Barnes, 48, joined the Atlanta-based package-shipping company in 1977 as a part-time package loader.
Most recently, he was vice president of customer and operations application portfolios in Information Services, where he oversaw about 3,000 technology employees.
UPS processes 13.6 million packages and documents every day, 93 percent of which include some sort of data capture. Barnes plans to focus on two main initiatives for 2005.
"At the top of the list would be the supply chain visibility system and the DIAD IV," he said Tuesday.
Throughout 2005, UPS will roll out some 70,000 units of the DIAD IV—the fourth version of the Delivery Information Acquisition Device that the majority of UPS drivers use to keep track of customer data and to capture electronic signatures.
Co-developed with Symbol Technologies Inc., of Holtsville, N.Y., the DIAD IV bests its predecessor with the inclusion of an 802.11b Wi-Fi radio, in addition to a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) or GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) WAN radio, depending on location.
Wi-Fi lets drivers download daily manifests, while the WAN connection is used to send real-time data such as route changes. Barnes said he hopes that future generations of the DIAD will include CDMA and GPRS radios on the same device.
"We always have active discussions with the carriers," he said. "Im encouraged about roaming."
UPS also is working to streamline its supply chain visibility system, combining its various tracking and customs forms into an integrated view. The goal is always to ease the process of tracking "the movement of goods from one end of the supply chain to the next, whether youre moving a container through the air or through the sea," Barnes said.