Glocalization: A New Word for a New Reality
Key in the word “glocalization,” and your computer may warn you that you’ve misspelled something. Say “glocalization” out loud, and you’ll see confusion from colleagues who are certain you meant to say “globalization.” “Glocalization” may be a little known term right now, but awareness of it is growing.
Just as it looks, “glocalization” is a combination of the words “globalization” and “localization.” Globalization describes the integration of local markets into the world forum, a trend we have seen flourish in the last few decades. Breakthroughs in transportation and communication have lead to globalization by dramatically increasing system speed.
This system speed and sophistication, along with the rising middle class in emerging countries, have encouraged the increased focus on local markets, and the coining of the term “glocalization” —a product or service that is developed and distributed globally, but tailored to better serve customers based on local market requirements.
Many FedEx efforts in local markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America, including service initiatives focusing on system solutions and small and medium businesses, local acquisitions and network adjustments, have a mindset of global context with local solutions. In August 2012, FedEx Express upgraded the capacity of its direct flight to Memphis from Mexico’s Bajio region by 50 percent, and its flight frequency to five flights per week, based on the area’s growing demand for logistics service. It’s just one example of how the company tailored its service to better meet the needs of a specific area. Going “glocal” can be a key business strategy for any industry that wants to specifically target global customers with a more personal product or service, and ultimately grow revenue.
FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith once said, “The evidence is clear: to fuel a local economy, connect to the world. Global growth equals local success.” He is right, and with that mindset developed the modern day hub-and-spoke network for the air cargo industry, a system in which packages are collected at various pick-up points and rerouted to meet their final destinations. Similar systems are deployed across different industries in both physical goods and information flows.
The modernization of transportation and logistics by FedEx has been key in opening up small businesses and economies to the global marketplace by offering time-definite global shipping solutions to move their products to more places faster, and by linking them to more than 90 percent of the world’s GDP. Advancements in trade have also been increasingly important in elevating global supply chain, and growing “glocalization” as not only a new term, but also a new way of thinking about business strategy.