UPS is deploying a new combination scanner and paperless printing device from HP (the HP Handheld sp400 All-in-One) that will print millions of sorting labels directly on packages, reducing operational costs and cutting paper consumption.
UPS says that the device will save capital costs as well as costs for paper and ink and also increase the productivity of employees. By eliminating paper labels, it will save 1,338 tons of paper each year (estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator) once the imprinter is fully deployed and millions of dollars in annual operating costs.
As a package enters a UPS center for sorting, an employee scans the shipping label. The device obtains the proper sorting information from a database via a WiFi network inside the facility, then prints those instructions directly onto the package.
UPS already has deployed the devices in 41 U.S. package centers and plans to expand the deployment to a total of 850 imprinters in 55 centers by the end of this year. The company expects the device to process 1.5 million packages per business day by mid-2009 and to increase that to 3.1 million by 2010.