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Analyze This.

“Analytics” is one of those terms that can make the general public wince. It sounds like so much corporate wonkiness. But if John Q. Public knew that UPS uses analytics to reduce the environmental impact of all those brown delivery trucks, he might be interested in learning more about business analytics. Well, maybe.

A recent issue of DC Velocity magazine pointed out that the emergence of analytics software is a logistics game-changer. UPS couldn’t agree more. We’ve employed analytics with some award-winning results in our small package operation. One of the latest initiatives combines telematics technology with advanced algorithms and proprietary firmware to analyze a stream of data collected from sensors placed on the company’s famous brown delivery trucks. Voila! It’s an analytics application of mega proportions.

UPS Natural Gas Package CarTo put it simply, the telematics initiative allows UPS to draw a picture of the driver’s – and the truck’s – day. It captures data on more than 200 vehicle-related elements – everything from speed, RPMs, and oil pressure to seatbelt use, the number of times the truck is placed in reverse and the amount of time spent idling. By the end of this year, 32,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada will be equipped with the technology and all that data will be analyzed.

UPS began the initiative in 2008 and the results have been staggering. Telematics helps reduce the amount of time spent idling by 15 minutes per driver per day. That equates to 25 gallons of fuel per driver per year. When fully deployed in the small package fleet in the U.S.alone, the reduction of idle time by 15 minutes per day per driver will save 1.4 million gallons of fuel per year.

Analytics is also providing other fleet management cost-savings by enabling UPS to move from a scheduled, preventive-maintenance paradigm to a conditions-based paradigm. Prior to deploying telematics, UPS would replace a starter approximately every two years whether a vehicle did 150 stops a day or 30 stops a day. Thanks to analytics, UPS mechanics evaluate changing a starter when a sensor determines the starter is operating outside normal parameters. The mechanic will then perform an Electrical Service Check to properly diagnosis the issue and make proper maintenance decisions, thus replacing components based on their condition.

Moving forward, UPS will continue to reap the benefits of business analytics as it proceeds with deploying telematics in North America. The company also is evaluating an implementation in its European small package operation as well as at UPS Freight, the company’s truckload and less-than-truckload arm.

Thanks to analytics, UPS is delivering more packages with less environmental impact.

Category: Business Insights, Sustainability, UPS News
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