Fun fact: The number of route combinations a UPS driver can make in a day is far greater than the number of nanoseconds the Earth has existed.
UPS has 100,000+ (brown) vehicles, 2,800 worldwide facilities in 220 counties – and continues to grow along with globalization, drone technology and e-commerce. The company is a thriving leader in package delivery, especially when it comes to the New Jersey metropolitan market, thanks to access to ports, business hubs and the massive East Coast population.
Attendees at NAIOP’s I.CON: Trends and Forecasts conference had an exclusive opportunity to tour Edison Center, one of the company’s largest and most active sorting centers, located since the mid-1970s on land that was once a World War I arsenal. The facility runs about 18 hours a day, six days per week, starting in the early morning with daily truck washes and fuel fill-ups for every vehicle. (About those ubiquitous brown vehicles: “package carriers” are the traditional brown trucks, and “feeders” are the tractor trailer-style trucks.)
In 2015, the facility processed 12.5 million packages with 5 million delivery stops throughout the year, handled by 402 drivers. About 1,500 international packages funnel through the facility each day, with 7,000 more for overnight domestic delivery that require a flight. UPS is among the top 10 largest airlines in the world, and most planes go through the Louisville, Kentucky, hub on their way to their destination.
Drivers keep in close contact with the facility through the DIAD – a handheld computer that has their delivery schedule, package information and contact information for pickups. The DIAD is updated in real time, as pickups are scheduled or deliveries are re-routed. UPS’s On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation system (ORION) launched in 2013 and will be integrated into all of UPS’s 55,000 North American routes by 2017.
ORION uses online map data to optimize the driver’s route, saving the company 1.5 million gallons of fuel and 14,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 alone. A reduction of one mile per day per driver ultimately saves up to $50 million annually.
Kathryn Hamilton is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.