Agents of influenceRobert Frederick, Science Writer
Models of complex systems have become a staple of business strategy, and now they are showing early promise for improving economic forecasts.
For cargo carriers, the most direct route is not always the cheapest. In the early 2000s, Southwest Airlines adopted a new approach to shipping: Rather than switching cargo from one flight to another to minimize the distance it covered, the airline would take circuitous routes to destinations on fewer flights. The strategy seemed counterintuitive, but it has saved the company millions of dollars in storage rentals and cargo handlers’ wages.