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HUB 101

December 5, 2008

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It’s peak season here at the MEM World HUB which means we will be running at or near capacity. Capacity for us at the MEM HUB can be defined two ways.  One is the number of boxes we can sort per hour and the other is the number of documents we can sort per hour.

We can sort about 325,000 documents (Overnight Letters, Courier Paks) per hour and tonight we will sort close to 900,000 pieces.  For boxes, our capacity is 160,000 boxes per hour and tonight our plan is to sort 600,000 boxes. The volume then determines the length of the sort window.

Rather than assume everyone knows what happens at a HUB, let me give you a lesson in HUB 101.

The HUB process is divided in 3 phases.  The Offload, the Sort and the Onload.

The Offload is the unloading of packages loaded on aircraft that arrive at the HUB.  Tonight there was 9.6 million pounds of cargo that had to be offloaded.

The Sort is the actual input of packages into our automated sort systems where the packages go through  a primary, a secondary and even a tertiary sort before they end up at a build up location for all similar destination packages. Within the walls of our 2.5 million square feet sort complex are over 300 miles of conveyor belts which move the packages from the beginning of the sort process to the final build up location.  We even have a group of employees we call “jammers” whose job it is to ensure no jams occur at pinch points that can either “trip” out a belt or cause damage to one of our customers shipments.

The Onload is the actual loading of the packages on over 140 aircraft which fly to over 120 destination airports eventually providing service to over 221 countries.

These 3 phases have been around since our first sort over 35 years ago.  The main difference between now and then other than the fact that the first sort took place on a couple of card tables, is that we have a lot more technology and automation which allows us to process volume faster.

Still our best resource is our People and our commitment to the Purple Promise.  The Purple Promise is our commitment to make every customer experience outstanding.  Every day we get another opportunity to make this promise a reality.

For a real inside look at the Memphis Superhub check out the latest Hub video in the Multimedia Center.

Comments

    Marie McVay says:

    John, We appreciate all you guys at the Hub and what you do this time of year to make absolutely, positively sure that Santa keeps the Purple Promise and is on-time to all locations across the globe!

    John,

    Please congratulate your team and let them know how much we appreciate their efforts. I am in Digital Access Marketing. We work on the automation systems that produce a large percentage of the package labels that go through the hub. Over the years, most of us have done a little holiday tour of duty at the hub. I always enjoyed having an annual reminder of the real work of our great company.

    Also, thanks for taking your time to blog. I am grateful for your insights and for those of other senior level executives.

    Carmen Johnson says:

    During our peak season, what night was the biggest shpmt and number of pkgs that were moved.

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