UPS deploys new scanning device in its package sorting operation
UPS has announced the deployment of a new type of ‘wearable’ scanning system for employees that accelerates the loading of packages into vehicles and the delivery of visibility information to customers. The new device, made by Motorola Solutions, consists of a hands-free imager that is worn on a finger and a small terminal worn on the employee’s wrist or hip. The ring imager represents a major advance because it automatically scans based on label-sensing technology, enabling employees to image barcodes more quickly than with current ‘point and shoot’ equipment.
The improved technology enables UPS to accelerate the transfer of package tracking data to customers and improves package travel reliability through the system. The ring scanner sends each package’s tracking information via Bluetooth to the terminal worn on the wrist or hip. The data is then transmitted over WiFi to the UPS facility network and ultimately to UPS’s global data centres to be stored and processed for access by customers.
The data captured by the imager includes two-dimensional and one-dimensional barcodes. The imager reads the service level and postal code and verifies that the package is being loaded into the proper trailer or air container. An audible and visible alert identifies any package that’s about to be loaded incorrectly. The two-dimensional imager also has improved the tracking number read rate, reducing the need for key entry by employees.
“UPS is always examining new ways to improve our delivery reliability and provide timely and accurate shipment information to our customers,” said Juan Perez, UPS vice president of information services, “effectively deploying mobile and pervasive computing technologies like this allows us to achieve those goals, with higher performance and a more rugged, longer-lasting piece of hardware.”
UPS began deploying the new system last year and 28,000 ring imager and terminal devices are currently in use at 480 facilities. The deployment will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2013 with more than devices in use at 1,383 facilities.
DHL Supply Chain has completed a pilot project using automated robots to assist employees with order-picking tasks at a warehouse in Unna, Germany. Created by French startup, Effidence, the EffiBOT is a fully automated trolley that follows pickers through the warehouse undertaking any physically demanding tasks.
UPS has partnered with robotics firm Zipline and non-profit organization Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to begin trialing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the delivery of life-saving medicines, such as blood and vaccines, in countries with a poor logistics chain.
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