United Delivery Service Bolsters Security Using Zebra Printers

From a team of two in 1972, United Delivery Service has grown to a force of more than 380 drivers, based in Addison, Ill. With 11 hubs, UDS now serves the entire Midwest region of the United States. The company's delivery services run the full gamut, from bicycle drop off of small packages to delivery of palletized products on tractor/trailers. Using state-of-the-art technology, every order is tracked from pickup to delivery. Security is a top priority, especially for the company's pharmaceutical deliveries.

"We implemented our new badging system (IDimage) about three months ago," reports Joe Castaldo, Vice President of Operations for United Delivery Service. "We issue all of our drivers color identification cards with their photo, thumbprint, signature, name, driver number or title, and the date they were hired on the front of the card. On the back we encode a magnetic stripe and a barcode."

UDS drivers log into the company's system remotely using their ID cards. The central distribution center is in Addison, and all data feeds into a central server located there. UDS management can determine which driver is at which distribution center at any time.

The barcode function is used for visitor management (IDvisitor(tm)) and to track driver locale. UDS is using scanners and Hewlett-Packard's mobile iPAQ's in the field. With the barcode, individual packages can be linked to their drivers.

The company regularly delivers pharmaceutical products to hospitals and naval bases, which can require drivers to swipe their cards through a reader in order to access a facility to make a delivery.

"The hospital and military facilities like the extra security the new cards provide," Castaldo reports. "We also deliver medications to private homes, and our older customers feel more secure with the new ID."

UDS prints up to 25 new cards per week.

The delivery service purchased its card printer from Chicago dealer Identatronics Incorporated because the company offered a complete solution to their identification and tracking needs to go along with the Zebra P420i printer. The standalone P420i dual-sided color printer prints sharp, readable ID photographs, graphics, and text edge-to-edge in seconds.

"The new card looks professional," Castaldo says. "The digital quality of the photo is very clear."

Previously UDS used a Polaroid-type camera and then cut out the photo, attached it to a card and laminated it. The process was time consuming and produced a poor quality photo.

Now, the remote facilities simply send driver information to the central location in Addison, where all the identification cards are produced. The remote locations are equipped with a digital camera, tripod, fingerprinting supplies and a pad for the driver's signature. All 11 locations are tied into IDimage, IDvisitor and the Zebra P420i Direct to Card printer.

The P420i printer itself is secured in a training room in Addison. It took about an hour for Castaldo to set up and learn. Three other employees have been trained on the printer in less than an hour.

"We have received positive feedback on the IDs from both our employees and customers," Castaldo reports.

Looking forward, the company would like to use the card's magnetic stripe feature to enable it to track COD packages in the system.

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