>UPS is Enterprise Architecture Fait Accompli


Fortune Magazine, 12 November 2007, has an amazing article about UPS ( a company which last year had $47.5 billion in revenue and 100,000 driving jobs)—they are a flawless example of the integration of people, process, technology, training, and a keen customer focus; a shining example of what enterprise architecture hopes to instill in the organization!

  1. People—“UPS drivers make an average of $75,000 a year, plus an average of $20,000 in health-care benefits and pension, well above the norm for comparable positions at other freight companies.”
  2. Process—UPS relies on “human engineering” and has “’340 methods’, a detailed manual of rules and routines” that is taught to UPS’s legions of driver candidates. Moreover, detailed metrics are kept on trainees and throughout their professional career at UPS, so that “a supervisor meeting a new driver for the first time will know every single possible thing there is to know about him.”
  3. Technology— UPS has the delivery information acquisition device (DIAD), their electronic clipboard, “which is GPS-enabled, plans drivers’ routes, records all their deliverables, and is said to rival the iPhone in capability.”
  4. Training—UPS has opened a new full-service training center, a $34 million, 11,500 square-foot facility, called Integrad. “The facility and curriculum have been shaped over here years by more than 170 people, including UPS executives professors, and design students at Virginia Tech, a team at MIT, forecasters at the Institute for the Future, and animators at an Indian company called Brainvisa.” The facility even has a “slip-and-fall simulator” to safely prepare trainees bodies to be alert to falls, and a UPS “package car” with see-through sides, sensors to measures that forces on trainees joints, and videocameras to record their movements as they lift and lower packages.”
  5. Customer—“What’s new about the company now is that our teaching style matches your learning style. But we’re still taking care of the customer.” UPS is “the world’s largest package–delivery company…delivering an average of over 15 million packages a day.”

“While customers may be at the heart of UPSs business, it’s drivers who are at the heart of UPS itself…watch closely and those deliveries [are] an exhibition of routines so precise they never vary, limbs so trained they need no direction, and words so long remembered, they are like one’s own thoughts.”

UPS has mastered all of the following enterprise architecture aspects or perspectives:

  • BUSINESS—the precision of honed business processes (“340 methods”)
  • PERFORMANCE—the measurement of every critical management aspect, especially as it relates to their all important drivers and their deliveries.
  • INFORMATION—UPS is an information-driven company that captures information, analyzes information, and uses it to train and refine their personnel and operations.
  • SERVICES—business services such as delivery and training are best practice and tailored to meet customer and employee needs.
  • TECHNOLOGY—the UPS electronic clipboard enables the information capture and provision that is needed to continuously meet mission requirements.

While, I don’t love their brown uniforms (that is supposed to hide dirt), to me the successful integration and implementation by UPS of these core architecture factors makes it a case study for EA!