Flight of the Willie Bird

Williams-Sonoma entrusts UPS with deliveries of fresh organic turkeys.
1440x752_WSTurkey.jpg Flight of the Willie Bird

Thanksgiving turkeys can’t fly – unless they’re onboard a UPS cargo jet. For more than 20 years, UPS has shipped thousands of organic, free-range turkeys known as Willie Birds for cooking retailer Williams-Sonoma. The turkeys are brined and sealed, then delivered via UPS Next Day Air in time to become the centerpiece of holiday dinners across the United States.

Preparing for takeoff: In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, dozens of UPS trailers stuffed with Willie Bird shipments leave from Diestel Family Ranch, Williams-Sonoma’s California-based turkey supplier. The birds are destined for UPS flights and next-day deliveries across the country.

Planning for Operation Willie Bird begins months in advance and leaves nothing to chance. UPS alerts its U.S. delivery drivers with specific instructions for delivering these high-priority packages. That includes a dedicated hotline to resolve any potential obstacles to on-time delivery.


Bird watch: On the receiving end of those calls is UPS Proactive Response Manager Mary Golden, who leads a team of customer care representatives dedicated to the Willie Bird shipments. Mary and her team watch the turkeys from the moment they leave the farm, ready to step in at the first hint of a potential problem, even a single missed package scan anywhere en route.

“We know we have Thanksgiving dinner in our hands, so UPS goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure every one of these turkeys is delivered on time,” said Scott Johnson, director of Enterprise Accounts – Retail, who manages the Williams-Sonoma account for UPS.

Going above and beyond:  UPSers delivers what matters every single day, especially during the holiday season. If you see a UPS employee doing something incredible, visit #ThankAUPSer to tell us about it.

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