Technology

Dfigtree

Well-Known Member
About 20 years ago UPS began its big push into technology with things like ISPS, HFCS, TFCS, package tracking, etc. My question is ...

looking back over the last 20 years what have been the best technology products UPS I.S. has provided? And, what have been the worst? How have they helped your job and how have they hindered your job?
 

Channahon

Well-Known Member
1980's

I can remember as a young supervisor hearing about all the monies UPS was spending on technology. The internet wasn't even in existence nor any .coms

Little did I realize UPS was far more technological advanced than the general publc at the time.

I think the most impressive system created is UPS.com which is has both external and internal uses.
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Speaking of UPS.com here's technology info from the website itself.

Technology Facts

Chief Information Officer: David Barnes

Number of Technology Employees: 5,466

Data Centers: Mahwah, NJ and Atlanta, GA

Mainframes: 15

Mainframe Capacity (Millions instructions per second -- MIPS): 46,308

Terabytes of Mainframe and Open Systems Storage: 699

Mid-range Computers: 2,342

LAN Workstations: 149,000

Servers: 8,973

DIADS: 81,000 in daily use

UPS's Global Telecommunications Network:
  • Network Sites: 2,700
www.ups.com Average Daily Usage:
  • Page Views: 14.5 million
  • 2006 Peak Day Page Views: 25 million
Online Tracking Average Daily Usage:
  • Tracking Requests: 15 million per business day
  • 2006 Peak Day: 24+ million
Technology Awards:
  • Network World: Dave Barnes - 50 Most Powerful People - Enterprise Network Executives category, 2006
  • Package Flow Technologies named to CMP's Business Technology Optimization Excellence Award winner, 2005
  • Computerworld: 2005 Package Flow Technologies: 12 Best in Class for Premier 100
  • Computerworld: Premier 100 IT Leader 2005 - Dave Barnes
  • Computerworld: Premier 100 IT Leader 2006 - Laynglyn Capers
  • Computerworld: Premier 100 IT Leader 2007 - Nigel Watson
  • Computerworld 100 Best Places to Work in IT, 2006
  • Information Week: 500 Top Innovators List, 2005
 

UPS Lifer

Well-Known Member
The DIAD is by far and away the best technological advance UPS has made.

The worst: Information Library or what I what call "information overload". Even with the help that the centers have now there is too much information to manage on a daily basis.
 

toonertoo

Most Awesome Dog
Staff member
Lately I have noticed even more papers to review than beofre. Actually yesterday, my center manager asked me about a pkg that was ni3 postcarded, sent back out for del, and signed for and post carded again:w00t: I do not ever remember seeing it come back out or delivering it again. Could it be that it was shipped to an alternate, the person signed and then said Oh wait it isnt mine, and someone never corrected it on the info system, and even tho it shows up del'ds to the same addy, it was actually another? Im perplexed?
I think the diad was the best, no frozen pens, no wet papers, no totaling at the end of the day. No writing..
 

rod

Retired 19 years
I think power steering gets the award for biggest improvement. Imagine- putting power steering in a big :censored2: truck. Who ever got that approved gets my vote for Einstein of the centuty.
 

helenofcalifornia

Well-Known Member
Not that I have one to use, but I would second that power steering vote and the low first step. DIAD has to be #1 with PAS or EDD or whatever you want to call it, second. Dude, how did we ever punch in all those numbers before? I hate it when I have to manually punch them in now. Remember paper? The clipboard with that silver paper holder? And what about all that cash you had to carry? With change no less!!! Yeah, UPS is right up there in some areas of technological improvement, though I would say that the ergonomical (sp) ones for driver longevity came a little late for some drivers.
 

