United Parcel Service Inc.’s partnerships with local companies in Turkey have been integral to its success in fast-growing markets of more than 70 million people, according to a UPS representative involved in operations there.

Mike Harrell, Atlanta-based UPS’s country manager in Turkey, provided insights on doing business internationally for Georgia State University students during a session of their June study-abroad program in Istanbul.

The students were studying journalism in an international context on the trip, the culmination of a program organized by the university’s Center for International Business Education & Research (CIBER).

At the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Turkey offers a unique opportunity for companies with strategies for expansion in quickly growing economies.

As an established company that is knowledgeable about entering new markets, UPS made thorough consideration before starting operations in Turkey, Mr. Harrell said.

Now, with more than 2,900 employees, a delivery fleet of more than 1,200 trucks, vans and tractors, and 28 operating facilities in Turkey, UPS is well positioned for growth there.

UPS is largely focused on “business to business” delivery in Turkey, which ranks prominently in the company’s investment strategy outside the U.S. Flexibility in adapting to the challenges of an overseas enterprise has given UPS a competitive edge in the country, Mr. Harrell said. He added that partnering with local firms provided invaluable insights about how to navigate the Turkish business culture. 

Mr. Harrell continued to say that UPS remains committed to its own high standards as well as laws and rules that govern it as a U.S. company.

These standards are now seen as a competitive advantage, and many customers are asking about corporate governance and compliance programs when considering the use of UPS services.

Mr. Harrell said that UPS’s policy has always been to conduct business in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and in accordance with the highest ethical standards. The company expects that its employees and the people acting on its behalf will adhere to these principles in a global context, he added.

Turkey has been a key area for hiring new employees, Mr. Harrell mentioned. Turkey serves UPS as a vital recruitment source for overseas assignments, since Turkish executives are generally willing to work outside of the country and adjust well in European and Asian countries. Their versatility has been important for UPS’s marketing focus overseas.

Mr. Harrell has worked as a UPS executive in Belgium, Spain, Kuwait, and Dubai, among other countries. Turkey, however, has been his favorite posting so far. In order to have a good business experience as an American working overseas, he said “one must localize … really try to learn the language and eat the food … which is easy here in Turkey since it’s so good.”

For UPS’s Turkey page: http://www.ups.com/content/tr/en/contact/

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...