UPS: Delivery Strategy for the Holiday Season

10/24/2012

The secret to on-time delivery of packages during the holiday season isn’t elves; it’s technology. With the busiest time of the year fast approaching for parcel deliveries, logistics companies are using advanced tech to distribute packages on time—and deliver a very high level of service to each individual customer.

That customer-service aspect is big for logistics companies. Being able to handle millions of packages in a day can be a tall task. Add the need to make each customer feel like they are the only one and that can be downright difficult.

Last year on December 22, UPS, www.ups.com, delivered 22 million packages. Armed with data through the use of package flow technologies and DIADs (delivery information acquisition devices), the company is able to not only deliver shipments on time, but also provide a higher level of personalized service for clients.


As director of process management for UPS, Jack Levis is responsible for looking 5-10 years in the future to determine the future roadmap for processes. This past Tuesday, Levis joined The Peggy Smedley Show to discuss the technology and how UPS plans to deliver packages on time this holiday season.

At the onset, Levis says the company used to be a trucking company that had technology, but today he consider UPS to be more of a technology company that has trucks.

Through the use of package-flow technologies, data relevant to a specific delivery is populated in a smart label. With this data readily available, a delivery person can ensure a package goes where it needs to go. Levis says the goal is to take data and turn it into information and knowledge.

Data can even go so far as to tell the systems what to do. As an example, UPS has a database with every address and the exact latitude and longitude. This way, if a UPS driver pulls up to the wrong address, the device will immediately question if the driver is at the correct location.

One of the challenges Levis addressed is the technology has to work anywhere in the world. In the past, the company used GPRS and CDMA and would give users the appropriate means of communication based on the driver’s route. Still, there were points where some driver might be offline temporarily. Now, UPS uses Gobi to switch between carriers if a signal is lost, which Levis says improves uptime.

Beyond helping UPS deliver packages on time, that system also gathers data related to vehicle RPM, speed, oil pressure, and other metrics to watch driver efficiencies and analyze behaviors. With this knowledge, UPS has reduced its mileage.

Levis says analytics is the future. Going forward, the company will continue using data to make better decisions, take analytics to the next level, and expand the customized tools for customers. To read more about how UPS is planning to use technology this holiday season, read the recent article in the Nov/Dec issue of Connected World magazine.





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