JustTired

free at last.......
Not that I have one to use, but I would second that power steering vote and the low first step. DIAD has to be #1 with PAS or EDD or whatever you want to call it, second. Dude, how did we ever punch in all those numbers before? I hate it when I have to manually punch them in now. Remember paper? The clipboard with that silver paper holder? And what about all that cash you had to carry? With change no less!!! Yeah, UPS is right up there in some areas of technological improvement, though I would say that the ergonomical (sp) ones for driver longevity came a little late for some drivers.

Power steering and lower step is a big one (though not really a high tech thing). The transition to automatic transmissions is right up there, too. Especially for the young drivers who never saw a stick shift until they came to work here. I rather like shifting myself.

The DIAD is probably the biggest improvement. Although I wish they would stop making each new version so much different than the one before. DIAD I was not so bad...just a little big and heavy. DIAD II was a waste. It was so slow. You could punch 8 buttons and then have to wait for the display to catch up. At least it remembered what you had punched. DIAD III was my favorite. Faster and more logically layed out. DIAD IV pretty much sucks as far as I'm concerned.

One thing the DIAD did do was to make everyones job behind the driver a lot easier.

I definitely wouldn't put PAS/EDD anywhere close to second. It doesn't even belong on the list. Maybe someday, if they ever get it to work as advertised. So far, it's the worst waste of money I have seen in my 20+ years.
 
A

an anonymous guest

Guest
JMO, but I think the best technology products the IS has produced are the ones that people just assume are there every day. Let me list a few. THe UPS EMAIL infrastructure, the UPS telecomm network, UPS.COM, UPS labeling and electronic commerce transaction standards with our biggest and best customers, and, believe it or not, our billing systems infrastructure. THe things you see as innovative ALL are based on the underlying infrastructures the IS keeps running day after day, year after year....

Go UPS!
P71
 

bit

Member
You serious about the UPS email? Our department calls it the "Foreign Exchange" server. You want to send something bigger than 10M? Executable? No way. Spam blocking? Atrocious. It acually drops a lot of valid incomings.

Here's my point - Anything that faces the customers gets decent funding and is pretty good and I have no complaints about that. UPS package tracking is spot on and awesome.

HOWEVER - All internal technology is poorly thought out, implemented terribly, and never given enough attention in maintenance mode. I'll drop a few keywords and I want you to think about the take rate / adoption.

W3C compliant sites. Linux. Usability (think ADA compliance). VMWare. Clustering. SAN / NAS Storage. Search Engines. Data forensics (re-imaging a machine every time it burps is not the answer). Oasis. Standards. Unsecured transfer drives. I'm not going to get into security.

I spend most of my time trying to figure out how to do my job given the hoops I have to jump through and technology workarounds to do things other companies would consider routine business.

My favorite technology is the DIAD ;)
-bit
 
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DS

Fenderbender
Lets take this whole technology thing back about 30 years.I grew up with music that was played at either 33 1/3' 45' or 78'...this was based on
how closely the grooves and the size of the disc were and the revolutions per minute.When 8 tracks and cassettes became outdated,some dude figured out how to use lasers to read discs.
Compact discs...wow the wave of the future.Hey wait we can also put movies on those little things...but back in the old days,you had to go downtown and buy that single,nowadays you can either choose to
go downtown like the old days,or just go online and get it for free
from some file sharing site,or if you are a capitalist with a conscience, you can buy a song at a time for 99cents.When home computers first made thier debut,I had my doubts,but now every home without one is like one 50 years ago without a TV.
beta/vhs Hd/blue ray
it never ends...I`ll wait till it comes out on [email protected] Copywrite Ds
 

Dfigtree

Well-Known Member
Okay...so it's power steering and DIAD for the best and maybe PAS for the worst technology. That makes power steeting and DIAD very important to day-to-day avtivity. So, if, say, the trusty DIAD were to become unavailable for a week or a month or a year due to a major disruption of service (disaster) at the datacenters (maybe due to sabatoge by a digruntled employee) how would your day-to-day activity change?

