Computerized efficiency helps UPS handle busiest time of year

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Computerized efficiency helps UPS handle busiest time of year:

The back of his UPS truck is stacked floor to ceiling, but neatly, with boxes sticking an inch or so over the edge of their shelves — lip loaded, in UPS jargon. That makes it easy for Alles to grab the packages. They’re also slanting downward toward the truck’s outer wall — the better to stay put when Alles takes a corner.

And thanks to technology on which UPS is spending $600 million company-wide, Alles, a driver out of the firm’s distribution center in Elm Grove, feels confident that the 500-odd packages, which he will deliver to 344 stops, have been loaded in the correct order.

His handheld computer, meanwhile, will tell him the sequence for his route, one of 179 running out of Elm Grove on this day. All told, Alles and his fellow drivers here will deliver about 65,000 packages over the next several hours.

UPS has long been known for efficiency.

Drivers don’t run. That might cause injuries, which definitely aren’t efficient. They do, however, move briskly — about two steps per second. A residential stop should take 30 seconds, steering wheel to steering wheel, spokeswoman Donna Barrett said.

While at a stop, drivers are supposed to hang their key ring from a finger so it’s handy when they get back behind the wheel, where they simultaneously start the engine with their right hand while fastening the seat belt with their left.

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