Will Your Business be Disrupted by a Frenemy?

Will Shipping Giants UPS and FedEx be Disrupted by their Biggest Client?  What Can Leaders Learn from This?

UPS and FedEx have benefited from Amazon’s explosive growth over the years, but those companies may now consider the company a ‘frenemy.’ Amazon’s growing shipping operation is profiled in a new Bloomberg article with a title that has probably put into words their darkest fears “Will Amazon Kill FedEx?”

Amazon officially launched Prime Air in August, introducing its own branded cargo planes to augment its transport trucks, as well as its program ‘Flex’ which effectively turns average drivers with their own vehicles into a last-mile delivery service.

The company has been vocal about its effortsDisrupted to deliver with drones, and it’s reportedly pursuing driverless vehicles. Surely, it is also contemplating delivery by robot.  In short, delivery giants UPS and FedEx face the real possibility of being disrupted by a well-funded partner.

Amazon has a history of disrupting industries (just ask Borders, Macy’s and book publishers to name a few), but in this case the company seems to be taking a page out of Google’s playbook.

In 2010, Google shipped a mobile device called the Nexus One. Manufactured by HTC, the device was a pretty good phone for its time, especially for a first attempt at hardware, but what was shocking was that Google had decided to compete directly against its hardware partners.

Fast forward a few years and we now see how thin the line between partners and competitors has become— and how tempting it can be to cross. When a partner unexpectedly becomes a competitor and threatens to disrupt your business, what are your options?
Be prepared.
You can’t predict if or when a business partner might become a competitor, but you can plan accordingly to minimize the possible damage.

Embrace the situation.
Treat the situation as an opportunity to become better instead of a death knoll for the company. Disrupted does not equal doom.

Don’t become too dependent on a partner.
Easier said than done, but if your partner becomes your frenemy, it’ll be easier to make the transition if you’re not completely reliant on that partner.


Don’t let fear disrupt your next great decision.  Reach out to us today.

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