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OT: outmoded operations and equipment at UPS

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  • OT: outmoded operations and equipment at UPS

    "UPS’s $20 Billion Problem: Operations Stuck in the 20th Century"

    As the package giant tries to satisfy America’s 21st-century shopping-and-shipping mania, it must update a delivery network whose processes sometimes hark to a past era; a $20 billion catch-up bill.

  • #2
    That's a couple of interesting paragraphs. Wonder what the rest of the story says.

    Comment


    • #3
      Whoops - I don't have a subscription to the WSJ, but managed to get access to the story.

      I don't have access to it now either.

      Sorry for the tease ....

      edit: you can get in by googling this phrase

      "UPS's $20 Billion Problem: Outdated Operations"


      I must have followed a link from somewhere to get to the article.
      Last edited by tlfamm; 10-29-2018, 05:38 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I found a good copy of the story at https://www.thestar.com/wsj/business...h-century.html

        Several other sites with that headline appeared to have copied it from another site, and did it poorly. One site translated the word "indicator light" to "inexperienced light".
        At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

        Location: SF East Bay.

        Comment


        • #5
          Interesting! I worked for a smaller company and designed and installed an automated system for their most labor intensive process. After they were satisfied that it was working well, they let me go.

          The system that I installed, while using computers, was based on older, analog technology at it's core. I had always intend to start working on an all digital system but never got the chance. By now I am sure that the analog based system is almost totally out of date. I have to wonder how they are coping with that. I am sure they thought they were saving money. I wonder if they "saved" themselves out of business.
          Paul A.
          SE Texas

          And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
          You will find that it has discrete steps.

          Comment


          • #6
            Fedex has upped UPS with a fleet of small turboprop Cessnas, UPS countered wit 20 B worth of 747 freighters. Roll them bones.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by danlb View Post
              I found a good copy of the story at https://www.thestar.com/wsj/business...h-century.html

              Several other sites with that headline appeared to have copied it from another site, and did it poorly. One site translated the word "indicator light" to "inexperienced light".
              That link doesn't work for me. I get the page then it gets wiped to a blank page. Maybe some Java suction or bad mojo going on.

              Comment


              • #8
                I guess that would explain why it takes a them a week to deliver a package to the next town and damage it as well.

                JL.....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                  I guess that would explain why it takes a them a week to deliver a package to the next town and damage it as well.

                  JL.....
                  But they get McMaster to me in one day, in perfect condition...... They are inconsistent.

                  And they do damage packages, I met with their folks at a previous employer, and found that they really believed that a company should and would be willing to spend $25 to make certain that a $99 retail product got to the retailer undamaged..... In other words, that a company would be willing and eager to essentially double the cost of manufacturing just to handle possible UPS damage.

                  They simply did not "get it", that there was an expectation of delivery in good condition for a package that was "reasonably" packed and protected. No, they wanted to armor-plate the package, waving the threat of refusing to cover shipping damages if the armor plating was not done to their specs.

                  They have more problems than automation..... they have actual competitors, not just Railway Express, their "competitor" from the 1950s and 1960s. Hard to believe that back then UPS was the one that delivered without damage or pilferage. Railway Express was notorious.
                  CNC machines only go through the motions.

                  Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                  Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                  Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                  I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                  Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In My experience in Canada the “ Useless Parcel Service “ is just that. My last experience had a domestic overnight shipment 5 working days late because they were not able solve a non existent postal code correction. In a proper system the postal code that did not exist would never have been accepted. For 4 days it’s went around in circles at possibly the same facility in spite of bes5 efforts of a couple useful UPS managers. Totally unbelievable. Then they refused to refund the service failure. Eventually I think that all got sorted out.
                    Amazing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I actually worked a temp Christmas holiday surge position loading trucks for UPS back in the late 80s. My position was the lowliest job in the company and was only temporary. I did not receive union benefits and could not stay on after the holiday surge was over. At the time here's how it worked: I was in the back of a tractor trailer and above me at the loading dock was a conveyor belt and chute system. The chute deposited the packages directly into the trailer where I was. At the helm of the chute system there was another guy, just one rung above me in the seniority department. He would look down on me in the trailer from his perch up on high with a wry grin. His primary job was to unjam packages as they started to flow from the conveyor belt and through the chute system and into the trailer. Sometimes unjamming would involve some pretty good whacks to the packages because they would pile up instantly and overflow if they weren't unjammed right away. Overflows slowed everything down and made for a lot of work to the "chute manager." Plus he could get a reputation of not meeting his fill quota if he took too long to load the trucks. So he had every reason to savagely beat on the packages the very instant they showed any signs of causing a logjam.

