Former VP of UPS Security Services guest lectures for service engineering course

Erin Alessandroni
December 07, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A former vice president of UPS Security Services recently spoke to industrial engineering (IE) students about ways to reduce the cost of the transportation of goods while improving efficiencies. Paul Funari is a member of the Service Enterprise Engineering (SEE) 360 Advisory Board, which focuses on ways to incorporate more service sector course work into the IE curriculum.

Funari created a case study for students in Professor Vittal Prabhu’s Service Systems Engineering course in which students were asked to create a cost-saving tool for a large ticketing company, a customer of FedEx, which sells tickets online and then ships them to buyers. Companies such as this are heavily dependent on shipping, with much of their costs resulting from transportation. Unlike large companies that receive large discounts due to high volumes of shipping, small customers must attempt to find ways to reduce transportation costs in order to maximize economies of scale.

The goal of this case study is to utilize available user data from the ticketing company as part of a cost-saving initiative in an effort to consolidate shipments. Packages going from the same shipper to the same receiver via the same service level to be delivered on same day can be combined. This saves the packaging, tracking and labor expenses.

The case study was developed with the help of former IE graduate student Nikita Ankem, who is passionate about service enterprise engineering. By engaging with Funari and utilizing his skills and expertise, she was able to enhance her understanding of the sector and further develop her skillset.

“The knowledge I gained by applying my skills to real world problems alongside Paul Funari was remarkably beneficial,” said Ankem, who is now a planner at Schlumberger, a provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production and processing to the oil and gas industry. “I am now aware of the endless engineering opportunities available to me in the service sector and am grateful for the unparalleled experience Penn State offers IE students to make the most out of their education.”

Through this collaboration, Ankem and Funari developed applications of classical engineering techniques to improve service process productivity, achieving one of the main goals of SEE 360.

Funari highlighted the fact that FedEx was started based on a paper that the founder wrote and received an “F” on, which inspires students to never give up and to always think outside of the box.

Funari started his time at UPS loading packages onto cars while in college and worked his way up through the company during his 27-year career. As the global vice president of security, Funari was responsible for 220 countries and territories, affecting 450,000 employees. He explained why he classifies UPS as an engineering company.

“At UPS, even the drivers are trained in engineering, with every movement being studied for maximum optimization of time,” he said. “At the end of the day, each employee receives a report assessing if they went over or under the level of efficiency they are striving to attain.”

UPS does not produce a product; therefore, the only aspect it has to improve is its quality of service. Funari serves on the SEE board to reveal to students that company profits can be increased through strategic service engineering.

Following a successful career at UPS and ensuring the success of security at events, such as the 2012 London Olympics, Funari now spends time with his wife, two children and grandchildren, while providing his expertise on projects as a security advisor and consultant.

His service case study will continue to be apart of the IE 460 course and is one of many efforts being made to give IE graduates the needed skills for the service-oriented economy of our world today. 

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Last Updated December 07, 2017