<<I grew up with music that was played at either 33 1/3' 45' or 78'>>

DS? Still miss those "pops" and "skips" on your Woodstock album? As for vinyl, when daughter discovered that there was such a thing she had two questions that she asked about a year apart. 1. Daddy, what are those big black CD's with a hole in the middle? 2. Followed by a year or so later ... Daddy, did you know that records have music on both sides?
I myself listened to THE SHADOW in my father's Hudson.
 

SeniorGeek

Below the Line
You serious about the UPS email? Our department calls it the "Foreign Exchange" server. You want to send something bigger than 10M? Executable? No way. Spam blocking? Atrocious. It acually drops a lot of valid incomings.
It appears you have not been responsible for the operation of an Exchange server, and that you have not had much experience in the business world outside UPS - unless it has been in companies that emphasize bleeding-edge technology. 10M is more generous than most. [FTP space is for big transfers.] Executables are commonly blocked. [Change file extensions to get around this sort of thing.] Yes, the spam blocking leaves something to be desired - but that is an area that can consume a lot of resources for very little gain. It is easy to say what it does incorrectly, but much harder to invent the correct way to do it....


Here's my point - Anything that faces the customers gets decent funding and is pretty good and I have no complaints about that. UPS package tracking is spot on and awesome.

HOWEVER - All internal technology is poorly thought out, implemented terribly, and never given enough attention in maintenance mode. I'll drop a few keywords and I want you to think about the take rate / adoption.
...and I will do a little bit of word association...or something like that. With my words in blue:
W3C compliant sites. Oooh. Multimedia?
Linux. means UPS becomes more of a software company and has to perform more end-user training.
Usability (think ADA compliance). Adapt DIAD for the blind drivers? Power steering for double amputees?
VMWare. To run multiple OSes? Is this from the same person who calls for standards?
Clustering. [-]Hey, Beavis, he said "clustering"![/-] Servers or data or both? What result justifies a huge rework of everything? (I'll answer that question myself: there are too many different systems that do not share end-user attributes and do not even talk to each other very well. Clustering may require a solution, but the solution is not clustering.)
SAN / NAS Storage. There was a [non-production-only?] version of NAS in use. If production applications relied on large amounts of data stored locally, NAS might make sense in the field. SAN probably does make sense inside data centers.
Search Engines. I agree! [and I mean this in a way that is neither disparaging nor denigrating]
Data forensics (re-imaging a machine every time it burps is not the answer). I agree strongly! [in a manner that is not disparaging nor denigrating]
Oasis. My friend who used to work in Middleware at Oracle agrees strongly. I have no comment.
Standards. No argument there. Being against Standards is like being against a cure for cancer.
Unsecured transfer drives. Agreed. [ndnd]
I'm not going to get into security. Security work is never complete, and not all of it is apparent in the field. Security tends to get in the way of getting work done, so compromises must be made. The biggest internal vulnerability I discovered was secured (I am told), but there are always people finding new ways to break or break-into everything. The email size limit and executable ban mentioned above are both fairly-common security measures.
My view is mostly from the District/Center. Most of your suggestions would make more sense in a data center. Maybe you are in the wrong place? Or maybe you are in a data center and it is just not as up-to-date as you had hoped?


I spend most of my time trying to figure out how to do my job given the hoops I have to jump through and technology workarounds to do things other companies would consider routine business.
Don't put that sentence on your resume.


My favorite technology is the DIAD ;)
-bit
This appears to be ON-topic. I can't handle it....
 

Channahon

Well-Known Member
An example of UPS developing and marketing technology.

Technology makes fast food hot

Source : Chicago Sun-Times
June 27, 2007
BY SANDRA GUY Sun-Times Columnist

Online grocer Peapod is using new route-planning and vehicle-tracking software to get groceries to customers' kitchens more efficiently.
"We've been able to decrease route-tracking costs by 30 percent in the past four months," said Ken Fanaro, senior manager of logistics and transportation planning for Skokie-based Peapod. The company, owned by grocer Royal Ahold of the Netherlands, declined to disclose its total costs.

