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How did the holiday supply chain hold up in 2014?

Parcel shipping company UPS predicted that they would handle 585 million packages during the holiday season. The company expected to handle more than 30 million packages on at least six days during the 2014 holiday season.

Rival shipper FedEx projected volume of 290 million holiday packages.

According to a recent Washington Post article, both FedEx and UPS delivered 98 percent of their 2014 holiday packages on time by Christmas Eve. This is an improvement from 2013, when FedEx delivered 90 percent on time and UPS only 83 percent.

The 2013 holiday season was hit with larger-than-forecasted package volumes and last-minute snowstorms. Using situational intelligence to correlate and analyze multiple sources of retail sales forecasts along with weather data and vehicle capacity could help improve the performance of large shippers like FedEx and UPS, throughout the year and especially during the holiday season.

In the article, a spokesperson for logistics company ShipMatrix notes that much of the 2013 shipping troubles originated with retailers overpromising on shipping guarantees. Retailers would guarantee a customer delivery by Christmas Eve, but then purchase less expensive, non-guaranteed shipping services. Without analytics, it might be easy to lay all the blame on the shipping companies. Correlating service delivery rate with the services that retailers promised to customers, services the retailers actually purchased, carrier capacity and weather data helps tell a more complete story.

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