New "UPS My Choice" Service Offers Control of Deliveries; Company to Hire 55,000 Seasonal Workers; Five Days Each Approaching 25 Million Or More Deliveries
UPS's (NYSE: UPS) holiday logistical miracle will be bigger and better than ever this year, with global package volume increasing and U.S. residents gaining the ability for the first time to control their deliveries.
UPS expects to deliver more than 120 million packages around the world this year in just the last week before Christmas, up more than 6 percent compared to the 113 million delivered during last year's "peak week." That growth demonstrates anew the recent trend of people delaying online shopping until just before Christmas. Before the explosion of e-commerce, the holiday peak season stretched from Thanksgiving to Christmas; now, it's been compressed to the last two weeks before Christmas.
This year, in a dramatic underscoring of the trend, UPS is projecting it will see five different days on which its deliveries will approach or exceed 25 million - all within the last 10 days before Christmas. Last year, there was only one day on which deliveries surpassed 25 million.
A delivery volume of 25 million packages represents a 60 percent increase compared to UPS's normal daily volume of 15.6 million and amounts to the delivery of almost 300 packages every second of the day.
The 2011 shipping season will reach its apex Dec. 22, UPS's peak shipping day, when the company projects its delivery volume worldwide will approach 26 million. UPS projects its peak air day this year will be Friday, Dec. 23, with more than 6 million deliveries of air packages on that day compared to a normal air volume of 3 million. UPS will fly more than 400 additional flight segments per day during peak week.
To handle all those packages, UPS will be hiring 55,000 seasonal employees across the U.S. this year to work either as driver helpers or package sorters, loaders or unloaders.
The company is projecting its busiest tracking day of the season will occur on Dec. 20 with more than 58 million online package tracking requests.
"Early indications point to a solid holiday shopping and shipping season," said Alan Gershenhorn, UPS chief sales and marketing officer. "To handle the holiday rush and maintain the reliability that's needed when shopping close to Christmas, we're flexing every part of our global small package network. And this year we're excited because it will be the first season we've offered UPS My Choice service, which gives our U.S. residential customers visibility and control of their arriving shipments. No other carrier offers consumers this level of control."
UPS My Choice, launched in September, helps avoid the disappointment and hassle of missing a home delivery by empowering the consumer to take control of UPS deliveries before arrival. My Choice provides a delivery alert a day in advance along with notice of an estimated four-hour delivery window. The service increases the likelihood of a successful delivery on the first attempt not only by providing delivery alerts and delivery time frames, but also reroute and rescheduling options, visibility tools and electronic signature release - all by accessing ups.com through a computer or mobile phone.
The basic UPS My Choice service is offered free of charge. But the busy holiday shopping season may demonstrate to many the value of a premium membership, offered for $40 a year. That's because a premium member has access to an online delivery calendar that shows the status of all UPS deliveries destined for their home. A premium member also can establish a two-hour delivery window for their packages.
Those interested in registering for either version of UPS My Choice should go to ups.com/MyChoice/PR.
Shipping Tips for Consumers
Consumers can help ensure their packages reach their destination on time by knowing a few key shipping deadlines. Most UPS ground packages will reach their destinations in one-to-three days. Last-minute shoppers who ship their packages Friday, Dec. 23, can rely on UPS air services to deliver packages on Dec. 24. Here is a full downloadable list of holiday shipping deadlines.
To deliver a hassle-free holiday, UPS provides customers a variety of options for their holiday shipping:
- Let UPS Do the Packing: With nearly 4,700 The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, consumers can learn more about holiday packing. Participating locations also will offer The UPS Store Pack & Ship Promise. The promise states that if a participating location packs a customer's item, ships it via UPS and the item is damaged or lost in transit, the customer will be reimbursed for the item's value (subject to the lesser of actual value, replacement or repair cost), the cost of packaging materials and service plus the shipping fee.
- Bypass Lines at UPS.com: Customers can visit UPS.com for do-it-yourself holiday shipping solutions, and purchase and print shipping labels. Packages can be picked up by a UPS driver, placed in one of 40,000 UPS drop boxes or dropped off at a UPS Customer Center, The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc. or other authorized shipping outlets.
- Go Green with Carbon Neutral Shipping: For environmentally-conscious gift givers, UPS offers carbon neutral shipping. UPS works with globally recognized environmental projects to purchase offsets for the mitigation of carbon emissions. For as little as five cents, customers who choose to offset their shipping impact can select UPS's carbon neutral option at the end of the online shipping process. UPS is matching the offset purchases up to $1 million.
For holiday shipping information, tips and solutions: