Innovation is Not Just a Buzzword

It’s hard to pick up the business section of any newspaper or a logistics trade journal and not see the word “innovation” used in some way. Ask the CEO of any company “what does it take to be successful” and you can be assured that some form of the word “innovation” will be used in the response. In our world where the written word is the primary tool for communication, it is important for words to have a defined meaning. Unfortunately, the word innovation has been used so often to describe so many different things – we feel it’s lost its meaning.


In the early days of forming Kenco Innovation Labs, our group spent a lot of time discussing the meaning of innovation and most of what we learned falls into three categories.

  • First, "innovation" is an incredibly overused word.
  • Second, the definition of "innovation" can legitimately mean different things to different industries. For example, a new idea that is revolutionary to Kenco may not necessarily be all that revolutionary for Apple.
  • Third, we needed to come up with our own definition for "innovation." After much discussion, we agreed on the following: “Innovation is the implementation of ideas in order to create business value”. This definition is great for Kenco because it covers big ideas (drones, 3D printing) as well as small ideas (simple changes to a picking process).

The Kenco Difference

For decades Kenco has been a leader in many aspects of logistics and warehousing. For example, we pioneered the idea of contract warehousing. We developed one of the first Warehouse Management Systems. We were also instrumental in early forklift attachment designs. But we’ve never celebrated our accomplishments or used them to distinguish ourselves from the competition.
Over the years we’ve learned that change is critical to our success and we always need to be soliciting ideas from our employees, our customers, and actively be on the lookout for new solutions from vendors doing work in the logistics space. In other words, if we don’t innovate, our competition will quickly catch up. When is the last time you’ve seen a Blockbuster video store? When is the last time you’ve seen a product from Eastman Kodak? Or when is the last time you’ve been in a Borders bookstore? You haven’t – because they’re all gone. These billion-dollar household brands no longer exist because they didn’t innovate. We refuse to let that happen at Kenco.