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Parcel Sensor Knows When Your Delivery Has Been Dropped 145

First time accepted submitter Hamsterdan writes "If you're tired of finding that your stuff has been smashed during shipping after opening your package, this device is for you. 'Called DropTag, the gadget combines a battery, a low-energy Bluetooth transmitter, an accelerometer and a memory chip. Stuck on a parcel as it leaves an e-commerce warehouse, it logs any g-forces above a set risky shock level that it experiences. The idea is that when the courier puts it in your hands, you turn on Bluetooth on a smartphone running a DropTag app and scan it before you sign for it.'"
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Parcel Sensor Knows When Your Delivery Has Been Dropped

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:41PM (#42827435)

    This Popular Mechanics article [] definitely proves this point. Its not just for the customer, but probably of more use for the manufacturer to do QA as far as who they have ship their product. Ditto for the shipping companies themselves. Stuff leaves factory unbroken and gets to warehouses A and B ok, but somewhere between shipping hub C and D... Uh oh! Also if keeping tabs on impacts and such over time, it would even allow the shipping company to find out if some particular employee is dinging their packages by keeping tabs on shift hours and such.

    It's nice to have it, but the recipient isn't the only customer of this particular tracking service. It would only make sense if the cell phone app to read the tag also reports all the data back home to a database where this info can be of greater use. Also not to mention everyone going through a similar supply line benefits despite not having these tags, provided problems in shipping are corrected promptly.

  • by Leuf ( 918654 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @12:33AM (#42828915)

    You can't really tell if something has been adequately packed unless you either open it or it already shows damage (lack of packing material allows the box to crush). UPS and Fedex would be more than happy to slap you with a reboxing fee* if they could.

    *plus fuel surcharge on the fee, because everything gets a fuel surcharge. This notice about the fuel surcharge gets a fuel surcharge.

  • by Waccoon ( 1186667 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @03:43AM (#42829729)

    I work for a medical distributor. Our standards for shipping quality are supposed to be much higher than companies like UPS. However, the quality of our operation suffers tremendously from the massive volume we are expected to ship every day.

    All of our packages travel on a conveyor belt system without being placed in a tote. Smaller, expensive items are repacked into larger boxes, but these then also go directly on to the belt. Needless to say, belt jams and other mishaps result in considerable damage to product, ranging from scrapes, shavings, and rips (which go to the customer) to holes being punched into the sides (which may be inspected and repacked into other boxes before being shipped, but are usually just taped). So long as the customers accept delivery, that's the quality we continue to deliver. Despite damages and returns processing, we make a decent profit, so the only thing that matters is that line A is larger than line B.

    I was surprised to see what the inside of the NewEgg warehouse looks like. All product goes down the conveyor belt in plastic totes, preventing damage. It puts our filthy operation to shame, and I'd bet those $300 video cards aren't much more expensive than the medical devices we deliver. If damages occur regularly, the blame should go to penny-pinching management for providing such a destructive work environment, not the employees.

    BTW, I also worked for the USPS in one of their central hubs during the holiday season. Their operation didn't involve a conveyor belt, but it did involve literally throwing boxes into large cardboard tubs sitting on pallets, which were then driven into delivery trucks. The speed we were expected to maintain was the problem, not minimum wage druggies or thugs.

    I can't comment on UPS. I've never worked for them, and from what I hear, I don't want to because their operation is even more hectic than ours.

  • by Kazin ( 3499 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:42AM (#42831847) Homepage

    As a former FedEx handler, I can confirm your suspicions - many of the handlers would intentionally smack the shock stickers.

    People need to just pack better. Your package WILL be thrown if small, and likely hit the wall of a shipping can. Your package WILL be dropped if large, probably pushed off the side of a conveyor belt. Working there completely changed how I pack stuff, for the better.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.