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How to Best Prepare for Current (and upcoming) Supply Chain Disruptions

supply chain

How to Best Prepare for Current (and upcoming) Supply Chain Disruptions

Weekly meal planning is a recurring event in our household. Although this activity is not particularly exciting, every Saturday my wife and I sit down to plan out our family meals. This process helps us avoid the mid-week supermarket scramble, as well as sidestep overspending on items we don’t actually need. Sound familiar? Supply chain planning is no different when it comes to yielding efficient results, especially this year.

It’s no secret the way companies ship their freight has shifted due to COVID-19. C.H. Robinson is great at helping customers secure capacity and optimize their global freight across our suite of service offerings as their needs evolve. Due to COVID-19 market changes, our global team of supply chain experts has spent extra time securing expedited less than container load (LCL) capacity for companies that can work with extra lead time. Another big change is how many ghost or charter flights are used to make up for lost capacity from the mass decline in global passenger travel.

However, COVID-19 is not the only event putting pressure on the freight market now. And with passenger travel not expected to recover until 2024, proactive solutions are needed to avoid current and upcoming disruptions.

Prepping for peak shipping season and new tech launches

When it comes to maximizing your global freight, it’s important to take seasonality into consideration. Peak shipping season for global air freight historically begins in October, and we’re already anticipating a busy peak season due to the unbalanced relationship between supply and demand. Even if air freight volumes were consistent or less than previous years, there is a lot less capacity to work with. Additionally, ocean shipping is experiencing a busy peak season now as companies prepare for the holiday shopping surge.

Consumers are also eagerly awaiting new technology releases—including the iPhone 12, Sony PS5, Xbox, and more. High priced commodities, like consumer electronics, primarily ship via air. And while consumer tech launches are not uncommon during the holiday season, the lack of passenger planes aren’t helping the situation this year. This, combined with the volume surge in other commodities related to peak shipping season and continued demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) creates a tighter market.

What can global shippers do to combat tight capacity?

The key is to remain flexible and remember it’s never too late to start planning. Although some items, such as technology, tend to move by air, global shippers can consider shifting other commodities to expedited LCL or expedited full container load (FCL) service to mitigate disruption and stay agile in a tight global freight market.

However, for those shippers that truly depend on air capacity, shifting modes isn’t always an option. So, while ghost flights were a reactive solution for many this past spring, C.H. Robinson took our own planning advice and proactively chartered weekly 747 cargo flights from China to the U.S. from October to November, as well as Europe to the U.S. until the end of the year. Capacity on a 747 cargo aircraft can hold up to five times more freight than an average ghost flight. And our global network of experts knew proactively purchasing that space was necessary as global shippers face peak season, PPE from Asia, and a recovering economy out of Europe. We’re already seeing this approach drive solutions for our customers.

Looking forward to COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon. Once one or more is available for global circulation, it will likely create a significant ripple effect throughout supply chains. Even if your company is not directly connected to distributing or manufacturing a vaccine, the time to start planning alternative modes or routes is now.

Like technology, vaccines primarily ship via air to monitor the temperature and deliver them to market quickly. According to IATA, 8,000 747 flights would be needed to distribute a single dose of the vaccine to 7.8 billion people around the world. Although a vaccine with this large of a global magnitude is new, we can get a sense of the supply chain reaction by looking back at the height of global demand for PPE. Throughout the spring we saw airlines, 3PLs, carriers, companies, and government agencies go above and beyond, working extra hours and expediting products in order to create and deliver PPE around the globe quickly. It’s likely we’ll see the same comradery with the vaccine—pulling manpower and capacity away from other shipping needs.

Although we know air freight will play a vital role in distributing vaccines, last -mile is also an important area companies and logistic professionals are planning for. Last-mile planning will be especially important in countries where road or manufacturing infrastructure may be underdeveloped. However, keep in mind whether your company is involved in vaccine distribution or not, it’s still likely your supply chain will be impacted by higher transportation rates or additional capacity constraints across modes.

Final thoughts

As the pandemic spread across the globe, we saw air cargo rates rise to unprecedented levels. Airlines and cargo operators continue to adapt quickly to this dynamic market. Now it’s time for companies to evolve, too. Never before has a balance between proactive planning and flexibility been so important.

