United Parcel Service Inc. computer systems monitoring the heartbeat of global commerce sent a discouraging message last quarter as package flows began to fall below the company's forecast.

On July 24 executives announced that they were reducing their Asian air network by 10 percent. Domestic routes were also fine-tuned to lower volumes by systems called Volcano and HFNO that efficiently plan how packages move on planes and trucks to consumers' doorsteps.

"We don't wait three months to say, 'Is there a pattern?'" said Jack Levis, director of process management at UPS, the world's largest package shipper, in an interview. "We are always looking ahead at what's the risk."

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