Sunday, April 22, 2018

UPS tracking technology used to streamline help to Haiti


Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Salvation Army staff members will now be able to confirm what goods each family receives by tracking the information embedded in a laminated card that bears unique barcodes tied to the number of family members, their location in the makeshift camp that has sprung up in an adjacent soccer field and their needs.
Salvation Army staff members will now be able to confirm what goods each family receives by tracking the information embedded in a laminated card that bears unique barcodes tied to the number of family members, their location in the makeshift camp that has sprung up in an adjacent soccer field and their needs.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti— The Salvation Army is replacing handwritten paper index cards with high-tech barcode technology to ensure that more than 4,000 families here efficiently receive food, shelter and medical supplies. UPS has donated the technology and adapted it for disaster relief supply distribution.

“By capitalizing on our employees’ intellectual capital and the company’s technological capabilities, UPS is putting the infrastructure in place to help families in Haiti begin to rebuild their lives for the long term,” stated a UPS news release.

The system is based on UPS’s Trackpad technology, which UPS customers use to track packages within campus environments as the packages move from the loading dock to distributed offices for delivery.

Salvation Army staff members will now be able to confirm what goods each family receives by tracking the information embedded in a laminated card that bears unique barcodes tied to the number of family members, their location in the makeshift camp that has sprung up in an adjacent soccer field and their needs.

This system helps to ensure that all families receive the right supplies at the right time and may help reduce theft or fraud.

"We are abundantly grateful to UPS for providing this new distribution system. The technology will improve the speed of the distribution, helping us to keep the process as orderly as possible,” said Damaris Frick, manager of the Salvation Army’s camp in Port Au Prince. “At the moment we are struggling with paper cards which disintegrate in the pockets of the bearers. It currently takes a team of 40 people to sweep through the camp to accomplish a replacement of damaged cards. That problem will be completely eliminated with this system. We will no longer need to manually input distribution data, which will also speed up and increase the accuracy of our reporting process to other NGOs and donors."

The tracking also will give the Salvation Army a way to track the families and their needs in the future as they move from the temporary camp where they currently live to more permanent shelter, she added.

“This is a perfect example of how UPS’s commitment to disaster relief extends well beyond financial support,” said Ken Sternad, president of The UPS Foundation. “By capitalizing on our employees’ intellectual capital and the company’s technological capabilities, UPS is putting the infrastructure in place to help families in Haiti begin to rebuild their lives for the long term.”

UPS logistics experts configured the specialized application in less than a week. UPS technology provider Cardinal Tracking provided the barcode cards and donated labor and equipment for the project. The system includes 4,000 laminated cards, two handheld scanners and a laptop.

Beyond the immediate need to optimize food distribution, the Salvation Army plans to use the barcode cards and tracking technology to help with the distribution of hygiene kits and tarps to prepare for the upcoming rainy season. The organization also is considering using the system at four other relief sites.

This is the second time UPS has configured the Trackpad technology for disaster relief. After Hurricane Katrina, the system was used for tracking displaced pets.

The Trucker staff may be reached to comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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