Lateral thinking is so often the main reason that leads to the creation of disruptor industries. ‘Disruptor’ companies are companies that cause radical changes to an existing industry or market by means of innovation.
Merchant ships are expensive items. They cost a great deal to build, a great deal to run, and a great deal to park in harbours. Having the ship waiting around in harbour while customs officials clear the cargo documentation adds greatly to the cost of operating a shipping line – a fact that caught the attention of three friends – Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillbloom and Robert Lynn.
In 1969, a few months after man landed on the moon, the three friends together with a simple yet innovative idea that spawned a new industry and started a remarkable growth story.
Their idea was simple yet ingenious: Delivering shipping documents by air overnight so that they arrived at customs offices well BEFORE the freight, which enabled the goods to pass through customs faster. At first sight, the cost of sending a courier door to door with documents sounded prohibitively expensive, especially when compared with the postal service, which would deliver documents for less than one-hundredth of the price that the new company charged. However, the service being supplied far outweighed the cost, and the 100% reliability of the service led to the creation of a completely new industry.
This seemingly small step turned into a giant leap – a revolutionary new overnight service that both simplified customers’ lives and gave them a competitive edge. The company DHL was born, and with it the whole international air express industry.