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Get to know UPS' new female managing director

Find out her three goals to grow UPS.

UPS strengthens its Asia Pacific management team with the appointment of Michelle Ho as Managing Director of UPS Singapore. The 23-year UPS veteran will assume responsibility for UPS’s express delivery and logistics operations in Singapore.

Singapore Business Review caught up with Ho to talk about how she plans to take the firm into the next level.

Here's the full transcript of the interview:

SBR: What makes you excited about your new position?

In my 23-year career in UPS, I have been exposed to various roles within Finance, but I am excited to be given the opportunity to venture out and take on this new role as the Managing Director of UPS Singapore. This role will challenge me in new ways as I will be overseeing every function in UPS Singapore which goes beyond finance and encompasses operations, marketing, and business development amongst others.

Intrinsically, this role appeals to me because of the prospect of being able to execute strategies that can help local businesses connect to the global supply chain. It is a period of transformation for local businesses and in this year’s Budget, the Singapore government has given a strong call to SMEs to improve their productivity and venture overseas. I feel strongly for this cause, and working together with the team at UPS Singapore, I hope to be able to help local businesses through this period of transformation, and offer solutions and expertise that will help them navigate the international trade arena.

SBR: What three goals are you focused on?

One of my goals is to grow UPS Singapore by helping local businesses expand overseas. Though we are facing an uncertain economic climate, there is still growth opportunity in the intra-Asia trading scene. According to a World Trade Organization report, intra-Asia trade accounts for more than half of Asia’s trade, and we want to help local businesses benefit from that. At UPS, we create value by helping businesses overcome that initial hurdle or inertia by matching our solutions to their needs. For instance, we can help companies identify which are the best markets to venture into. And for a company with a small manpower pool, they can benefit from our Worldship tool which enables our customers to print labels, upload customs documentation and run reports all under a single windows-based shipping software. This enables our customers to get all the work done for their shipping needs, with minimal resources.

Building the capabilities of local businesses is also one of our priorities. We hope to continue partnering with groups in the private and public sectors to organize capacity building workshops to help equip SMEs with the right resources (for example, understanding and leveraging free trade agreements like TPP; segment expertise) and tools to actively participate in global trade.

Internally, we will continuously review and enhance our operational efficiency so that we would be able to better serve our customers. We recently implemented telematics technology to our delivery fleet in Singapore which works in conjunction with the Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD) to gather data for analysis to improve safety, service and performance throughout UPS’s service network.

SBR:What are your key business philosophies?

One of UPS’s characteristics that attracted me to the company is their strong business ethics. The high standard UPS uphold in their business conduct have earned the company a good reputation where they are highly regarded in every community they operate in. UPS constantly strives for excellence and that has challenged me to consistently deliver the best results for our customers and for the company.

Moreover, I have always had a strong sense of belonging because UPS emphasizes the importance of their people. And that has become one of my business philosophies. For me, our most valuable resource is loyal and capable people, and no technology or tool can replace that. I believe in nurturing talents and giving them the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability. When you have strong people as the foundation of your business, there is no obstacle that you cannot overcome as a team.

SBR: What previous positions prepared you for this one and how?

I became the Controller of UPS China in 2005 – a period where China was fast-growing and UPS was in the process of transitioning our operations in China to a wholly-owned operation. Despite the ongoing changes, I was given the autonomy to spearhead changes and establish a strong finance infrastructure in China. This was a pivotal experience which prepared me for my new role as it gave me a solid background on running the business and understanding what it takes to operate in a new market.

Later on when I moved to a regional role, I had an overview of the business in Asia Pacific on a more strategic level. The regional role broadens my perspective and provides in depth insights into the different markets in Asia. So with an understanding of the business mechanics at the regional and country levels, I am better able to analyze what is best for UPS Singapore and lead the company to achieve greater success.

SBR: Anything else you'd like to add?

Today, we face an uncertain economic situation but one thing is certain – to emerge as winners, companies will have to adapt and innovate. Over my 23-year career at UPS I have seen the company innovate in various ways, and that is the key to the longevity of a business. I have been part of several innovative projects in UPS which includes spearheading efforts to improve network efficiencies and pioneering UPS Asia Pacific’s shared services strategy that streamlines internal processes. While the process of innovating may be tough, I can vouch that the final result is definitely rewarding.

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