Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

UPS $260m Indiana packaging facility to expand smart logistics network

Steve Rogerson
June 20, 2017



UPS plans to expand its smart logistics network with a $260m package processing facility on 91 acres west of Indianapolis. Together with improvements to existing buildings, UPS expects to add more than 575 new full-time equivalent positions over the next five years in addition to gaining flexibility for routing through its network.
 
“Central Indiana is a logistics gateway for efficient transportation networks that enhance UPS reliability and service,” said Kevin Church, president of UPS’s Ohio Valley district that includes Indiana, Kentucky and southern Ohio. “Support from local and state leaders lets us be nimble to apply new technologies and equipment together with our people for flexibility to manage growth from e-commerce, healthcare and manufacturing.”
 
A portion of the 83,000 square metre hub in the town of Plainfield will open this autumn for trailer processing with a delivery operation to dispatch the familiar brown trucks in time for the busy holiday season.
 
Already, Indianapolis has been an early market for the rollout of new UPS Saturday ground delivery and pickup service that began in the broad community in late April and is one element fuelling retail fulfilment and residential delivery growth in the area.
 
“This major investment by UPS is more evidence that Indiana is a global logistics powerhouse,” said Governor Eric Holcomb. “Our state’s top-ranked infrastructure network has been key to growing our economy, especially in the manufacturing and logistics sector. That’s why state lawmakers doubled-down on roads and bridges this year, advancing a 20-year, data-driven infrastructure plan. As companies like UPS connect Hoosier businesses to customers around the globe, we’ll do our part to strengthen Indiana’s status as the crossroads of America, and of the world.”
 
The Plainfield facility build-out will be completed in late 2019. Advanced package scanning and sortation equipment will allow flexibility to make dynamic changes as volume is routed through complex systems of conveyors and belts in the building or directed in transit to other area facilities. Customers will benefit from speed and processing accuracy that can scale daily fluctuations or manage a surge from the latest promotion or change due to weather contingencies.
 
UPS will continue training and benefits, including tuition assistance, as employees expand their opportunities to build skills. Recruiting for part-time operations begins later this summer for training at Indianapolis facilities before workers transition to the initial operations at Plainfield this autumn.
 
“The town of Plainfield is incredibly pleased to be the home for this new UPS hub and the prestige this will add to our growth plans,” said Robin Brandgard, Plainfield Town Council president. “UPS is a quality employer, and project details match with the town’s desire to bring good, high-paying jobs into our community.”
 
Today, more than 9500 Hoosiers are employed by UPS across an enterprise that provides package delivery, ground freight, forwarding and contract logistics and support services in Indiana.
 
When completed, the UPS Plainfield hub will have a customer centre for convenient service. The company is evaluating infrastructure availability for alternative fuels at the new building. Indiana was one of the first midwest locations when UPS expanded natural gas for its tractor trailer fuelling in 2013.