Much of its recently acquired Big Data comes from telematics sensors in over 46,000 vehicles. The data on UPS package trucks, for example, includes their speed, direction and braking. The data is not only used to monitor daily performance, but to drive a major redesign of UPS drivers' route structures.
This initiative, called ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimisation and Navigation), is arguably the world's largest operations research project. It also relies heavily on online map data, and will eventually reconfigure a driver's pickups and drop-offs in real time.
The project has already led to savings in 2011 of more than 8.4 million gallons of fuel by cutting 85 million miles off of daily routes. UPS estimates that saving only one daily mile driven per driver saves the company $30 million, so the overall savings are substantial. The company is also attempting to use data and analytics to optimise the efficiency of its 2,000 aircraft flights per day.
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