The century-old delivery service has shown that it is committed to keeping up with the tech revolution. So much so that he can even determine when it is appropriate to clean his trucks.
But if Amazon decides to enter into the package delivery game, all of this could not be enough. Every day, the employees of the delivery corporation UPS are faced with making hundreds of judgments.
If they make a mistake, such as putting a box on the incorrect conveyor belt or loading it into a delivery vehicle that is not equipped to handle it, the customer may not receive his purchase promptly.
It is essential to the continued existence of the organization that you do not make these blunders. The surge in popularity of online shopping has led to an increase in the number of parcels that UPS delivers each day—to as much as 31 million.
Because online orders are typically placed from far-flung areas, it is quite difficult to keep track of all of them due to the complexity and difficulty of the task.
Moreover, the latest news that Amazon is planning to launch a low-cost package delivery service is a sign that UPS is about to face stiff competition from a company that is at the top of its game when it comes to customer tracking and even has artificial intelligence services available.
This means that UPS is about to face stiff competition from a company that has artificial intelligence services.
For UPS to successfully tackle this problem, sophisticated analysis is required. 2016 was the year that the company started gathering data across all of its locations.
It is now working on approximately 25 projects based on that information, and they are all bundled together under the acronym EDGE, which stands for “enhanced global dynamic execution.”
The program has motivated changes in all areas, from how workers place packages inside delivery trucks in the morning to how the vast army of temporary employees that UPS recruits during the busy holiday season is trained. These are just two examples of the changes that have been motivated by the program.
Even notifications about when the vehicles need to be washed can be generated using the data. When the corporation has finished implementing the initiative in its entirety, it anticipates making annual cost savings of between 160 and 240 million euros.
UPS is now working on several technical projects, including one called EDGE, to enhance the quality of its delivery services throughout the 220 countries and territories it operates.
The company also covers updates to the tools that drivers use, such as the computers that they use to scan packages and collect customer signatures, as well as mapping software called ORION that is used by drivers in order to calculate the most efficient route for their routes (or optimization and navigation integrated into the route as the acronym suggests). The service includes both of these tools as part of what it offers.
Additionally, the corporation is investing in additional devices that automatically categorize shipments within UPS processing facilities.
To cut down on the number of instances in which items are mistakenly loaded onto the wrong delivery truck, UPS began installing Bluetooth receivers in its delivery vehicles a year ago.
If a worker sets an item in a vehicle that is destined for the wrong location, the devices, which have a length of around 12 cm and are mounted inside the truck, will let out a loud beep.
The device will give out a distinct beep to indicate that it has detected that the product has been loaded onto the appropriate truck once it has been properly located.
The wireless signals emitted by the various Bluetooth devices are combined with those emitted by the scanners that employees of UPS use to read the shipping labels on the items they handle by the system.
UPS did not check the packages to determine which truck they were meant to be sent on before the company developed this technology.
When it was discovered that a driver was transporting a wandering parcel, the driver was required to deviate from their normal route to deliver the item or phone a supervisor to have the package transferred to the appropriate truck.
Now, UPS can cut down on these delays and provide customers with additional information about impending deliveries.
The data that is collected when UPS employee scan packages in the morning are used to update the service that the firm has developed and to send emails to clients informing them of the status of their shipments.
Those who have a vital register crucial for the complimentary service will receive a message alerting them that their product will come that day along with an anticipated delivery time.
The United Parcel Service (UPS) now uses Bluetooth technology in a location in Germany and on 35 percent of its routes in the United States. They have future intentions to expand the use of this technology to Canada and the United Kingdom.
One other of the company’s efforts involves informing temporary workers about the locations where they should send parcels for UPS cars to pick up throughout the day.
Between November and January, the business will hire close to 100,000 of these people.
In the past, these individuals would need to commit hundreds of zip codes to memory to know where to put the packages. However, during the winter of 2016, UPS provided approximately 2,500 of its employees with five-euro Bluetooth and scanning registration devices. These devices issue oral instructions such as “green,” “red,” or “blue.”
The colors are assigned to certain conveyor belts, which then transport the packages to various areas of the facility to be processed further.
This does not mean that UPS does not still make mistakes in some deliveries; therefore, the firm also has a project that informs administrators of how many returned goods will arrive at its processing center and when those packages will reach there. They will then be able to coordinate the right number of people to reroute the parcels in this manner.
The graphs display information such as the number of incoming packages, the rate at which they are being processed, and which teams of workers are busier. This allows workers to be assigned to the areas of the company with the highest demand for their services.
In the past, UPS supervisors would count on historical data and have radio conversations with their drivers to determine the number of undeliverable packages that needed to be driven back the following night.
According to John Dodero, vice president of industrial engineering at UPS, the project enables the company to increase its productivity and reduce the amount of time it takes to deliver items to its intended users, even when those shipments are poorly targeted.
Compete with Amazon
Will all of these efforts be sufficient to fight against Amazon, particularly if Amazon begins to compete directly against UPS as has been rumored?
Barbara Ivanov, a logistics specialist from the Transportation and Logistics Supply Chain Center at the University of Washington (USA), which is largely supported through UPS, is of the opinion that Amazon poses a threat.
The most revolutionary aspect of Amazon’s new plan is that they are starting from scratch and placing technology at the center of everything they do, according to Ivanov.
Amazon has the ability to start from scratch with the technology at the center of their operations,” says Ivanov.
Despite this, the existing delivery infrastructure of Amazon lags significantly behind that of UPS and FedEx. “Amazon has a significant presence in the urban areas, and the company frequently hires van drivers to facilitate its expedited deliveries.
According to the knowledgeable individual, “but in order for it to become an important delivery organization, it must be ubiquitous in every part of the planet, and those networks are extremely costly to construct and maintain.”
According to Thomas H. Davenport, a professor at Babson College who specializes in corporate analytic programs, UPS possesses a greater level of logistical understanding than many people imagine.
According to the knowledgeable individual, “EDGE is only the latest in a succession of large-scale and long-lasting UPS technology projects connected to things like altering routes and installing telemetry in trucks, and every new thing is predicated on prior capacity.”
Amazon has an advantage thanks to its use of artificial intelligence, which is something that UPS is still working to get up to speed on.
In 2017, he founded an advanced technology firm with the mission of researching various approaches to implementing AI. Dodero has verified it.
It is anticipated that in the future, EDGE will incorporate some form of artificial intelligence into its product. Already, our engineers are hard at work developing algorithms that will assist in determining the optimal daily work configuration.
When do you anticipate their arrival?
According to the findings of Davenport, ” UPS needs every available piece of technology, every available piece of analysis, and every available piece of artificial intelligence if it hopes to compete against a competitor like Amazon.”