UPS maintains a think thank, the Operations Research Division, in Timonium, Maryland, which works on supply-chain algorithms. This “school” of mathematics is called “package flow technology,” and it is designed to constantly match the deployment of UPS trucks, ships, airplanes, and sorting capabilities with that day’s flow of packages around the world. “Now we can make changes in our network in hours to adjust to changes in volume,” says UPS CEO Eskew. “How I optimize the total supply chain is the key to the math,” The sixty-person UPS team in Timonium is made up largely of people with engineering and math degrees, including several Ph.D.’s. UPS also employs its own meteorologists and strategic threat analysts to track which atmospheric or geopolitical thunderstorms it will have to work around on any given day. To further grease its supply chains, UPS is the largest private user of wireless technology in the world, as its drivers alone make over one million phone calls in a day in the process of picking up and delivering packages through its eighty-eight thousand package cars, vans, tractors, and motorcycles. On any given day, according to UPS, 2 percent of the world’s GDP can be found in UPS delivery trucks or package cars. Oh, and did I mention that UPS also has a financing arm-UPS Capital- that will put up the money for the transformation of your supply chain, particularly if you are a small business and don’t have the capital?

— UPS sophistication  

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