How UPS improves the delivery process with analytics

Waiting for a package to be delivered? At UPS, global leader in logistics, they get the job done. Every day, UPS delivers 19.1 million packages across more than 220 countries. Managing transportation at such a scale is a significant challenge.

In order to overcome that challenge, UPS has embraced big data as a vital part of their organization. It enables them to improve operations, and helps employees make better decisions. In this article, you’ll discover how!

Shorter, faster, better delivery routes with Orion

UPS uses data for many purposes. However, one of the most crucial domains is fleet optimization. With over 55,000 drivers, covering millions of delivery miles, their delivery routes need to be optimal.

So, how does UPS make sure to plan the shortest, fastest and most efficient route possible, for each single driver? Meet Orion: their advanced fleet management system.

UPS Orion optimizing delivery routes in realtimeImage by UPS

Orion uses an advanced algorithm to calculate the most ideal route for a driver. The algorithm learns from data of former driving routes. Where are drivers losing time? Why are they losing time there? Which alternatives have proven to be faster? In fact, these questions are all answered by combining big data, captured through GPS tracking, vehicle sensors, and drivers’ mobile devices.

From all this data, UPS gains new insights to optimize their own operations, and improve the experience for customers.

Saving millions of dollars by making the right turns

Orion brought one major issue to light: making left turns turned out to be very inefficient. Vehicles wasted a lot of time & gas, as they were going against the flow of traffic. This enabled them to make a crucial decision: avoiding left turns as much as possible.

This simple rule caused incredible profits to the company. By the end of 2016, UPS saved:

  • 10 million gallons of gas (annually)
  • $300-400 million worth of costs
  • reduced 100,000 metric tons in carbon emissions (which equals pulling 5,300 cars off the road annually)

UPS optimization of routes by making right turns

Not only did they save time & money within the organization. They also had a positive impact on the environment. What’s more, customer satisfaction increases because of faster deliveries.

Future plans at UPS: changing routes in real time

Currently, delivery routes are created before the driver starts his route. They remain static throughout the day. However, the next update of Orion should enable UPS to give advice to drivers while they’re on the go:

  • Orion will include higher levels of route optimization than before; delivery drivers will receive that info as navigation advice during their delivery round
  • Orion will use big data to optimize routes dynamically. This means that the system will automatically change routes in real time, while the driver is completing his deliveries. In that way, UPS can anticipate traffic jams, bad weather or other delays.

Juan Perez, CIO at UPS, is very positive about the change data analysis has brought about for the company: “The conversation about data is now much more active,” says Perez. “That higher level of collaboration provides benefits for everyone.”

UPS drivers get better driving instructions thanks to data analysisImage by UPS

Get more out of your company’s data

Inspired by the potential that data can unleash? But worried about the infrastructural and technical needs within your own company? You shouldn’t worry. Any company can get more out of their data. And data analysis can be accessible to any employee! At a feasible cost, without technical knowledge required.

Learn more about building powerful data dashboards in, or integrating dashboards inside your own existing applications. Start analyzing your data today, and boost your business tomorrow!

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