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Posted by eric on November 28, 2007

I was recently tracking a package that was shipped from Shanghai to Florida (it was something ordered from a major computer manufacturer). It was interesting to see the various stops it made — first in Anchorage, then in Indianapolis, then Memphis. From there, it flew here, where it will be put on a truck for delivery. After figuring out the flight path, I headed over to FlightAware, in an attempt to figure out the exact flights it took (yes, I’m a bit of a dork). I was semi-successful, but I was able to discover roughly how many MD-11s FedEx runs between Shanghai and Anchorage, and then onto the Lower 48 (mainly Memphis and Indy). I never really knew that FedEx ran a hub in Indy — most things I’ve received/shipped have gone via Memphis if they were air shipments. I wound up Googling “fedex hubs” and came across this article about the operations at their hubs. It’s interesting to see how they have it down to such a precise process. No wonder they get things everywhere on time. And not just on time, but not a day earlier than promised. I’ve seen things arrive at the local sort center the day before they’re scheduled to be delivered, and they sit there for a day. It’s a smart business practice — if customers realize that a slower, technically longer service can actually deliver more quickly than promised, they won’t spend the money for the faster service.

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