Opening a "Window" into Shipment Information with New UPS App

Hard Rock Cafe, Mitsubishi Motors among companies using Web-based app from UPS to track goods in motion

Hard Rock Cafe, Mitsubishi Motors among companies using Web-based app from UPS to track goods in motion

Atlanta  February 9, 2004  When Hard Rock Cafe ships a Jimi Hendrix guitar, Beatles memorabilia or even a $20,000 computer server to one of its 113 locations worldwide, the company uses a new application from shipping giant UPS to closely monitor when an item is ordered, when it is sent, when it arrives and why a delivery might be interrupted, such as by weather or customs.

The new solution, Quantum View Manage, launched in January, is a Web-based application that allows shippers to view shipment information for multiple accounts without a tracking number, so they can see when a package is processed, in transit or when it arrives, or if and why it is delayed. That information, in turn, can be used to accelerate cash flow and better manage inventory, UPS suggests.

The application already is in use at shippers of new release films, DVDs and CDs, advertising and promotional materials, contracts and perishables. Other industries that have applied the application include wholesale trade, manufacturing, retail and business services, according to UPS.

With the application, users can create customized views, with data elements most relevant to the user, of shipment history for outbound and third party-billed shipments. For example, a finance department can use the confirmed delivery notice to automatically trigger invoices and can customize its view to see all outstanding C.O.D.'s. A customer service department can elect to receive  and have its customers receive  proactive e-mail notification when a package is shipped, when it arrives or if it's delayed.

"By opening a window into customers' supply chains, Quantum View Manage enables more proactive package shipment management, allowing companies to improve efficiency, better manage costs and inventory and enhance customer relationships," said Jordan Colletta, UPS vice president of e-commerce marketing.

UPS said that it intends to add functionality for customs brokerage reports for international shipments and the ability to help resolve brokerage exceptions, which can help companies satisfy U.S. Customs requirements for international shipments in the post-Sept. 11 environment.

More than 600 UPS customers piloted Quantum View Manage, and all have migrated to the offering, which became generally available in January, according to UPS. Hard Rock Cafe, for instance, is using the application to monitor shipments to its locations around the globe. Hard Rock's e-commerce fulfillment manager, Paul Farah, uses Quantum View Manage to set a default so he will be alerted by e-mail if a problem occurs, rather than having to review every entry. With that information, he says he's able to address the issue and provide customer service proactively. Farah estimates the feature saves him "three hours a day ... and time is money."

Other companies using the application include Los Angeles-based Forever 21, which uses Quantum View Manage to track shipments of clothing to its more than 145 stores in 25 states and Canada. "If we're running short on a hot-selling item in Miami or Edmonton, it's imperative that we replenish our inventory immediately, and the visibility provided by Quantum View Manage is crucial," said Chan Chau, traffic manager for the retailer. "Previously, a shipping manager spent most of his day researching the status of clothing heading for our various stores."

Attleboro, Mass.-based uses the application to help service customers who purchase the company's made-to-order gift baskets, according to Customer Service Manager Brad Boudreau. "If a delivery is delayed because of an incorrect address, or because a customer wasn't present when delivery was attempted, we know immediately, and can call our customer to let them know," Boudreau said. "We've enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty, and Quantum View Manage has helped us cut the time we spend responding to 'where's my order' calls in half."

Elsewhere, Mitsubishi Motors uses Quantum View Manage to monitor international packages going to Canada. Mitsubishi can pinpoint delays due to incorrect addresses and custom delays, and e-mail package status information to its shipping locations, according to UPS.

UPS provides Quantum View services to customers as a value-added service. The company has found that customers who use Quantum View services tend to ship more packages, Colletta said.