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Kurt Kuehn, Senior VP-worldwide sales and marketing, United Parcel Service

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As senior VP-worldwide sales and marketing at United Parcel Service of America, Kurt Kuehn leads product development, customer relationship management, e-commerce, and sales and marketing at the global shipping company.

Under his direction, this year UPS expanded its product portfolio and continued to develop new technologies to improve customer relations.

"One of our priorities this year was to continue to enhance and differentiate our products in the U.S.," Kuehn said.

In March, UPS announced the most significant upgrade ever to its U.S. ground package delivery network, increasing the speed of delivery services in 11 major metropolitan areas.

The upgrade was announced with national and local ad campaigns including TV, print, radio and online. In addition, customers can view improved transit times at UPS.com and print out transit maps.

Another big priority for Kuehn this year was to continue to use technology to improve customer processes. For example, UPS last month announced several technological improvements to give customers a single view into the progress of their shipments.

One of the significant new technologies is Flex Global View, a single Web page on which UPS customers can track air, ocean and ground freight in addition to small package shipments.

"Supply chain management and distribution has become so critical for our customers," Kuehn said. "This is one of our customers' biggest needs."

The system lets freight customers track the status of their orders and receive alerts if there have been any changes or delays.

UPS also rolled out Quantum View Manage, a supply chain management tool, to 32 countries around the world. The software was introduced in the U.S. in 2004.

"One of the most exciting things to me is taking systems that we initiated in the U.S. and extending those across the globe," Kuehn said.

He also helped drive the development of new technologies for salespeople and customers. "The best-laid marketing plan is worthless if salespeople can't communicate it," he said.

For its salespeople, UPS is developing integrated systems that let reps create easily customizable materials, as well as link more tightly with marketing data. For its customers, UPS is exploring mobile applications and using more one-to-one communications.

"Our real goal with technology is to invest very deeply, not in proprietary systems but in creating an open platform so mobile applications can easily link into our systems, or connect a phone system in, or connect with accounts receivable," he said. —K.M.

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