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News & Press: Industry

UPS’s $20 Billion Bet on E-Commerce Is Paying Off

Monday, December 30, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alyce Ryan
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Everyone knows the UPS delivery service, with its ubiquitous brown trucks that ramble through every neighborhood in America. But to really understand what makes UPS tick, you must check out the massive facility in western Atlanta known as the UPS Southeast Metro Automated Routing Terminal (or SMART). 

This whirling dervish comprises 18 miles of conveyor belts, moving at 600 feet per minute on three levels inside a single sprawling building the size of 19 football fields. To an outsider it looks like the kind of thing cartoonist Rube Goldberg would have dreamed up as a machine to, say, fold the world’s largest napkin. 

But unlike Goldberg’s deliberately nonsensical and wasteful contraptions, the year-old super terminal is super-efficient, one of the crown jewels in UPS’s global logistics and shipping empire. It’s just one of six similar highly automated, gigantic, spanking new UPS package-sorting centers spread across the U.S. It’s also one of the reasons the company stands more than a fighting chance in its uneasy rivalry with Amazon, the e-commerce giant that is UPS’s biggest customer but is increasingly expanding into logistics and delivery work too.



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