What’s new: UPS is sporting the best on-time rate in the industry at 95.8%, according to ShipMatrix, besting FedEx’s 84.8%.* When factoring in express service being on time if delivered by end of day and ground within one extra day, UPS leads at 99.3% with FedEx at 97% (the USPS is at 98.5%).
Why it matters: Despite a tight job market, UPS’s hiring efforts with seasonal workers are getting results. Get a glimpse into one of those key roles – the seasonal driver.
The seasonal driver: It’s Wednesday, Dec. 8, one of UPS’s busiest days, and Koji Ikeda is taking roll call with a team of dozens of seasonal drivers in a Worcester, Massachusetts, facility breakroom.
The health and safety supervisor, who is on special assignment leading the group, warns about black ice and looming snow in the forecast.
“Walk like a penguin out there,” he said, demonstrating his words. “I really need you to focus on every step.”
He lets the team loose to go meet many of the 177 drivers the facility dispatches.
“This is how we get it done – in this window when volume exceeds what we could possibly deliver on our own,” Koji said. “It’s quite remarkable, the efficiency.”
A big job: For Koji, it’s his 29th peak season, typically marked as the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas (though it’s grown to well before and after). He has a little less time with his wife and three kids – ages 19, 18 and 14. But he knows it’s temporary.
- He rises early and stays late.
- He focuses on safety.
- He answers texts almost nonstop about “anything under the sun – from dogs to a signature requirement.”
- He monitors real-time delivery statuses to make sure there are no trouble spots, and moves his seasonal drivers as needed.
“I have a job to do – we have a job to do,” said Koji, who would typically be running safety classes to prep new drivers and hone the skills of current ones.
How it works: Donning a UPS vest, nearly 135 seasonal team members in Worcester alone, meet drivers, load up their cars with 60-100 packages and deliver residential stops. To complete deliveries, they use a UPS-developed smartphone app – different from a driver’s usual handheld device.
At one address in Worcester, a curious customer comes outside to inspect the unusual delivery rig – a mid-size SUV.
“Wow, I’ve never seen UPS deliver out of one of these,” the man said. “That’s a pretty good idea – whatever it takes I guess.”
This, along with helpers riding along in delivery trucks or rental vehicles, plays a big part in supporting UPS’s regular employees and getting packages to customers as quickly as possible.
And the efforts from Worcester – and the hundreds of other UPS facilities mirroring this plan – are paying off.
“I can say, hands down, this has been the most rewarding experience of my career,” Koji said. “We’ve been crushing it so far.”
There’s still time: Seasonal jobs at UPS continue to be available. Go to UPSjobs.com for openings in your area.
*Measured from Dec. 5-11.