Keeping a close eye on the looming holiday shopping season, UPS Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to hire between 90,000 and 95,000 seasonal employees to handle the huge surge in package volume.
That figure is about the same increase in temporary holiday hiring that UPS reached in 2014, but far more than the 55,000 extra workers it hired two years ago. The logistics giant hopes to use the extra labor to avoid logistics problems like those that triggered widespread delays in package delivery during the trouble-plagued 2013 season.
Following sharp criticism leveled at UPS and its rival FedEx Corp. for failing to foresee the rising impact of e-commerce on holiday shopping, both carriers had a much smoother record in 2014.
Atlanta-based UPS delivered about 585 million packages last December, relying on dozens of expanded facilities and modular "mobile delivery villages" to add flexible capacity for the surge. The company also beefed up its information-technology resources, improving volume forecasting, network capacity visibility, package status tracking, and customer communications.
The 2014 holiday load included a peak delivery of 34 million packages on Monday, Dec. 22, alone, far above UPS' average daily volume of 17 million packages.
This year, with 100 shopping days still remaining until Christmas 2015, UPS has already launched the process of hiring for extra full- and part-time seasonal positions, including package handlers, drivers, and driver-helpers.
"We have initial volume forecasts from our customers and are starting the hiring process for our temporary holiday-season jobs," Myron Gray, UPS' president for U.S. operations, said in a release. "We have needs for various positions on all shifts at UPS locations throughout the United States."
See related feature: "Countdown to D-Day"