August 28, 2012
UPS COMPETES GLOBALLY WITH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. What are the inputs, processing, and outputs of UPS’s package tracking system?
Inputs| Processing| Outputs|
Smart Label created and attached to package (customer inputs various types of data)| Information from label about the sender, the destination, and delivery date is transmitted to UPS computer center| Package information is read by computer and sent to the distribution center nearest its final destination| Dispatchers at distribution center download label data| Special software calculates the most efficient delivery route for each driver that accounts for traffic, weather, and locations of each stop| Customized route is created and assigned to each driver| Driver Logs on DIAD| Driver is verified & customized route is download to DIAD| Route is available for driver on DIAD to read| Driver delivers or receives a package| Package tracking info is transmitted to UPS network for storage & processing| Information is available worldwide to provide proof of delivery to customers or respond to inquiries| Driver delivers a package & Customer signs for package| Signature & delivery info transmitted to UPS network for storage & processing| | Various points along route: bar code devices scan info on package label| Data about the progress of the package is fed into central computers| Employees can check the status of any package from computers linked to central computers| | | Customers can access information from UPS website using their computer or mobile phone|
2. What technologies are used by UPS? How are these technologies related to UPS’s business strategy? The technologies used by UPS include various types of custom software for a variety of tasks, such as creating scannable bar-coded labels, creating efficient delivery routes, capturing customer signatures, and providing up-to-the-minute tracking information. They also utilize an automated packaging tracking system to monitor, and even re-route, packages throughout the delivery process using bar-code scanning devices to scan label information to gather data about the progress of packages and upload that data to a central computer so that employees and customers can access the information anytime. Their drivers utilize a handheld wireless computer, called a DIAD, which uses cellular networks to automatically capture customer signatures along with pickup and delivery information of packages which is then transmitted to UPS’s network for storage and processing. Additionally, UPS uses websites and custom software, to allow provide access for customers or potential customers, to check delivery routes, calculate shipping rates, determine time in transit, create and print labels, schedule pickups, and track packages.
The various technologies utilized by UPS are all related to their business strategy of providing the “best service and lowest rates”, because they allow the company to provide a very high level of customer service while also keeping their costs as low as possible. It has also allowed them to expand their business from solely small-package delivery services to leveraging their vast logistics expertise to manage logistics and supply chain activities for other companies around the world. It has also allowed them to offer a Web-based Post-Sales Order Management System to manage global service orders and inventory for critical parts fulfillment. Their ability to offer the services they do is the direct result of their implementation, use of and investment in advanced information systems.
3. What strategic business objectives do UPS’s information systems address? The strategic business objectives of UPS are to provide the best service at the lowest rates so as to maintain a global leadership position in small-package delivery services. The information systems utilized by...