenario, e. g. “brave new world” gets too much focus. As a consequence, the ability to think about other strategies gets limited. Another questionable point is the high influence of the CEO on the planning process because improvement of results is more likely in a decentralized planning structure. The last point to be mentioned here is the lack of commitment to the purpose of scenario planning throughout the organization.

The purpose and use of it should be explained to all participants across the hierarchy. (b) The UPS purpose answers the question why UPS should exist precisely. Additionally, the mission statement provides context for all decisions. Furthermore it is not a subject of time and is useful for all internal and external audiences. But the mission statement is not concisely written. The expressiveness can be improved by using less but more precise sentences. The values are inspirational beliefs of the entire organization. The benefit of UPS’ values is the broad set and holistic ap-proach of customers’, employees’ and organizational values.

But it could be stated, that the values are kind of generic. Like Jack Welch would put it: “A good set of values are so real they smack you in the face with their concreteness. ” The strategy formulation represents a well defined set of concrete and detailed actions that show how UPS wants to win its business. But: the formulation could contain a bit more focus. (c) The Centennial Plan’s major purpose was to give the company a broad, overarching direction. It should work as a vision where UPS should be at its 100th anniversary, in the year 2007.

Moreover, the Strategy Road Map aims to transform the goals of the Centennial Plan in executable tasks. Thus, its purpose is to be a guide containing detailed measures and tasks for im-plementing the strategic goals of the Centennial Plan. (d) The excellent supervision of the implementation of the Strategy Roadmap by McDevitt is one of the project’s success fac-tors. His outstanding skills qualify him for this position: he keeps the big picture in mind, overcomes resistances in realizing projects, aligns implementation on a global level and possesses the drive to takeover directly responsibility in emergency sit-uations.

For the next planning process, he should remain in his role. One the one hand, within UPS are definitely more capable managers who could do the global transportations job, but only McDevitt has experiences in implementing high level strategic scenarios. One the other hand, he was involved in the development of the process and ministered the project for a long period of time. In order to ensure a smooth turnover without any disruptions and to keep the initial spirit alive, it seems to be recommendable to keep McDevitt in this position in the medium term and concurrently develop a capable follower for his current position.