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Two UPS initiatives -- package flow technology and telematics -- offer examples of how the shipping company puts data to work. Package flow technology (PFT) is UPS's custom software that lets it deliver 16 million shipments per day by predicting package deliveries. Nearly all those packages now have data electronically transmitted to the company prior to UPS touching them. UPS uses this information to route products most efficiently to their destinations. UPS estimates its route-optimizing software saved it from driving 85 million miles in 2011, conserving 8.4 million gallons of fuel. In addition to supporting the PFT system, the package-level data helps UPS more accurately tell customers when a package will be delivered.
The second example, telematics, is the integration of telecommunications and informatics. UPS created a proprietary system of telematics that collects information on how a vehicle has been driven. The data lets UPS use delivery vehicles as "rolling laboratories" to test ideas for improving things such as fuel efficiency. UPS captures data on vehicle-related elements including speed, RPM, oil pressure and seat belt use. In 2012, UPS saved 206 million minutes of idling time from delivery drivers in more than 80,000 telematics-equipped vehicles.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.