Earnings climb as strategy gains traction

Better not bigger framework leads to records
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UPS announced better-than-expected results across all segments of the business for the first quarter of 2021.     

Consolidated revenue rose 27% from last year to $22.9 billion, and operating profit grew 164% to $2.9 billion.

Read the press release for complete results.

CEO Carol B. Tomé began the quarterly investor call by thanking UPSers for their outstanding performance.

“I want to thank all UPSers for delivering what matters, including COVID-19 vaccines,” Carol said. “As shown in our results, our team is advancing our Customer First, People Led, Innovation Driven strategy under the better not bigger framework.”

Customer First

Building capabilities that matter most to UPS customers and using those capabilities to capture the best opportunities in the market is what Customer First is all about.

“In the U.S., the improvements we made last year and continue to make this year, to speed up our ground network, enhance our Digital Access Program (DAP) and expand weekend operations, are taking hold,” Carol said.

During the first quarter, UPS added nearly 150,000 new DAP accounts and is well on its way to hitting its $1 billion DAP revenue target by the end of this year. 

Customer-focused solutions such as a new simplified online billing system and an online quote application for supply chain and freight, continue to remove customer pain points and improve the end-to-end experience.

UPS also reinstated service guarantees for U.S. Next Day Air services and Worldwide Express services for all origins and destinations.

Internationally, UPS export volume grew by double digits in all regions, with commercial volume up more than 10% and small and medium-sized business (SMB) average daily volume up 23% in the first quarter. 

“We see even more opportunity moving forward as we expand DAP and other solutions to key international markets,” Carol said.

People Led

“We’ve hired a lot of new UPSers,” Carol said. “So we need to be laser focused on employee safety and training.”

In the U.S., UPS has reimagined its driver safety program with mobile classrooms and learning labs housed in movable trailers. 

“So far this year, we’ve improved auto accident frequency by 2.1% globally,” Carol said. “And we’ll continue to advance our employee safety programs around the world.”

Innovation Driven

UPS is beginning to reap the benefits of recent investments in automation, new technology and new and updated facilities. Compared to last year, first quarter productivity improved in nearly all major operating categories.

“We aim to make productivity a virtuous cycle, not just a transformation project,” Carol said. “We are laser focused on operational excellence.”

COVID vaccines

As of last week, UPS had delivered more than 1.1 million shipments, about 196 million vaccine doses, to about 50 countries and territories. With UPS Premier service, the company has achieved a 99.9% on-time delivery record with vaccines.

Looking ahead

The sale of UPS Freight is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

In addition, UPS capital expenditures for the year are projected to reach roughly $4 billion.

“Our strategy is gaining traction, and we see even more opportunities ahead,” Carol said.

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