The savings come from Peapod's decision to bring its vehicle-tracking software in-house instead of outsourcing it to an application service provider, a company that rents software to other companies.

fanaro.jpg_20070627_00_43_07_70-116-165.imageContent
Ken Fanaro, senior manager of logistics and transportation planning for Peapod stands in the control room in Skokie, where the company keeps track of its fleet of delivery trucks.

Peapod's goal is to use as few trucks as necessary, and to keep the same number of employees in Peapod's routing center while the company's sales and customer count grow 20 percent a year.

Peapod started planning a new routing system before the skyrocketing cost of gasoline, so those cost savings are an extra benefit, Fanaro said. The intricate Peapod routing system starts at the Smart Mile, a logistics war room in Skokie where the e-tailer's 300 grocery-packed trucks are routed to 285,000 customers in 18 markets in 10 states. Peapod will expand to four more markets on the East Coast this year.

Smart Mile has eight full-time employees.
Peapod's new software, called Roadnet, comes from another major truck-routing company -- UPS. It actually started 24 years ago as a brainstorm of beer, paper and food company owners in Baltimore who wanted to make their delivery routes more efficient. The three men started Roadnet Systems Corp., which UPS bought 21 years ago and recreated as UPS Logistics Technologies.

The software program is based on what's known as the "traveling salesman algorithm," for its theory of using the shortest route to meet every potential customer and return to a starting point. UPS used the technology to develop its electronic brown clipboards, said Cyndi Brandt, marketing manager for UPS Logistics Technologies.

The company's consultants spent 10 days at Peapod installing the system and training employees. UPS constantly upgrades the software to take into account Peapod's complicated issues, such as customers' delivery preferences, whether a customer's dog bites or the types of food being delivered, Brandt said.

The software costs $50,000 to $60,000 for a company with 25 trucks. The price varies by fleet size. For smaller companies, the company offers Roadnet Anywhere, a subscription-based software that costs $110 a month per vehicle.

The software includes a global positioning system that tracks the trucks. Peapod drivers use cellular phones to sign into the tracking system and report their movements. At the same time, Peapod uses UPS' Mobilecast system to see whether a driver has been speeding, veered off his route or spent an unusually long time at a customer's house.

UPS Logistics Technologies, which competes with Appian Logistics, Arc Logistics and Roadshow by Descartes Systems Group, is finding new competition in increasingly sophisticated GPS systems that drivers can use on their own. Adrian Gonzalez, director of consulting firm ARC Advisory Group, in Dedham, Mass., said, "It's worth millions to knock off the cost. A 5 percent reduction in transportation costs is equivalent to increasing sales by 30 percent
 
I saw the US Geological survey maps being traced into Roadnet's database 20+ years ago. I felt then and I feel now that an experienced driver, with a couple of months of experience say, can figure out all the variables to optimize her route; taffic patterns, traffic lights, day of the week traffic, etc. Sometimes articificial intelligence just satisfies the artificial intelligence of management. Just think about the HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer).
 

JustTired

free at last.......
I saw the US Geological survey maps being traced into Roadnet's database 20+ years ago. I felt then and I feel now that an experienced driver, with a couple of months of experience say, can figure out all the variables to optimize her route; taffic patterns, traffic lights, day of the week traffic, etc. Sometimes articificial intelligence just satisfies the artificial intelligence of management. Just think about the HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer).

Great post!!! Couldn't agree more!!!
 
A

an anonymous guest

Guest
Of course, man never need directions anyway...we are all human GPS....

Go UPS!
P71
 

helenofcalifornia

Well-Known Member
I know there are "issues" with PAS/EDD. but who would want to go back to not knowing how many packages you are supposed to have in the truck, and, when you can't find them, how many to look for. Doesn't mean that your search will be rewarded with finding that package, but at least you know that Jane Doe SHOULD be getting X amount of packages.
 
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