It’s ‘all-hands-on-deck’ at UPS

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In the rush to get holiday shipments into homes before Christmas, United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) is calling on practically everyone who works for the commercial shipping giant to step away from their desk jobs and help out in virtually any way they can. Some are even delivering packages using their personal vehicles.

“In some cases, people were asked to change clothes and go to a local site that day or the next day because incoming volume tendered in trailer loads to specific sites was beyond the plan level,” said UPS spokesman Steve Gaut, noting that this year’s pre-Christmas rush was much more robust than expected.

UPS always prepares “ready teams” of office workers who volunteer to help sort, load or deliver packages in trouble spots throughout the network. This year, however, Americans excited about the future and ready to enjoy the fruits of a finally healthy economy opened up their wallets wider. This caused UPS to ask hundreds of their employees to chip in and deal with the deluge.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, “A shift to online shopping coupled with a tight market for seasonal workers left gaps in manpower across the delivery network.”

“UPS wanted to ensure we avoided getting behind,” said Gaut, noting that most of those temporary field jobs have now ended.

And after processing a record number of packages out of its main hub of Louisville, Ky., on Thursday night, UPS is “well-positioned to finish pre-Christmas deliveries strong, in line with customer commitments,” Gaut said on Friday.

According to the report, the company plans to continue deliveries on Saturday, including in some markets where it hasn’t fully rolled out weekend service. There are even contingency plans to deliver packages on Sunday “if there are exceptional events in specific locations.”

The robust economy and the lowest unemployment rate since 2000 were cited as the reason there were less workers to help fulfill orders for only a few weeks. “It was more competitive in some markets to recruit and retain seasonal employees,” Gaut said.

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