Package Firm Goes Wireless

Beginning in June, UPS began implementing wireless scanners at its 1,700 distribution centers. Worn like oversized rings, the scanners transmit information about packages to handlers' hip computers and ultimately into UPS's worldwide package tracking system. The project is part of a $250M technology upgrade that includes outfitting all its drivers with handheld computers beginning early next year. With the new wireless systems, data are put into the system immediately when a driver picks up or delivers a package, rather than waiting until he or she returns to the truck to input the information. Dispatchers also can send electronic messages to drivers' handhelds when they're in the field, allowing for unscheduled pickups or driver location verification. The upgrade to a single, unified wireless network will replace 11 different scanning technologies currently in use at UPS, thereby speeding the flow of package information and making it more readily available to both UPS workers and customers nationwide.

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