UPS Routing Software (ORION): Does it Really Help Drivers Manage Their Work Efficiently?

keyKey Takeaways:
  • UPS route planning software, ORION, can help delivery businesses ease their operations and improve customer service.
  • From basic to advanced, UPS offers routing software according to your needs and budgets.
  • UPS Drivers face many challenges while using ORION, like restricting them from taking a left turn.
  • Upper Route Planner is advanced routing software that can help drivers perform time-sensitive deliveries.

The American shipping giant UPS has developed its own routing software ORION which has been operational since 2012. The expectation of most individuals is that surely the UPS route optimization software cannot be flawed or inefficient in any manner when delivering an efficient route.

While there is no doubt in the fact that any route planning software will improve delivery efficiency, it is still important to put the UPS routing software to the test to see its true potential. To get the best product for yourself you must compare all the route optimization technologies available in the market.

This is why in this article we will look at what the route planner used by UPS is all about and how it stacks up against other delivery route planners to get the fastest route. Let us start by understanding why UPS chose to use routing software for efficient delivery routes in the first place.

Does UPS Use Route Optimization Software? 

Indeed, the UPS route planner uses its own proprietary routing software called On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation “ORION” to make its own well-optimized routes. A delivery giant like UPS which conducts billions of deliveries cannot afford to have a lot of inefficiencies.

This is because even though the losses due to inefficient routes look minuscule on a small scale, they quickly add up and pose a massive threat to your margins. Using accurate routes, businesses can easily counter the usual route problems in an instant and save on fuel expenses.

Because UPS is such a big company, they are able to easily allocate an expert team to create their own proprietary routing engine quite easily. They are also able to easily develop advanced geospatial algorithms based on the existing customer-specific data that they can use to refine their application. 

What is UPS Orion?

UPS Orion is an advanced routing system developed by UPS (United Parcel Service) to designed to optimize and streamline the delivery routes of UPS drivers, improving efficiency and reducing fuel consumption.

The name ORION is an acronym for on-road integrated optimization and navigation that uses advanced algorithms to give UPS delivery drivers an optimal route to follow to their destinations.

It allows multiple drivers to access pre-planned multi-stop delivery routes on their personal handheld devices instantly. UPS delivers most of its packages using this system in an attempt to reduce fuel costs on transportation and downsize its carbon footprint.

This dynamic routing system is a much faster alternative to manual planning of correct routes as it is not only automated but also more accurate. Most of the technology behind the ORION software remains classified though their efficiency can be replicated and surpassed by other delivery scheduling software on the market. 

What Separates UPS DIAD and Smartphones?

The delivery information acquisition device or DIAD system from UPS serves as a way to collect and transmit data regarding delivery information over cellular networks. UPS announced this technology in the year 1991 and has gone through 5 major versions. Let us see how they compare to the modern smartphones used by other companies.  

What makes DIAD better?

The DIAD can be operated both in a handheld fashion and can also be mounted inside delivery vehicles for the best utility and accessibility. When mounted inside the vehicle it can be used for purposes such as turn-by-turn navigation for the shortest routes or communicating details about the delivery.

This coveted tool is made to last as shown by its rugged design that puts functionality at the forefront. It also has a long battery life of 9 hours which outperforms most phones in the market today especially when you factor in all the utilities provided to you by the DIAD.

With specialized features, such as an inbuilt barcode scanner, it allows the delivery driver to quickly scan packages on the fly. It can also capture signatures from customers with ease with its touchscreen display.  

What makes smartphones better?

Many of the proprietary systems used by the DIAD have alternatives that can be migrated easily to smartphones. Even features such as proof of delivery can easily be yours to use on your smartphone with a great route planner

What makes smartphone better from UPS ORION

Much like the DIAD system, you can also easily mount smartphones inside your truck with standard phone stands. They also boast much bigger screens that allow for clearer navigation and communication. They’re also more compact and ergonomic making them a breeze to carry.

They also have access to much faster cellular networks such as 5g which can further boost their speed of transferring important data. Smartphones are also more accessible in general due to the general population already owning a personal smartphone for regular usage.

What Challenges do UPS Drivers Face While Using ORION 

Because of the proprietary nature of the ORION program, there are some limitations that are unique to the united parcel service. While these limitations might sound inconsequential, they can quickly become one of the biggest obstacles in your delivery operations. 

UPS restricts drivers from making a left turn

According to UPS, taking left turns makes their deliveries more inefficient as they are longer to take when compared to right turns and thus cause increased fuel usage. While this is true in certain instances where the route is planned specifically for left turns, it can also prove to increase fuel consumption in some situations. 

This is because always making right turns may force you to take a longer route which is obviously more wasteful of both time and gas. This is why it is better to take holistic routing decisions when route planning instead of such strict training guidelines.

Buggy software

One of the biggest annoyances for a UPS driver is the lack of reliability of the ORION system. There have been instances where ORION would completely ignore the driver’s time breaks, time for meals, and even the idle time is taken to fill up with gas.

There have also been glitches in the actual truck routing where ORION has shown turns that are not only illegal but also lead to a very dangerous road experience. These issues have made many drivers question the reliability and efficiency of UPS ORION.

How Upper Makes Sure Drivers Deliver Parcels in a Timely Manner

Optimizing routes should not be a complex, time-consuming, and expensive process. Every single delivery business is entitled to the pursuit of delivery truck route efficiency at a low price. The market for route optimization applications not only fails to offer you the best features but is also expensive.

This is exactly why Upper has entered the arena with powerful features such as proof of delivery, excel import, route scheduling, and more. Go the extra mile and give excellent customer service with the assurance of accurate estimated delivery times, by using Upper and its host of features. 

Such brilliant features from Upper empower you to forever revolutionize your delivery process. 

We not only give you all the features offered by ORION from UPS but also surpass it with additional features that are not available on ORION and are exclusive to Upper.


UPS drivers are limited to a maximum of 11 hours of duty before they have to sign off for another 10 hours to continue working. This clear limit is followed to strike a good balance between driver productivity and safety.

The Delivery Information Acquisition Device or DIAD technology platform is used by UPS to primarily encompass all of their delivery needs in one package. It is built to be highly durable and reliable while serving all the needs of UPS such as proof of delivery, navigation, or package identification.

The fifth generation of the DIAD is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous generation in almost all aspects. It has 10x the memory capacity while being much smaller than the DIAD IV allowing for enhanced driver mobility.

Indeed. On-board GPS systems are crucial for real-time route optimization and thus DIADs are fitted with these systems from the factory. Additionally, they also have features that allow the tracking of automobiles by delivery managers to track the progress of each and every driver with the help of the DIAD.


For a company that is as big as UPS, route planner software is essential to save unnecessary costs. The wastage of fuel on poorly planned routes costs UPS millions in extra gas money. Though instead of opting for a regular delivery route optimization software they choose to go with a proprietary route optimization software.

This solution is surely effective for their use case as it is tailored to their needs perfectly. Still, this solution is riddled with reliability issues and a lack of features that limit the potential to save the company money without delivering the most efficient routing solutions for daily routes.

Logistics companies need to realize that route planners are the future and adopt one for their own applications. So, why not go with a route planner like Upper that gives you the best features ever seen by the industry? Experience the wave of efficiency delivered by Upper today with our .

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.