Listen: The Monumental Push Behind Getting That Package Delivered By Christmas
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And Paris, David Schaper has an inside look long before you click by and type in that shipping address, many retailers and -ticipant did your order, and in some cases that item you just bought is already sitting in a nearby warehouse or fulfillment center and could be delivered in a couple of hours. But most gifts are coming from a lot further away. Getting it delivered in time. Time to be under the tree Christmas morning is complicated. Once the order goes through the item goes by truck and maybe by plane to to a shipping hub like this. The massive new UPS super hub in Atlanta. We are about the size of nineteen football fields one point two million square feet. That's right nineteen football fields. But UPS spokeswoman Kim crabs says it's not just size that makes us hub super. It's the latest in operations technology. Powered by a lot of big data. Rub says the heavily automated facility could process one hundred thousand packages, and our that's about seventeen hundred packages a minute zipping through the facilities, eighteen miles of conveyor belts, if you can have handing down, and you look actual belts themselves. You'll see that. There's different sizes and also different speeds. Smart labels on packages are scams. So they can be moved to the right place to be reloaded onto Trump UPS estimates. It will deliver eight hundred million packages between thanksgiving Christmas and company officials. Say this new super hub and billions in other facility upgrades, and technological improvements should help prevent a repeat of problems UPS had last year when some three million packages a day were delivered late even with increased automation package. Delivery is still very labor intensive UPS hired one hundred thousand extra workers to handle the holiday crush at FedEx hired fifty five thousand seasonal words, as it doubles, its usual fourteen million package today volumes. It's still a couple of hours before dawn workers here at this FedEx distribution center near downtown. Chicago rolling giant metal containers off of semi trailers to be unloaded by workers who scan the packages and then place them onto one of two conveyor belts. It's a ton of it. It's constantly moving. That's Michael Murphy senior operations manager here. He says the e commerce boom is quite noticed. Not only because customers are ordering so much more stuff online. But it's also the kind of stuff they're having deliver. It's a rug that you might need for that front room. It's the new seventy inch TV by the solid bed frame. Go down here a couple of minutes ago. So it's something that we didn't see ten years ago. Whether the boxes are bigger small there's a science to how they move down this conveyor belt, couriers grab packages labeled for the routes and load them based on size destination to make the most efficient use of truck space AM the couriers time when the. One hundred fifty trucks are full they launch almost all at once. But it's not chaos. It's more like a ballet than roller der-. It's engineered, you know. It's not a big circus. It's extremely orchestrated in very very almost calm the way that they launched engineers also designed the delivery routes to keep trucks moving in not wasting time. Stuck in traffic? But there's no denying that. All those delivery, vans and trucks are choking traffic themselves and straining roadway infrastructure, not really designed for this kind of commerce. The supply chain itself is not without king says many packages still get lost arrive late or left at the wrong address. At increasingly theft is a problem. It's estimated that millions of packages are stolen off of doorsteps in front porches and consumers are not just ordering more items every year, but demanding that they get them quicker. So every package that's delivered. Whether it's on time or not becomes a data point for Erie, Taylor's and their delivery partners as they try. To improve for next year's holiday, delivering rush. David Schaper, NPR news, Chicago and tomorrow, David is going to look at the real cost of IRRI Taylor's, providing free delivery. This message comes from NPR sponsor Capital One offering a variety of credit card options with features for a range of customers from foodies to travelers Capital One what's in your wallet credit approval required capital. One Bank USA in a."