UPS Deploys Wearable Scanning System

New system to speed package loading for delivery and improve label scanning process


AtlantaAugust 2, 2012—Global logistics service provider UPS deployed a new type of “wearable” scanning system for employees to accelerate the loading of packages into vehicles and the delivery of visibility information to customers.

Made by Motorola Solutions, the new device consists of a hands-free imager that is worn on a finger and a small terminal worn on the employee's wrist or hip. The ring imager automatically scans based on label-sensing technology to allow UPS employees to more quickly image barcodes compared to the current “point and shoot” method with existing equipment.

The improved technology enables UPS to accelerate the transfer of package tracking data to customers and improves package travel reliability through the system. Internally referred to as “link and load,” the scans are key to providing the tracking data that feeds the 32.1 million tracking requests viewed daily on ups.com.

With the new equipment, the ring scanner sends each package's tracking information via Bluetooth to the terminal worn on the wrist or hip. The data is then transmitted over Wi-Fi to the UPS facility network and ultimately to UPS's global data centers to be stored and processed to be quickly accessed by customers.

The data captured by the imager includes two-dimensional and traditional one-dimensional barcodes. These barcodes reside on all UPS shipping labels and contain pertinent shipment tracking information about the package destination. The imager reads the service level and ZIP code and verifies whether the package is being loaded into the proper trailer or air container. An audible and visible alert identifies any package that's about to be loaded incorrectly to help UPS avoid service disruptions. The two-dimensional imager also has improved the tracking number “read rate,” reducing the need for key entry by employees.

“UPS is always examining new ways to improve our delivery reliability and provide timely and accurate shipment information to our customers," said Juan Perez, Vice President of Information Services, UPS. “Effectively deploying mobile and pervasive computing technologies like this allows us to achieve those goals, with higher performance, and a more rugged, longer- lasting piece of hardware.”

UPS began deploying the new system last year and 28,000 ring imager and terminal devices are currently in use at 480 facilities. The deployment will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2013 with more than 38,000 ring imager and terminal devices in use at 1,383 facilities.

“UPS is known for its dedication to exploring innovative solutions to improve productivity, so we view the deployment of this equipment as recognition of Motorola Solutions' industry leadership position in enterprise solutions such as barcode scanning,” said Girish Rishi, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Mobile Computing, Motorola Solutions. “The RS507 Bluetooth ring imager, in combination with our robust wireless network and wearable mobile computer, increases scanning efficiency and streamlines the barcode reading process, ultimately improving worker output and cost efficiencies.”

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