Senior Director of I.S. Customer Engagement Technology, UPS
UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS has 435,000 employees globally.
Customers who are expecting an important package such as their new iPhone are anxious about exactly when the UPS driver will come to their doorstep. Prior to this service being launched, receivers only knew that their important package would be delivered on a given day in accordance with the service commitments of the delivery service level selected. However, they did not know exactly when their package would be delivered.
In focus groups these receivers noted that they experienced a great deal of anxiety from not knowing when their important packages would be delivered. They sometimes felt that they were trapped in their homes till their UPS driver came by. They also tended to make extra phone calls to the shipper and also to UPS to find exactly when the UPS driver would be arriving.
UPS has long offered visibility solutions for the majority of a package’s journey, but the experience culminated once the package was “Out for Delivery.” This left uncertainty among customers who wanted to know where their packages were during the final and most critical leg of the journey. The GPS location data sources already existed in UPS drivers’ handheld devices, but the systems to utilize the data and present it in a graphical user interface had to be created. Navigating the massive complexities of UPS systems required a collaborative effort across multiple functions. Operational actions guide the entire user experience: A driver loads the day’s workload to a handheld device, which triggers the email or SMS alert that allows the customer to link to a live map showing the driver’s location. As the driver progresses along his route, the map automatically refreshes with updated GPS coordinates until the delivery is complete.
UPS has a steadfast history of balancing efficiency and customer experience. Without sacrificing operational efficiency, Follow My Delivery has helped improved customer satisfaction with regards to the delivery experience.
The package delivery industry has long competed amongst itself with only a small number of major competitors. This project addressed a problem born out of changing consumer expectations, guided by market-adjacent delivery business models. In order to maintain its position as the market leader, UPS does not stop at parity. The organization has learned to keep track of evolving technologies beyond its primary competition. Follow My Delivery is a prime example of UPS continuing to develop new technology solutions within the package delivery industry.
Based on a user experience survey conducted by UPS among Follow My Delivery users, the service received an average usefulness rating of 81.2% (4.06 out of 5 stars.) Additionally, 65% of respondents have a More Favorable opinion of UPS after using the Follow My Delivery tool. Consumers can leave their feedback on the service through a customer feedback portal on the Follow My Delivery map.
As of April 22, 2017 we have sent Follow My Delivery alerts for 8.9 million packages within the US.
Upon its initial launch in May 2016, Follow My Delivery was available through UPS® Next Day Air and UPS Worldwide Express®. Eligible services were expanded for select locations in October with plans for further expansion within the US in Q3 2017.
Bing supports the mapping services and Syniverse supports all the SMS services which now includes Follow My Delivery SMS alerts. Customers receive an alert, via email or SMS that a package is on the way. UPS leveraged Bing APIs to display a map which contains the location of the delivery point as well as where customers’ packages are currently located en route. The package location is automatically updated as the package progresses to the delivery point.
Follow My Delivery is a tracking solution unlike any seen among major US carriers. Presenting accurate, live maps for thousands of packages on a daily basis requires immense coordination and support across the entire organization. In the past, this type of project would likely take over a year to plan for the variability of operations on UPS’s scale. However, with speed to market being a primary objective, Follow My Delivery was launched in under three months. Leadership held shared goals and created a truly collaborative group including representatives from functions such as IT, Marketing, Operations, and Industrial Engineering.
Based on learnings gathered from internal and external feedback, the project team made continual enhancements to the service through subsequent releases. This iterative development approach has helped change the way the organization looks at project management. More than ever, UPS values the speed at which the organization moves forward.
In today’s marketplace, companies are expected to constantly be on the cutting edge of technology and innovation, dreaming up “the next big thing.” UPS embraces this challenge, long ago having adopted the operational philosophy of constructive dissatisfaction; UPS strives to anticipate the future needs of customers, and develop solutions to problems that don’t yet exist. UPS is the first major US carrier to offer map-based tracking such as Follow My Delivery.