UPS does not count seismology among its core competencies. But when that Icelandic volcano blew in the spring of 2010, the logistics and package delivery company’s European hub, which sorts up to 110,000 packages an hour, was able to navigate the disruption.
For years, UPS had fretted about how its European operations would function if a terrorist attack were to shut down or cripple its hub in Germany; its top teams had run detailed planning exercises. So when Eyjafjallajökull began spewing ash, UPS was able to handle the problem.
UPS exemplifies the farsighted companies that are emphasizing strategic agility. These agile exemplars excel along three strategic dimensions, acting on them simultaneously.