“This project is the embodiment of our ‘customer first, people led, innovation driven’ strategy. We are using the full power of UPS’s global logistics network, our people and our technology to ensure customers are delighted with our service when they receive their new products,” UPS Airlines President Brendan Canavan said.
Supporting the launch of a new Apple product requires a wide variety of UPS services, including Global Freight Forwarding, UPS Airlines and Small Package ground delivery. The Customer Solutions and Program Management group is the conductor, directing a complex special operating plan.
“It really is a symphony,” Customer Solutions Director Julie McKenzie said. “The strength and resilience of the teams working together is amazing,” she said.
UPS Worldport, the company’s global air hub in Louisville, Kentucky, and the company’s airline play a pivotal role in the launch. UPS Airlines and charter cargo jets transport phone shipments, pre-positioning the products in the U.S. before launch day. And Worldport ran a special sort, dedicated solely to sorting iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Air shipments.
On Oct. 22, the day prior to the launch, package handlers at Worldport unloaded hundreds of thousands of shipments onto conveyor belts for sorting throughout the 5.2 million square foot facility. They included both single devices destined for customers, and larger shipments of phones to Apple Stores and other retailers. Scanners read the smart label on each package, routing it automatically via 155 miles of conveyor belts to an outbound chute, where they were placed in containers for loading onto outbound UPS flights headed for destinations across the U.S.
“It’s a big launch, it’s a lot of package volume, which is why we have the special sort dedicated just to Apple shipments. We add additional employees to our small package sort, giving us the capability to support this launch,” Worldport Second Day Air Hub Manager Garry Kelley said.
While that experience is important, every launch is different with different logistics requirements. But the end goal always is the same. “We’re obsessed with providing perfect service. That’s what drives us,” McKenzie said.