From now until Christmas, UPS is in peak season. This year the international package-delivery company expects to deliver more than 700 million packages by the end of December, a 14 percent jump in deliveries compared to the same time last year. To meet U.S. demand, the Atlanta-based company expects to hire 95,000 part-time and seasonal workers. To save mileage and money along the way, UPS is relying more on big data and a tool it calls Orion.
"At UPS, we always say we're an engineering company with technology — we just happen to have planes and trucks as well," said Mark Wallace, senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability.
How to best deliver the 18 million packages UPS ships daily is the biggest question the company faces. Drivers of the company's signature package trucks make about 120 stops per day and face seemingly endless alternatives when it comes to the order in which they make deliveries. Now, using a combination of big-data analytics and algorithms, UPS is able to track packages closely enough to let customers know when to expect a package and guide drivers out on deliveries into choosing the best route.