United Parcel Service (UPS) started out in 1907 in a closet-sized basement office. Jim Casey and Claude Ryan- two teenagers from Seattle with two bicycles and one phone- promised the “best service and lowest rates.” UPS has used this formula successfully for more than 90 years to become the world’s largest ground and air Package-distribution Company. It is a global enterprise with more than 425,000 employees, 93,000 vehicles, and the world’s ninth largest airline.
Today UPS delivers more than 15 million parcels and documents each day in the United States and more than 200 other countries and territories.
The firm has been able to maintain leadership in small-package delivery services despite stiff competition from FedEx and Airborne Express by investing heavily in advanced information technology. UPS spends more than $1 billion each year to maintain a high level of costumer service while keeping costs low and streamlining its overall operations.
It all starts with the scannable bar-coded label attached to a package, which contains detailed information about the sender, the destination, and when the package should arrive. Customers can download and print their own labels using special software provided by UPS or by accessing the UPS’s computer center in Mahwah, New Jersey, o Alpharetta, Georgia, and sent to the distribution center nearest its final destination. Dispatchers at this center download the label data and use special software to create the most efficient delivery route for each driver that considers traffic, weather conditions, and the location of each stop. UPS estimates its delivery trucks save 28 million miles and burn 3 million fewer gallons of fuel each year as a result of using this technology.
The first thing a UPS driver picks up each day is a handheld computer called a Delivery Information Acquisition Devise (DIAD), which can access one of the wireless networks cell phones rely on. As...