Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global Package Race Puts Major Carriers to the Test

03.05.2007
How hard is it to deliver a package to Ouagadougou? A group from the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech, one of the most respected logistics programs in the world, puts the major carriers (UPS, FedEx and DHL) to the test every year with its Great Package Race, a contest to see which carrier can get a package to a very challenging locale the fastest and in the best condition.

A group of 60 logistics students, led by logistics expert John Bartholdi, a professor in the Stewart School, sends identical boxes bound for places like Lomé, Togo and Split, Croatia. With no indication that there’s a competition underway, each carrier picks up its parcel, and the race begins. The progress of the packages is tracked online and students follow the often byzantine journey (across oceans, rivers and jungles and sometimes by bicycle) from Atlanta, Georgia, to a location that may not even have an official street address.

Admittedly, the race is an extreme test of the carriers’ ability to deliver anywhere in the world, Bartholdi said. This year’s packages were sent on April 13 to Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Burma); Tikrit, Iraq (one of the centers of Sunni insurgency); Floranopolis, Brazil (a small island); Harare, Zimbabwe and Apia, Samoa. Most packages arrived with a week or two, but one has yet to be delivered or returned.

DHL beat the competition this year, delivering first to three of the five locations and second to the remaining two. FedEx managed to deliver to three locations, and UPS delivered parcels to two. The remaining packages from FedEx and UPS went undelivered for a variety of reasons. In past races, the carriers traded wins in different locales.

While carriers usually have no trouble getting the package to the general vicinity of the package address, the last part of the package’s journey slows things down considerably.

“The world’s not quite flat,” Bartholdi said. “The last mile is always the hardest.”

Each year, the race results are often mixed and entertaining. Two carriers once showed up at the exact same time to deliver their packages. One package was carried back-and-forth across the Atlantic nine times before delivery. Another was sent to Costa Rica instead of Croatia. And one carrier claimed that the destination country didn’t exist at all.

Bartholdi started the Great Package Race back in 2003 as a fun exercise for his logistics students. Each package provided a window into how the carriers operate, revealing everything from which hubs carriers route packages through to what types of operations functions can go wrong when a package is shipped internationally.

The carriers themselves are good sports about the race and sometimes communicate with the students about what went wrong and what went right, Bartholdi said.

The packages, containing Georgia Tech goodies such as a shirt and mug, are sent to the group’s friends and acquaintances all over the world, provided that their addresses present a suitably sadistic challenge for the carriers.

Megan McRainey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.icpa.gatech.edu

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>