UPS employs temporary sorting centers to handle holiday rush

week a year earlier, when UPS’s on-time rate was 92 percent.
“This year, because they’ve done planning, they are sustaining the service levels,” said Satish Jindel, a logistics consultant from Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and president of ShipMatrix.
UPS shares rose 0.6 percent to $111.59 at 1:24 p.m. in New York. They had gained 5.6 percent this year through Dec. 19, compared with a 12 percent increase in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
The mobile villages are a piece of UPS’s strategy to make things right this year, along with hiring 95,000 seasonal workers to sort boxes and deliver packages. That exceeds the peak-season hiring done by Amazon.com Inc. and Macy’s Inc. UPS operated one mobile village last year, and rolled out another 14 across the country this year.
In Roswell, 22 miles north of Atlanta, the 100 employees at the mobile village supplement the work done at a 225,000-square- foot (20,900-square-meter) permanent sorting facility next door. As many as 90 trucks a day pull into the delivery bays, awaiting fresh loads of tricycles, Christmas sweaters and electronics bound for Roswell and nearby Marietta. That adds to the 200 vehicles the regular processing center accommodates.
On a recent morning, village workers dressed in jackets, gloves and hoodies picked items off conveyor belts. A label affixed to each box tells employees which truck to load the box in and what shelf to put it on. Next-day items due at offices and homes by 10:30 a.m., go up front, less pressing deliveries go in back.
Work at UPS starts early, with some employees arriving at about 3:30 a.m., expected to load three trucks in a five-hour shift.
Cardillo, the spokesman, declined to give UPS’s startup cost for each mobile village.
“These temporary delivery centers provide us enormous flexibility,” Cardillo said by e-mail. “This not only includes during peak season, but any time of year. These MDCs can be moved anywhere around the country to set up temporary operations.”
In January, UPS will take down its aluminum panels and conveyor belts, leave the concrete foundation intact and it will return to a parking lot. Until then, employees are parking at a concert amphitheater nearby and shuttling to their jobs in school buses.
“We will be getting right back to work servicing customers we serve every day,” Cardillo said. “The peak holiday deliveries will be done, but the returns pick up right away.”
Ken Wood is the founder of LJM Consultants. LJM helps clients negotiate “Best in Class” UPS/FedEx agreements. LJM was recently named the “best parcel auditing company in America” and was also inducted into Inc. Magazine’s Top 500/5000 fastest growing companies in America for 2013. To learn how LJM Consultants can help your company get the parcel contract you deserve, call 631-844-9500 or email kenwood@myLJM.com.