Planning ahead and using forecast data can be the difference needed to turn a dysfunctional supply chain into a strong, agile one that is ready to face this volatile market. We know logistics can’t exist in a world of absolutes. This makes it difficult to prepare for today’s (and tomorrow’s) disruptions—or even to know where to begin. That’s where C.H. Robinson comes in. Utilizing our information advantage, you can rely on our people to bring you smarter solutions across your global supply chain. Reach out to one of our experts today to start the conversation.

e-commerce

UPS, FEDEX, AMAZON, TARGET, WALMART AND BEST BUY ARE KILLING IT IN E-COMMERCE. HERE’S HOW.

COVID-19 has sped up e-commerce adoption across all industries as many businesses emerge from the global pandemic battered and bruised. At the end of 2019, e-commerce represented 11.3 percent of total U.S. retail sales. This percentage inched up to 11.8 percent at the end of the first quarter of this year. For the second-quarter, some estimates suggest this percentage could double, at minimum, as businesses closed, and consumers stayed home because of COVID-19.

Indeed, while increased online sales is not a new phenomenon, the speed with which new generations of customers have gone online is and has led to a change in demand that is unlikely to reverse quickly according to McKinsey & Company’s latest COVID-19 Briefing Materials: Global Health and Crisis Response (June 1, 2020). McKinsey estimates that 20-60 percent more U.S. consumers are digital as a result of COVID-19. Stickiness of digital, localization, and selectiveness in spending are major trends that businesses will need to address as the pandemic alters the way business is conducted.

McKinsey also found that consumers are shopping online more and are more willing to switch across brands. This can be seen in one the biggest “winners:” groceries. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, online groceries grew 110 percent in daily sales between March and April. However, there were delays in last-mile deliveries as companies including Amazon, Walmart and Instacart had to hire more workers to assist with the increased consumer demand.

In March, Amazon had to restrict non-essential shipments from third-party sellers and other retail vendors and focus on receipt, restocking and delivery of essential products that were most in demand. Meanwhile, Walmart touted not only its online store capabilities but also curbside pickup. The result was a strong first-quarter earnings for the period ending April 30 with comparable-store sales up 10 percent and e-commerce sales up 74 percent. Strongest sales were in food, consumables, health, and wellness.

Retailer Target also noted strong first-quarter sales. While comparable-store sales increased only 0.9 percent in its first-quarter ending April 30, e-commerce sales jumped 141 percent with 80 percent of e-commerce orders fulfilled in Target’s stores. Food and beverages rose over 20 percent, essential and beauty 10 percent, and home rose in the single digits.

As more workers work from home, electronics and furniture sales also increased. Best Buy noted in the eight days ending March 20, sales jumped 25 percent as customers purchased work-from-home-related items. As stores closed, online sales increased more than 250 percent, with half of those orders using curbside service available at most Best Buy stores.

For small parcel carriers including FedEx and UPS, the e-commerce volumes proved to be a boon. Both carriers have been preparing for rising e-commerce volumes by introducing such service offerings as seven-day deliveries, faster delivery times, later pick-up times, returns solutions, fulfillment solutions designed for e-retailers, alternative delivery pick-up and drop off locations and more. By all accounts, FedEx and UPS appeared prepared to handle the sudden e-commerce volume increases.

Just as the COVID-19 impact was being felt in the U.S., UPS noted in its first-quarter earnings that March volumes were 70 percent business-to-consumer (B2C) with April trending similar. FedEx also noted a similar trend with higher than usual B2C volumes.

The result was a sharp increase in residential volumes for both carriers and delays occurred. It should be noted that residential deliveries are typically more costly for FedEx and UPS versus business-to-business moves in which batches of parcels can be picked up and delivered at once.

A number of consumers took to social media to voice their frustrations and share photos of overflowing packages at carriers’ facilities. However, not only were carriers faced with higher than normal volumes, but they were also dealing with the coronavirus itself, affecting an unknown number of FedEx and UPS employees who would otherwise be sorting packages, loading and unloading delivery vehicles and delivering packages. Networks slowed as a result.

Having temporarily suspended all service guarantees and implemented international peak surcharges in March to handle a surge in international volumes, FedEx and UPS introduced new temporary peak surcharges to address the U.S. domestic situation.

UPS’s latest surcharges took effect on May 31 and addressed Residential, SurePost, and Large Parcels. Meanwhile, FedEx’s domestic temporary peak surcharges took effect on June 8 and addressed Residential for FedEx Ground and FedEx Express parcels, SmartPost, and Oversize Parcels for FedEx Ground and FedEx Express parcels. Keep in mind, these temporary peak surcharges are in addition to already existing surcharges and individual shipper’s contracted rates.

Besides surcharges, FedEx also capped some shippers’ volumes. This is a similar approach to what the carrier does during the holiday season if a shipper exceeds agreed-upon volume commitments. However, this is not the traditional holiday season and many shippers were caught off guard by this tactic. UPS also took a page out of their holiday season playbook and dispersed managers and supervisors across the U.S. to pitch in and help at sorting facilities and deliver parcels.

The rapid increase in e-commerce parcels seemed to catch FedEx and UPS off-guard and significantly impact their lower margin service, Residential. Moving beyond the COVID-19 crisis, e-commerce will play a bigger role in B2C as well as B2B. Businesses will utilize a number of creative ways to handle the last mile – curbside pickup, buy online, pickup in-store, residential, third party locations for pickup and delivery, and more. FedEx and UPS will need to work closely with customers to share capacity availability and concerns.

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John Haber is the founder and CEO of Spend Management Experts. With more than 25 years of supply-chain experience, John has helped some of the world’s leading brands drive greater efficiencies through their supply-chain operations while reducing transportation, distribution and fulfillment costs. He began his career at UPS, where he held various executive level positions in corporate finance and corporate strategy and was instrumental in developing profitability and costing models. He also managed the carrier’s National Accounts Profitability Group where he audited the pricing and profitability of UPS’ top customers. John’s finance background combined with decades of experience working with high-volume shippers enables him to offer unique insights on strategic supply chain planning, including distribution model optimization, transportation cost analysis and carrier contract optimization and compliance.

drones

THAT BUZZING IS THE SOUND OF FREEDOM: THANK THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY FOR THE RISE OF DRONES IN LOGISTICS AND TRANSPORTATION

The demand within the global drone logistics and transportation industry is rising at a stellar pace in recent times. The need for aviation and military drones has created a juggernaut of possibilities for growth within this market. Moreover, new applications of drones have come to the fore across several industries. This trend has paved way for increased investments to flow into the global drone logistics and transportation market.

That’s the conclusion of a recent review by Transparency Market Research (TMR), which decoded some of the leading factors pertaining to the growth of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). According to TMR, the importance of aerial inspection of terrains for a multitude of industries has driven market demand. Technological enhancements in the structuring and functionalities of UAVs have additionally impelled demand.

The TMR review is not confined solely to logistics and transportation, as it also delves into the relevance of drones across military, aviation, construction and entertainment sectors.

Advancements in Military Technologies. The use of drones in the defense sector has gathered momentum in recent times. The need for increased surveillance and reconnaissance in the military industry has played to the advantage of the vendors operating in the global market. Increasing anarchy among regional territories has also generated humongous demand within the global drone market, which can therefore count on increased revenues in the years to follow.

Use of Drones in Site Inspections. The construction industry has become a haven of new possibilities and technologies. Drones are extensively used to oversee operations in that sector, with the need to inspect terrains and unexplored lands creating a boatload of possibilities within the market.

UAVs in Logistics and Transportation is Looking Up. Recent drone developments in the sector cited in the TMR review include:

-Rising investments in drones by the likes of Amazon, Walmart, Uber, Google, FedEx and UPS are ushering in technological advancements and design innovations.

-Drone strategies being employed by Uber Technologies Inc., Flirtey, Zipline International, Drone Delivery Canada and Matternet. When it comes to just the latter two, Drone Delivery Canada has agreed to serve Moose Cree First Nation communities, while Matternet and Boeing HorizonX Ventures have partnered in drone delivery as well.

-A Beijing-based online business firm, which since 2016 has operated under an agreement to deliver commercial drones in four main regions spread over China, being online to have built 150 drone delivery services in the southwestern Sichuan region by the end of this year.

