UPS Speeds ORION Deployment And Takes Routing Optimization To New Heights

Discussion in 'UPS Pressroom News' started by cheryl, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. cheryl

    cheryl I started this. Staff Member

    Innovative software cuts miles, reduces fuel and sets stage for more personalized customer services

    UPS® announced the launch of its impactful route optimization software known as ORION, which stands for On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation. ORION has a team of 500 dedicated resources to move the U.S deployment forward as UPS nears its busy holiday season. The rollout of ORION will optimize 10,000 delivery routes by the end of the year, reduce miles driven and reinforce UPS's sustainability efforts.

    Most routes implemented with ORION have shown a mileage reduction. By the end of this year, the company expects to save more than 1.5 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14,000 metric tonnes. A reduction of just one mile each day per driver over the course of a year saves the company up to $50 million annually.

    ORION consists of more than 250 million address data points. The sophisticated software combines customer's shipping requirements with customized map data the company has compiled to provide UPS drivers with optimized routing instructions that meet service-level requirements, while reducing miles driven.

    Tom Davenport, International Analytics Institute co-founder and Babson College professor states, "UPS is one of the best examples of pushing analytics out to front-line processes - delivery routing in particular. This initiative, ORION, is arguably the world's largest operations research project. It relies heavily on online map data and optimization algorithms, and will eventually reconfigure a driver's pick-ups and drop-offs in real time."

    "The development and deployment of ORION is one of the strongest examples of our company's commitment to continual investments in operational and customer technologies to deliver significant operational benefits, taking advanced mapping and route optimization to new levels," said Dave Barnes, UPS senior vice president and chief information officer. "These benefits range from cost savings to positive environmental impacts and enable our company to raise the bar even higher on efficiency and customer service."

    ORION is the result of a long-term operational technology commitment, more than a decade in the making. To gather the necessary data, UPS operations research scientists began piloting telematics technologies with the installation of advanced GPS tracking equipment and vehicle sensors in 2008. The integration of these technologies allows UPS to capture data related to vehicle routes and performance and driver safety. The driver's handheld mobile device and telematics technologies combined with custom mapping data and ORION algorithms provide more efficient routes for UPS drivers.

    UPS prototyped ORION technology at 11 different sites between 2008 and 2011 and engaged senior UPS drivers to "beat the computer." This challenge helped to identify business rules to bolster the algorithm. UPS driver Tim Ahn said, "I get options that I would have actually never thought of before. It's a new way of thinking to make me more efficient."

    The number of route combinations a UPS driver with an average of 120 daily deliveries could make is a number far greater than the number of nanoseconds the earth has existed. ORION is constantly evaluating routing options up to the moment a driver leaves the UPS facility. At full deployment it will be running tens of thousands route optimizations per minute.

    ORION will enable future enhancements to the popular MyChoice service, providing close to six million consumers with the ultimate flexibility over their home deliveries by way of rerouting shipments and adjusting delivery locations and dates.

    U.S. deployment to nearly all 55,000 routes is planned to be completed in 2017 and global deployments are planned for the future.

    Photos and video of ORION on the job can be found at
  2. UPSGUY72

    UPSGUY72 Well-Known Member

    What a bunch of BS....
  3. bmwmc

    bmwmc Active Member

    Total BS.
  4. 728ups

    728ups offending people on the internet since 1995

    this is ALMOST as good as the articles stating we dont make left turns either!
  5. 728ups

    728ups offending people on the internet since 1995

    cant wait cant wait cant wait!!!! unlike some here, i will be 100% EVERY day!
  6. upschuck

    upschuck Well-Known Member

    We've had drivers as much as 50 miles under what Orion said. The seasoned driver always knows best.
  7. oldngray

    oldngray nowhere special

    What are the odds of UPS claiming that 50 mile reduction is due to Orion, not driver knowledge?
  8. upschuck

    upschuck Well-Known Member

    Orion tells you how many miles your route is suppose to take, driver did it in 50 less miles. Had a PCM about not showing up Orion.
  9. InsideUPS

    InsideUPS Active Member

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013

    HEFFERNAN Huge Member

    Here's my thoughts of ORION after it was forced on me this week

    1) I kept an open mind and worked with the ORION sup. We worked together and we were able to set a plan that saves miles but keeps my day feeling normal

    2) I lose so much time in the back of the truck , IT'S RIDICULOUS. I am used to the method of clearing 1000 then 2000, when I get to 3000, I use the empty shelf space in 1000 2000 to help set my next 10 stops. Now I do 1000, do 2000 BACKWARDS and in the middle of that find 2 packages in the 3000 section where I have no room to sort.

    3) I am given the freedom to skip around a bit if I choose. They want 85% trace

    4) It is flawed in every conceivable way that the shortest route is the fastest route. Anyone with a GPS unit in their car know that taking the shortest route is about 99% the wrong move. There is probably a 500% increase in left hand turns now which means more idling and time wasted, which is something UPS gloated about when EDD rolled out.

    5) Now the ORION computer assumes that at some delivery points I will be backing into driveways and going the way I came after the stop. This is something I've been giving a warning letter about when residential backing was the "flavor of the month". It is total BS that now it is ok.

