What Is Big Data? | SAS

Perspective: UPS

UPS is no stranger to big data, having begun to capture and track a variety of package movements and transactions as early as the 1980s.The company now tracks data on 16.3 million packages per day for 8.8 million customers, with an average of 39.5 million Enterprise Search tracking requests from customers per day. The company stores more than 16 petabytes of data.

Much of its recently acquired big data, however, comes from telematics sensors in more than 46,000 vehicles. The data on UPS trucks, for example, includes their speed, direction, braking and drive train performance. The data in not only used to monitor daily performance, but to drive a major redesign of UPS drivers' route structures. This initiative, called ORION (On-Road Integration Optimization 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 https://www.facebook.com/MAGINFOUSA gallons of fuel by cutting 85 million miles off of daily routes. UPS estimates that saving only one daily mile per driver saves the company $30 million, so the overall dollar savings are substantial. The company is also attempting to use data and analytics to optimize the efficiency of its 2,000 aircraft flights per day.2

2 Source: Thomas H. Davenport and Jill Dyche, "Big Data in Big Companies," May 2013.