New Audio Available for Media Use: UPS’s Ranganath Nuggehalli on Overcoming the Holiday Season’s Supply Chain Challenges


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

New Audio Available for Media Use: UPS’s Ranganath Nuggehalli on Overcoming the Holiday Season’s Supply Chain Challenges

BALTIMORE, MD, December 10, 2021 – New audio is available for media use featuring supply chain expert Ranganath Nuggehalli, who is Principal Scientist at UPS and an INFORMS member. INFORMS is the largest association for the decision and data sciences. 

In this audio content, Ranganath discusses this holiday season’s supply chain challenges and what UPS is doing in anticipation and response. All sound should be attributed to Ranganath Nuggehalli. There are 4 questions and responses. These responses were provided on December 10, 2021.


Question 1: What shipping and logistics challenges does this holiday season present to shippers?

Time Cue: 00:20, Soundbite Duration: 01:20

Transcription: “The holiday seasons are always a challenge for UPS. Not specifically any particular year. Almost every holiday season is a challenge. I’m sure it is the same thing with other shippers, too. What happens is normally, you know, we process about 20 million packages per day on average. But during the holiday season it jumps up significantly. Sometimes it almost doubles. Like last year it went up to 34 million packages per day or something like that. So, it becomes a challenge because it’s a physical network. So, you have to have enough resources, both physical capacity, people, vehicles, everything to service added capacity. Especially at UPS we work on a number of fronts. There’s a group it’s main focus is just planning basically for Thanksgiving and Christmas. After we come to January, at once we start thinking about how do we do it, how to we handle it and everything. We start thinking even before everybody even thinks about shipping their packages. It has to be done that way. So, we have this amazing customer service team, anticipate how much volume they are going to send to us, how many packages will be moving throughout the system throughout the holiday season. That helps us by hiring the extra workers temporarily for Christmastime. So, these are the challenges. But sometimes Mother Nature does not cooperate. It gets really tricky. It’s like snow or snow blizzard, icy conditions, everything, but. It always is a challenge. How do we do it? We have got a team of people, a nucleus, they’re ready to go anywhere where help is needed and do whatever is needed to deliver the packages. So, again, coming back, planning is the key, and extra resources, and planning at once. Sometimes we may have over-capacity, sometimes we may have under-capacity, depending on whatever happens. And working with customers is going to be the key, especially our main customers like Amazon and others. How do you collaborate and anticipate demand? We always take our shipping business very seriously, especially during Christmas time. We want to make sure as much as possible to the greatest extent that everybody gets their package before Christmas.”


Question 2: How is UPS working to overcome those challenges?

Time Cue: 02:41, Soundbite Duration: 0:20 

Transcription: “Well, adding significant capacity to our network. Also adding new aircrafts and other things and vehicles. And also adding, seasonally, about 100,000 employees just to cover this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”


Question 3: What can people do to ensure their packages arrive on time and to the right destination? 

Time Cue: 03:20, Soundbite Duration: 00:42 

Transcription: “Great question. First of all, plan early. Don’t wait until the last minute to ship your packages because everybody else wants to do the same thing. And second, make sure your box is really in good condition. Don’t reuse the box for something which can break. That could cause a lot of problems. So, use a good box with packing materials. Also, make sure you’ve got two labels. One label on the top of the box, and also keep a label inside it in case the label on the box gets discarded or damaged or is unreadable, we can open the box and figure out where it is going. Again, use proper boxes, plan early, and make sure the address label is attached and use multiple labels.”


Question 4: How is UPS leveraging the power of technology to meet the challenges of the 2021 holiday season?

Time Cue: 03:54, Soundbite Duration: 00:45

Transcription: “First of all, advanced analytics is helping us. We are using that to anticipate where the volume is going to be, and where problems could happen and other things. And also like, we have advanced planning systems We now have ORION, which helps our drivers to figure out how to do their daily route the best way, minimizing the time and everything else. And also we have automated sorting capacity in our automated hubs. Like we have capacity to process half million packages in one hour. And speed up the network. Technology plays a big role. Otherwise, we would not be able to manage operating at this level.”

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INFORMS advances and promotes the science and technology of decision making to save lives, save money, and solve problems. As the largest association for the decision and data sciences, INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful results. INFORMS’ 10,000+ members are comprised of a diverse and robust international community of practitioners, researchers, educators, and students from a variety of fields. 



Ashley Smith