UPS Installs Beacons On Package Cars To Improve Loading Accuracy

Discussion in 'UPS Pressroom News' started by cheryl, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. cheryl

    cheryl I started this. Staff Member

    • Preload Smart Scan increases efficiency, improves customer service
    • UPS pioneers customized use of Bluetooth technology
    • Error-proofing helps ensure timely delivery
    UPS (NYSE:UPS) today said it is installing electronic beacons in its package cars to notify workers if they have placed an item in the wrong delivery vehicle. The initiative, known as Preload Smart Scan, is part of a suite of UPS® projects that will use technology to error-proof package processing operations to ensure timely delivery and customer satisfaction.

    Preload Smart Scan uses Bluetooth-enabled beacons that communicate with package-scanning devices worn by UPS employees loading packages onto vehicles. The scanners, which read package labels, are programed to know where a package belongs in a specific vehicle. The beacons, meanwhile, send signals that are unique to certain vehicles and their position within the vehicle. The scanners detect those signals. If a package enters the wrong vehicle, the scanner will notify the loader of the error.

    Misloaded packages waste time and money and can cause UPS to miss its service commitments. Drivers with misloaded packages on board often have to travel miles out of their way to correct the mistakes. But, in locations where the beacons are installed, UPS already is avoiding miles driven to re-route misloaded packages.

    “This is an important step toward improving accuracy in our operation,” said John Dodero, UPS vice president of industrial engineering. “It raises the level of service we provide to our customers. It also makes us more efficient and generates valuable cost savings.”

    Preload Smart Scan is one of dozens of projects under the UPS EDGE (Enhanced Dynamic Global Execution) program, which uses data and technology to enhance operations inside the company’s facilities and on delivery routes. It aids planning and execution and enables better decisions throughout the company’s operations.

    UPS delivers nearly 20 million packages and documents a day and recognizes that misloads drive inefficiency and potentially create problems for customers who rely on UPS to deliver on time. The company anticipates that Preload Smart Scan will lead to a 70-percent reduction in misloads.

    UPS’s beacon application in a package delivery vehicle required a customized high-tech solution. Off-the-shelf beacons were inadequate due their broad signal range and the close proximity of UPS package cars during morning loading. Beacon signals bled through the sides of package cars, yielding inaccurate information.

    To solve this technical challenge, UPS worked with a vendor to customize beacons for use on delivery vehicles that are parked very close together. The beacons now have a tighter range, rugged design, longer battery life and can be configured to match the exact dimensions of the package car.

    Preload Smart Scan relies on a robust set of telematics solutions that UPS continues to deploy across its global network. The customized beacon technology builds on UPS’s innovations in big data and the internet of things. In this case, the data UPS collects on each package helps ensure accurate delivery time estimates.

    UPS has applied for a patent on the use of beacons in this way. Other companies that pack delivery vehicles in close proximity to one another also may see the benefits of the technology, as might businesses in different industries that need precise location-based services.

    UPS beacons will be in 301 U.S. locations this year, reaching a total of 28% of U.S. facilities and 47% of U.S. package cars. UPS also plans to expand the initiative to facilities internationally.
  2. Once they get this rolling. They need to enable the diad to beep when it's close to the package when it's loaded on the wrong shelf. No more searching for packages and going back around to deliver
  3. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt The Worst Mod Ever Staff Member

    What and how will the DIAD detect?
  4. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Single digit midget!

    RFID chip embedded in address label.
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  5. Indecisi0n

    Indecisi0n Well-Known Member

    Our loaders don't scan anything while loading. They just take packages from the belt and run them into the car.
  6. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt The Worst Mod Ever Staff Member

    Does the label already have an RFID in the label?
    Does the DIAD have an RFID reader in its current form factor?
  7. Gumby

    Gumby *

    It would certainly be helpful
  8. brownmonster

    brownmonster Man of Great Wisdom

    So now they have to scan each package before loading? Can't wait to leave at 10 every morning.
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  9. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Single digit midget!

    Not yet but there has been talk of doing that for quite some time now.
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  10. dudebro

    dudebro Active Member

    RFID would be a dramatic change. We'd LOVE to do this. Alas, they're not cheap enough yet. Plus, with 300 of them in a package car all barking, "I'm here!", it's not a trivial problem to focus on the one on the wrong shelf.
  11. cosmo1

    cosmo1 Now, a low life jack wagon, and still loving it.

    I'm sure the chips are capable of enough discreet codes to not interfere with one another.

    How many discrete 1Z codes are available before they start to repeat?
  12. dudebro

    dudebro Active Member

    Roughly 10 million per shipper number / service combo. Every now and then, a very large shipper who sends out a lot of ground will have to do so under another shipper number. It's not the number of codes per se, it's that all of the labels are barking at the same frequency, or close.

    You have to solve the interference problem and still be sure you're not losing any 1Zs. As it is, the preload beacons bark on 3 frequencies over less than a second, and every so often the loader still gets 10 feet into the car before the scanner responds.
  13. Nike

    Nike Active Member

    what a waste of money and resources!
    UPS corporate is lucky I'm not there, I'd fire people for these wasteful ideas
  14. Ummmwhat

    Ummmwhat New Member

    They already do repeat.
  15. dudebro

    dudebro Active Member

    The company has been around 110 years. I'm guessing we're lucky you're not in UPS corporate.
  16. Over 70

    Over 70 Active Member

    They could slow the belt down a little so we don't have to stack mountains of boxes falling all over around the sides of the cars and misloads would probably decrease...
  17. So, if the loader doesn't scan all his packages for the day, will it show up on a report? Because our preload guys are asked to do way too much as it is. And now this.

    If I was a loader and I got behind I would stop scanning and just load the truck minus the scan. It will work well for loaders who are fast, but usually those were the guys not getting misloads to begin with. That's what I see in my center.
  18. dudebro

    dudebro Active Member

    We compare the scans to the SPAs for each car throughout the operation, so, if a loader isn't scanning, the management team will know.

    Also - with the preload scan, the customer gets a physical scan to the vehicle, as opposed to a logical scan out of the unload where the package is SPAd. With all the technology surrounding the package, it's just as important that we scan it as well as load it.
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  19. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt The Worst Mod Ever Staff Member

    Price point was never even close while I was there.
  20. Nike

    Nike Active Member

    Hey next time corporate has more great ideas, YOU can be the test guy for them.