                      As far as my job, I was the recipient of the massive flow of packages into the trailer. The flow was relentless and the packages were of virtually all sizes and shapes (although there were limits on total weight). Each trailer was to only receive packages of a particular range of zip codes. The sorting system they had was supposed to deliver through the conveyor and chute system only the packages that were supposed to go into each trailer dedicated to those specific zip code zones. But that system was imperfect and maybe one in every 50 packages was not sorted correctly.

                      So in addition to being the brute labor in the trailer receiving the onslaught of packages into the truck, you also had to inspect the address label of every single package that flooded into the truck. Each day we were told what range of zip codes applied to our trailer. And we were given a crayon of a certain color for that day. The crayon color you were given was recorded in their record book and associated with your name. You were to take that crayon and circle the zip code of every single package that came into the trailer before you loaded it into the back. So if you can imagine a conveyor and chute system flooding a tractor trailer with one guy in the back furiously bending over picking up each individual package, rotating every package to find the address label, checking that address label to see if its zip code was correct for that truck for that day and then circling it with your crayon and then throwing it in the back of the truck. And you had absolutely no choice but to throw the package - there was no time to do anything else.

                      Every few days we would have these periodic meetings. The hub manager would call all of us together and he would have a whiteboard setup on the floor of the sorting warehouse. On the whiteboard there were polaroid photographs of packages. During the first meeting I didn't understand what was going on, but it soon became clear. The photographs were arranged as if in a crime scene portfolio. And in them you could see a package, its address label and the color of the crayon used to circle the address label. The manager would point to the color of the crayon and read out the name of the guy that had that color for that day. The pictures were of packages that were sent to the wrong zones and the poor bastard that circled his crayon to a package that went to the wrong zone would be fired if he got too many strikes. I never made enough mistakes to get fired, but it was easy to make a mistake and circle the wrong package in the fury of handling a fully flowing conveyor delivering thousands of packages into the back of those trucks.

                      Anyway, at least on the sorting and loading end of things, there was plently of incentive to the package handlers to not treat the packages gently. And I know the truck driver delivery guys had to hustle too, so I'm guessing they didn't go easy on them either.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That's what mu cousin said as well. He had that same job, and he eventually got fired for NOT throwing all the packages, he got backed up and did not finish on time.

                        UPS was then, and likely still is, extremely screwed up. Screwed up by management design and intent, as far as can be seen..... as they could act to fix it, but seem to have instead chosen, at every opportunity, the screwed up way to do things.

                        As far as I can tell, the big shippers, McMaster, my former employer, etc, solve many of the problems by doing presort and other things that allow their packages to bypass a considerable portion of the "process". Rather like bulk mailing with USPS.... presorted and standard markings, etc, anything to help out.

                        If you send a package as a single customer, you can pretty well count on it being thrown, stepped on, maybe even run over with a towmotor, whatever.... and it will go through every inefficient step of the process.
                        CNC machines only go through the motions.

                        Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                        Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                        Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                        I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                        Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here is a bad sign:

                          I received a shipping confirmation and tracking number for UPS yesterday. Problem is, they tried to make the UPS tracking website feature more "fancy". it no longer works with my browser.

                          How many third party websites need to be involved to track a package, and track me while I am trying to track a package, UPS?

                          Fedex, DHL, USPS do not have these issues.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                            That's what mu cousin said as well. He had that same job, and he eventually got fired for NOT throwing all the packages, he got backed up and did not finish on time.

                            UPS was then, and likely still is, extremely screwed up. Screwed up by management design and intent, as far as can be seen..... as they could act to fix it, but seem to have instead chosen, at every opportunity, the screwed up way to do things.

                            As far as I can tell, the big shippers, McMaster, my former employer, etc, solve many of the problems by doing presort and other things that allow their packages to bypass a considerable portion of the "process". Rather like bulk mailing with USPS.... presorted and standard markings, etc, anything to help out.

                            If you send a package as a single customer, you can pretty well count on it being thrown, stepped on, maybe even run over with a towmotor, whatever.... and it will go through every inefficient step of the process.
                            That's why when ever you file a damage claim their excuse is "improperly packed"

                            JL..................

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