Hewlett-Packard And UPS Collaborate On Breakthroughs - InformationWeek
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Bob Evans
Bob Evans

Hewlett-Packard And UPS Collaborate On Breakthroughs

Hewlett-Packard's close relationship with UPS has led to two recent innovative breakthroughs that are very different in scale-data-center cooling versus handheld devices-but very similar in reducing waste and energy use while improving business results.

Hewlett-Packard's close relationship with UPS has led to two recent innovative breakthroughs that are very different in scale-data-center cooling versus handheld devices-but very similar in reducing waste and energy use while improving business results.Here's how UPS CIO Dave Barnes described the data-center innovation:

"Data centers are all about hot air and cold air," Barnes said over breakfast earlier this week. "We worked with HP to do a 3D modeling of thermal patterns across our entire Windward (near UPS Atlanta headquarters) data-center facility, from floor to ceiling."

Some of the results really surprised UPS, Barnes said. "For example, we saw from the thermal images that some chilled air was being picked up by exhaust fans and sucked out of the facility before it could get low enough in the room to cool the server devices it was intended to cool. We never expected that."

The analysis inspired the UPS team to "make some modifications to manage more effectively the flow of the chilled air"-and here Barnes chuckled-"but believe me, some of those modifications were not pretty-sheets of plastic and such, but they work. So we had some questions about whether we should take customers in there," he said with a smile. That large-scale thermal imaging project with HP caused the data-center team to reevaluate other parts of their operations with a goal of finding more inefficiencies and making further attempts to improve the performance of the data center while lowering energy usage, reducing emissions, and ensuring optimum reliability.

"If you keep those objectives in mind, there's an endless number of things to look into," Barnes said. To read more about the strategies and priorities of Barnes-one of the world's top CIOs-please check out our column from this week, Global CIO: UPS CIO Barnes Shatters Dangerous IT Stereotypes.

On the second project, HP and UPS collaborated to embed a small HP printing and scanning device into a key element of the package-delivery workflow to eliminate some steps in the process and reduce the volume of printed material by more than 1,300 tons per year, said UPS VP of information services Nick Costides.

Here's how Costides described the handheld breakthrough during his presentation at the UPS "Decision Green" seminar led by Barnes earlier this week in NYC:

"Another innovative technology that has cut down on our paper waste is the HP Handheld sp400 All-in-One-what we call the Imprinter. We collaborated closely with HP to develop a mobile, wireless printing/scanning solution to help with the process of loading packages into our delivery vehicles," Costides said.

Before the introduction of the Imprinter, employees at our package centers would scan the barcode on a shipping label, and the package information was then sent to the pre-load assist system, or P-A-S, to determine how the package should be sorted, Costides said. In turn, that decision generated a label that was printed and slapped on the box manually.

"Now, with the introduction of the Imprinter, we have improved the process, notably cutting down on our paper use," Costides said. Rather than printing out a paper label to apply to the package, the employee now uses the Imprinter to scan the shipping-label barcode, and then uses the inkjet printer in the handheld device to "imprint" the label directly onto the box.

"We're currently rolling out the device to our operation facilities with a goal of enabling 130 facilities by the end of this year," Costides said. "We are currently using the Imprinter to process an estimated 1.5 million packages per day and have seen incremental gains in process efficiencies and paper reduction of 1,338 tons per year."

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