Chapter 9 Transition

Taken Off, but Not Yet Landed

By the end of the 70s, DHL had arrived, precariously, as a company able to survive the turbulent start-up years, and had confronted, if not overcome, most of the barriers which could be conceived when creating something novel and new. The one thing absent was effective competition. Sure, there were competitors; some attempted to emulate DHL’s rapid global reach and failed, or were acquired by bigger competitors who emerged more effectively in the 80s. And there were the U.S. giants, FedEx and UPS, each larger by far than all of DHL put together, but domestically focused. They would emerge as forces to be reckoned with in the following decade.

The first existential threat to DHL came from a competitor ...

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