UPS Delivers On Data - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Data Management // Big Data Analytics
News
4/29/2015
08:06 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

UPS Delivers On Data

At the InformationWeek Conference, data rock star Jackie Woods told the story of how UPS went down the data highway from 2003 to the present. It is a story about being "constructively dissatisfied."

Jackie Woods was asked to speak at the InformationWeek Conference (co-located with Interop) as a "Data Rock Star" and she delivered a pretty impressive set, telling the story of how UPS went down the data highway from 2003 to the present. It is a story about being "constructively dissatisfied."

Before you have a sense of the journey, you have to know where UPS was in 2003. According to Woods everything was done by hand. She painted a picture of hand-written manifests with package data and addresses scrawled by drivers and dispatchers. Drivers had to literally remember how their trucks were laid out in order to navigate them to get boxes off the truck in the right order.

They learned four lessons on the journey from hand-crafted to data-driven.

"The first thing we learned is that it had to be easy to configure," Woods said, "Push button if we could." The package center is a chaotic place and while dispatchers are highly trained, they're not data professionals. So if you were asking them to input information or react to it, it needs to be as simple as possible. "If Apple taught us anything it was user experience, user experience, user experience."

Read the other three lessons and more on our sister site, All Analytics.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
batye
50%
50%
batye,
User Rank: Ninja
5/5/2015 | 1:57:16 AM
Re: UPS and data
@vnewman2, interesting point... as our nature to do things easy way... How I see it... and if some one could do it for us... why not??? why not???
batye
50%
50%
batye,
User Rank: Ninja
5/5/2015 | 1:55:42 AM
Re: UPS and data
@tzubair, I have to disagree as this days almost all Co. swining in data... some data is golden and some is a junk... but with data... you never know... it true value to the end.... how I see it...
batye
50%
50%
batye,
User Rank: Ninja
5/5/2015 | 1:53:46 AM
Re: UPS and data
@Li Tan, about UPS this days I would not be sure... as in Canada UPS do trying to fight with Canada Post...
batye
50%
50%
batye,
User Rank: Ninja
5/5/2015 | 1:52:21 AM
Re: UPS and data
@David Wagner but Amazon always acts like a game changer what ever we like it or not... plus this days Amazon like each Co. on the market trying to save any way possible...
Li Tan
50%
50%
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
5/4/2015 | 9:10:00 AM
Re: UPS and data
Considering the data-driven strategy as a whole instead of putting individual parts to silo is key to success. UPS is a good example on this asepct. Furthermore, I think they always try to focus on specific stuff instead of being attracted/scattered by different (even conflicting) business objectives.
tzubair
50%
50%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
4/30/2015 | 9:17:55 PM
Re: UPS and data
@David: Other than focus, do you think it's also the fact that they're into a business where tons of data is available at each point in their Value Chain? They're able to track and record KPIs in whatever they are doing. And that data eventually (along with the focus) helps in adding great value to the company. Other companies, (e.g an FMCG company) may not have that large amount of data at their disposal to take advantage of.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/30/2015 | 3:19:46 PM
Re: UPS and data
@vnewman2- I'm not sure it is the drone specifically. But I do see what you are saying. Much like Amazon founded cloud services to make a product out of an expertise, logistics is an Amazon expertise. They have warehouses and ability to move packages around. They have the ability to handles millions of orders at once. 

the only thing they lack is trucks. If they can make the business case that there is money in taking boxes for the last mile or two themselves, they will.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/30/2015 | 3:14:31 PM
Re: UPS and data
@vnewman2- I'm sure that is the case in places. They are cash strapped. But I need to say from the point of view of my experience, there is little technological difference in what I see UPS and USPS using in my neighborhood. I'm guessing they don't have the money to roll it out everywhere.
vnewman2
50%
50%
vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
4/30/2015 | 2:26:28 PM
Re: UPS and data
As an aside, I feel like the biggest competitor to UPS, Fedex, or USPS is not each other - it's Amazon.

Many, many times I've decided against shipping something myself.  If I need a gift to send to someone, I never go buy one and ship it.  I buy it from Amazon and let them take care of that shipping hassle for me.  There have been times where I've opted against shipping something I already had (returned it) and bought it again through Amazon JUST to avoid dealing with shipping.

I can't wait until I can use my own personal Amazon drone to just deliver things for me.  Or better yet, I can print out my own drone on my 3-D printer and let them do the dirty work.
vnewman2
50%
50%
vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
4/30/2015 | 2:15:10 PM
Re: UPS and data
@David - yes, that's definitely one of the benefits of UPS over USPS - flexibility.  Since our government entities aren't really known for their ability to adapt and change easily or quickly, I'm sure this won't be coming down the pike anytime soon.

I honestly haven't been to the post office in such a long time that I couldn't tell you if they are using handhelds and barcodes.  Every time I pass by there is a line out the door with only a few tellers and many of the satellite post offices have closed.  There's a UPS store next door with short lines, lots of staff and even though it is usually more expensive, they help package things up if you need it and even let you use some tape!!!  The extra couple of bucks is totally worth less hassle for me.

Our mail carrier wears a headlight (like a miner) and delivers the mail at 8pm because they are so overworked and understaffed.  It's been this way for quite some time.  How much longer can they operate this way?
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Slideshows
IT Careers: 12 Job Skills in Demand for 2020
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/1/2019
Commentary
Enterprise Guide to Multi-Cloud Adoption
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  9/27/2019
Commentary
5 Ways CIOs Can Better Compete to Recruit Top Tech Talent
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  10/2/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Data Science and AI in the Fast Lane
This IT Trend Report will help you gain insight into how quickly and dramatically data science is influencing how enterprises are managed and where they will derive business success. Read the report today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll