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UPS uses beacons to quell shipping errors


UPS is taking steps to improve order accuracy.

A new program called Preload Smart Scan notifies workers if they have placed an item in the wrong delivery vehicle. Historically, these snafus forced drivers to travel miles out of their way to correct the mistakes.

Preload Smart Scan uses smart technology to avoid this issue. Specifically, the program comprises Bluetooth-enabled beacons that communicate with package-scanning devices worn by UPS employees as they load packages onto vehicles. The scanners, which read package labels, are programed to know where a package belongs in a specific vehicle.

The beacons send signals that are unique to certain vehicles and their position within the vehicle. The scanners detect those signals. If a package enters the wrong car or truck, the scanner will notify the loader of the error.

“This is an important step toward improving accuracy in our operation,” said John Dodero, UPS VP of industrial engineering. “It raises the level of service we provide to our customers. It also makes us more efficient and generates valuable cost savings.”

UPS beacons will be in 301 U.S. locations this year, reaching a total of 28% of U.S. facilities, and 47% of U.S. package cars. UPS also plans to expand the initiative to facilities internationally, according to the company.

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