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UPS deploys beacon technology to reduce rate of misloaded packages

UPS has unveiled its plans to install 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, 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 and notify the loader if a package enters the wrong vehicle.

Mistakenly loaded packages waste time and money and can cause UPS to miss its service commitments. Drivers with a misloaded package on board often have to travel miles out of their way to correct the mistake.

John Dodero, vice president of industrial engineering, UPS, said, “This is an important step toward improving accuracy in our operation. 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 several projects under the UPS Enhanced Dynamic Global Execution (EDGE) 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 per 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% reduction in misloads.

UPS plans to install beacons in 301 US locations this year, reaching a total of 28% of US facilities and 47% of US package cars. UPS also plans to expand the initiative to facilities internationally.

April 19, 2017


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