Daily Archives: December 16, 2012

Blue and Brown Make Dark Brown

Not Green! Someone over on Supply Chain Digital either needs a refresher course on the visible spectrum, or, if a discussion of electromagnetic radiation is too difficult for them, a kid’s paint set. What am I referring to? This recent article over on Supply Chain digital on how UPS and USPS Begin Partnership to Reduce Emissions.

I really like this idea in theory, but in practice, I wonder if it’s really going to reduce emissions or just create a lot of hot air.

Here’s the quandary. If the average UPS and USPS truck is going out half empty, than this is going to reduce the number of trucks on the road, and it’s a good idea. If the average UPS and USPS truck is going out over half fill, USPS will now need two trucks and the emissions will just be shifted from UPS to USPS. The other issue is that the packages have to get from the USPS network to the UPS network. How closely are the networks synced? Not only does a package now have to go through location B to get to C from location A, which means that UPS won’t be able to retire may trucks (as it still has to get the packages to USPS), but if A to B to C is twice as long as A to C, and this is the case for a majority of packages, are emissions really saved?

Also, with respect to the second part of the partnership, will the USPS be able to redesign its network to efficiently take advantage of UPS’ efficient global distribution capabilities? If USPS can, this will be great because UPS is much more efficiently structured to get a package to the right country given its focus. But if USPS can’t, it’s more hot air.

And all hot air does is scorch the earth, and turn it dark brown.

I hope for the best, but what’s the real incentive for these two companies to cooperate to the level necessary to really make a difference?