UPS developing new driver handheld, growing in China

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Updated Jan 18, 2010

UPS and Honeywell announced they are teaming on a new-generation handheld computer for UPS drivers. UPS also announced plans to significantly increase its global service parts logistics (SPL) network by establishing 101 new field stocking locations (FSLs) in China.

UPS and Honeywell say the new handhelds will further improve communications links while adding a number of other industry-leading features. More than 100,000 of the Honeywell computers ultimately will be deployed. UPS will begin field-testing the device in late 2010 with plans to begin a multiyear global deployment in 2011. The device will be approved for operation in more than 100 countries.

Known internally at UPS as the DIAD V (Delivery Information Acquisition Device V), the Honeywell mobile computer features cellular technology designed to provide on-the-fly switching between cellular carriers, meaning the computer automatically can jump to another cellular carrier if the preferred carrier’s signal is lost. This technology, when combined with Honeywell’s 2D imaging capabilities, will help ensure package tracking and reliability.

At about half the size and weight of the DIAD IV, the new mobile computer will feature:

  • A color display and microprocessor with expanded memory – all to support driver training and future applications like navigation. For example, the DIAD V will enable maps to be displayed to help a driver avoid a traffic jam;
  • A color auto-focus flash camera to enhance proof-of-delivery and help resolve customer claims more quickly;
  • Faster Wi-Fi support (600 mbps) to enable larger and richer content downloads such as training videos to 90,000 drivers simultaneously;
  • A 2D imager that can decode many symbologies, including existing UPS linear barcodes and the UPS Maxicode, and thus speed the upload of additional package information at the time a package is first picked up. The 2D imager also will make it even easier to “capture” a clear view of a recipient’s signature.

    The FSLs in China, like their counterparts across the globe, will utilize the UPS Post Sales Order Management System (OMS), a Web-based system that enables companies located anywhere in the world to quickly assess their critical parts inventory, determine the most optimal routing strategy to meet customer needs, place orders online and track parts from the warehouse to the end user.

    “China is a critical part of the growth strategy of many companies worldwide, and UPS’s extensive regional and global FSL network enables companies to be well-positioned to support their aftermarket needs in Asia,” sats Brad Mitchell, president of UPS Logistics and Distribution.

    In May, UPS announced the expansion of its global FSL network in India and the opening of a new customer support center in the Philippines to meet around-the-clock SPL needs in Asia.