    6) My paid day has risen by over an hour for the same amount of work. If Atlanta is going to save $5 of gas but pay me $50 bucks extra to do it, you better rethink that UPS stock

    I feel some parts of the ORION system are nice, but if you have a supervisor that wants to cut more miles than needs to be cut, it will make that route a nightmare. I use the ORION stop for stop in residential neighborhoods, but feel it is very unnecessary for my AM routine where EDD is the most optimized way to get it done.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  11. InsideUPS

    InsideUPS Active Member

    Thank you for your in-depth analysis and opinions Heffernan.

    The "penny wise - pound foolish" principle once again applies to UPS corporate mentality. UPS Corporate is publicizing this system simply to raise stock prices. The general public has no idea about the actual effectiveness of the ORION system.

    The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article certainly has some interesting comments from drivers and apparent management at:

    UPS Says Automated Routing Will Transform Package Delivery - The CIO Report - WSJ

    One of the more interesting comments:

    • TechGrrl1972 wrote:
    A long time ago, I was a UPS driver. On pickups, I had a sequence of 4 stops that went like this: 1) back up to dock at wire/bolt factory. Wave at fork lift driver, who would bring pallet of heavy boxes full of metal to dock for loading. 2) While he did that, I signed book, went out back door to 3 stops across the street. 3) Grabbed those packages (normally very few, and lightweight) and wound up back at loading dock. 4) Loaded packages off pallet, got out of there. When my supervisor rode with me to learn route so he could teach it to Xmas hire, he almost got left behind because he turned back at wrong time and missed my exit out back door and return to dock.
    Then I spent 30 years in IE/technology working to improve processes and reduce costs. Trust me, the current crop of computer geniuses at Corp HQ does not understand either the work of the actual delivery drivers, nor the mathematical theory behind optimization. They are chasing pennies and leaving dollars on the floor.

    Inside are the consequences of ORION at our centers - The package holding areas are filling up with more NSN's, CNL's, etc. as drivers are informed to bring back stops if their mileage limits are exceeded. Looks like an early Christmas in our center at the moment.

    It is VERY tragic to watch the company that I started with 35 years ago change into a Wall Street pleasing entity that I hardly recognize today. I truly do feel sorry for younger employees including management. UPS corporate is slowly draining the incentives of hard work that come with pride, loyalty, and partnership.
  12. worldwide

    worldwide Active Member

    My opinion is that this is just starting to roll out and no one is promising instant results. In fact, one of the articles I just read sums it up pretty nicely:

    "...But Perez acknowledges that the system is still early in what it can do. ORION won’t be using real-time data until later versions, meaning it won’t be able to anticipate bad weather, traffic or other variables that could mean the difference in slowing down a driver’s route. That type of dynamic data will have to wait for later releases.

    North American customers might also have to wait a couple years to see the benefits from ORION. The software will be active across almost 10,000 drivers and routes by year’s end, but there are 55,000 routes to get to overall."

    It's going to take a couple years before the FULL benefits of the system are realized. UPS is certainly not perfect but generally speaking, when they make large, strategic decisions, they are typically well planned and end up being successful. It's human nature to resist change but I think in the end, this system will be beneficial. Like anything else new, there will be bumps along the way while it is introduced. Think about the first DIAD - it was a monster to hold and went into "base-com" mode constantly, requiring paper delivery records to be kept on car as back. Can anyone imagine not using a DIAD now?

    Meet ORION, Software That Will Save UPS Millions By Improving Drivers' Routes - Forbes
  13. CharleyHustle

    CharleyHustle Active Member

    No, they aren't "promising instant results", they are demanding instant results. You basicly are repeating the talking points that we hear everyday that our facilitators use to hide the true intentions of the company for their hourly employees.

    Let's say that managers(facilitators) in a certain operation, have for the last 10 years done everything they can do to reduce miles, relooped, dispatched, and coached drivers on miles reduction. Now in comes Orion, with the expectation of a 15% miles reduction upon implementation, that thanks to the previous hard work by the center is not obtainable. I think the heat is going to come down hard on these sups, or individual drivers who can't produce these reductions.

    I remember those days on paper records. They were days of 30-50 less stops 100-200 less packages. In other words, I'd go back to paper in a heartbeat.
  14. InsideUPS

    InsideUPS Active Member

    What UPS is trying to develop here appears to be some form of AI (Artificial Intelligence). Orion depends on input from the DRIVERS, CENTER MANAGERS, and ON ROAD SUPERVISORS working together. For Perez to state that Orion is "BETTER" than drivers is absurd and not logical. The system is only as good as the input it receives......basically the ...... Garbage In - Garbage Out reality of computer programming.

    Hopefully the total cost of this project includes the costs of accidents caused by the increased backing into driveways, etc.. not to mention the additional costs of lower gas mileage as drivers wait for changing traffic lights because that route had less mileage. Interesting how the "rules" have changed to make this system "appear" to work.

    As you stated Worldwide....time will tell...... Now...if only UPS would invest in upgrading all the old DOS based programs that we use on a daily basis.