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UPS From 1991-1999

Embracing Technology

Embracing Technology

1991 - 1994

By 1993 UPS was delivering 11.5 million packages and documents a day for more than one million regular customers. With such a huge volume, UPS had to develop new technology to maintain efficiency, keep prices competitive and provide new customer services. Technology at UPS spans an incredible range, from small handheld devices to specially designed package delivery vehicles and global computer and communications systems.

The handheld Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD), carried by every UPS driver, was developed to immediately record and upload delivery information to the UPS network. The DIAD information even includes digital pictures of a recipient's signature, thus giving customers real-time information about their shipments. Furthermore, this proprietary device allows drivers to stay in constant contact with their headquarters, keeping abreast of changing collection schedules and traffic patterns and receiving other important messages.

At the other end of the spectrum, UPSnet is a global electronic data communications network that provides an information processing pipeline for international package processing and delivery. UPSnet uses more than 500,000 miles of communications lines and a dedicated satellite to link more than 1,300 UPS distribution sites in 46 countries or territories. The system tracks 821,000 packages daily. Between 1986 and 1991, UPS spent USD 1.5 billion on technology improvements, and plans to spend an additional USD 3.2 billion over the next five years. These investments are aimed at improving efficiency and expanding customer service.

In 1992, UPS began tracking all ground packages. In 1994, UPS.com went live, and consumer demand for information about packages in transit soared. The following year, UPS added functionality to its web site so customers could track packages in transport. The resulting popularity of on-line package tracking exceeded all expectations. Today UPS.com receives millions of on-line tracking requests daily.

Expanded Services

1994 - 1999

By the late 1990s, UPS was in the midst of another transition. Although the core of the business remained the distribution of goods and the information that accompanies them, UPS had begun to branch out and focus on a new channel: services. As UPS management saw it, the company´s expertise in shipping and tracking positioned it to become an enabler of global commerce and a facilitator of the three flows that make up commerce: goods, information and capital. To fulfil this vision of new service offerings, UPS began strategically acquiring existing companies and creating new kinds of companies that didn´t previously exist.

Through these acquisitions and creations, UPS sought to serve its customers in a new way. By providing unique supply-chain solutions, UPS allowed its customers to better serve their own customers and focus on their core competencies. In 1995, UPS formed UPS Logistics Group to provide global supply chain management solutions and consulting services based on customers´ individual needs. In 1995, UPS acquired a company called SonicAir, making UPS the first company to offer same-day, next flight-out service and guaranteed 8 a.m. overnight delivery. In 1998, UPS Capital was founded with a mission to provide a comprehensive menu of integrated financial products and services that enable companies to grow their business.

New York Stock Exchange

1999 - 1999
On 10 November 1999, UPS offered shares of its stock to the public for the first time. This initial public offering strengthened UPS by giving the company the ability to use a publicly traded security to make strategic acquisitions in important markets around the world.

UPS Time Capsule


Electronic tracking of all ground packages begins.

UPS is delivering to more than 200 countries and territories; delivering 11.5 million packages and documents a day for more than one million regular customers.

The UPS Logistics Group is established to provide global supply chain management solutions.

UPS.com goes live.

UPS on-line tracking software provides a real-time image of receiver's signature and allows a customer to track up to 100 packages at a time.

UPS sells 10 percent of its stock in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.