UPS has announced the introduction of a new wearable scanning system for employees in its package-handling operation.
The express carrier hopes the devices will speed up the time to load packages into vehicles. The technology is also aimed at getting package updates into the system faster for enhanced customer tracking.
The new device, made by Motorola Solutions, is a hands-free, ring-like imager that is worn on a finger and a small terminal worn on the employee's wrist or hip. The ring imager scans packages with a label-sensing technology and should allow employees to more quickly upload barcodes compared to the current point-and-shoot scanners.
The scanner sends the information to the worn terminal via Bluetooth, and uploads data to UPS’ facilities over in-house Wi-Fi networks. Those facilities then send the information to global data centers where it's processed and stored.
UPS said the technology improvement will improve package and data reliability in its systems. Calling the approach “link and load,” UPS said the scans from these devices and others are currently providing data for 32.1 million tracking requests made daily on UPS.com.
UPS also said the system should help prevent mis-loads. The new devices read the service-level and ZIP code of packages when scanned, and provide both audible and visual alerts to the employee if the box is about to be placed in the wrong trailer or air container.
UPS began deploying the new system last year and now 28,000 ring imagers and terminal devices are currently in use at 480 facilities. UPS said its deployment of the devices will be finished by the end of 2013, reaching 38,000 ring imagers in use at 1,383 locations. - Geoff Whiting