-The same firm planning to expand to Japan and Indonesia.

-India’s Zomato, which took over the drone startup TechEagle, developing a hub-to-hub transportation service supported by hybrid multi-rotor drones.

The Bottom Line. The revenue index of the drone logistics and transportation market is projected to improve in the times to come. Learn more about this, including industry challenges, at: https://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/drone-logistics-and-transportation-market.html.

More Drone Developments. Speaking of UPS, the Atlanta-based delivery and logistics giant earlier this year announced a series of new initiatives and partnerships aimed at upgrading its global logistics network that includes the expansion of drone operations in the healthcare sector. An initiative to test drone delivery use cases with Henry Schein, a worldwide distributor of medical and dental supplies, will allow UPS to focus on UAVs for one of its key business sectors. A huge factor in these tests will be ensuring successful deliveries of essential healthcare products to destinations where traditional road transport may be less effective or timely, such as remote communities or areas impacted by a natural disaster, according to UPS.

The UPS Flight Forward subsidiary drone business, which was only formed last year, received a highly-restricted air carrier certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that allows for approved UPS drones to fly over people, at night and out of the operator’s line of sight. After granting UPS Flight Forward the special certification, the FAA authorized the company to operate a drone delivery program at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. Meanwhile, UPS in February expanded its Flight Forward service to the University of California at San Diego Health. That’s the result of another Mountain View, California-based Matternet partnership. That drone program will be used to transport various medical products between health centers and labs, with the drones following predetermined flight paths within visual line of sight per FAA rules. (Matt Coker)

Thank the Military Again. Yates Electrospace Corp. (YEC), whose Silent Arrow platform is bringing disruptive innovation to the heavy payload, unmanned cargo delivery market, announced the design completion and specifications of a wide-body version of its successful GD-2000 cargo delivery drone. With a full-scale, flight-ready version of the latter having been shown off at the Defense & Security Equipment International show in London in September 2019, the coming out for the GD-2000’s bigger sister is set for the July 20-24 run of the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK (coronavirus willing, of course).

Aliso Viejo, California-based YEC responded to real-time demand from U.S. and allied foreign government Special Operators, including the U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), for the development of the new wide-body craft. It will be 60 percent larger than the standard Silent Arrow GD-2000, with a  2,000-pound gross weight; a 48-foot wingspan (among four spring-deployed wings that are stowed in a 3.5×3.5×13-foot fuselage); and a 140-cubic-foot cargo bay that can handle up to 1,250 pounds (or five times more weight in life-saving supplies, medicines and tactical cargo than the GD-2000).

“The YEC engineering team used current flight data from the inaugural GD-2000 product line along with extensive computational fluid dynamics analysis to optimize the aerodynamics and glide ratio of this rather massive cargo delivery platform,” says Chip Yates, YEC’s founder and CEO, who noted an accelerated schedule led to the delivery of development units by the end of this past March and the setting of 10 flight test units throughout the second and third quarters of 2020. Don’t be surprised if Yates’ latest creation is a hit: The original Silent Arrow was named one of six “Unmanned Cargo Aircraft to Watch” by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine in their 2020 Aerospace & Defense issue. (MC)

delivery

Is your Ecommerce Caught Between Delivery Delays and Voided Service Guarantees? Strategies to Survive this Situation.

The pandemic has disrupted ecommerce businesses in unique ways. While a few ecommerce stores went bust, others doubled their revenue overnight. Regardless the parcel volumes continue to soar. The parcel volumes are so high that even major shipping carriers like FedEx and UPS are overwhelmed. For example, FedEx alone saw a 35%-40% increase in B2C deliveries. An unprecedented rise in shipments has forced both the carriers to resort to undertaking stringent actions.

Carriers Suspend Service Guarantees

FedEx and UPS have suspended money-back guarantee for ground and priority services. Let’s take a minute to understand what this means for merchants. An escalation in order volumes directly impacts the carrier’s on-time delivery performance. It is almost a given that merchants will experience a minimum of 20% increase in delays. An explosion in sales, impatient customers, and shoddy delivery experience. Add to it, COVID uncertainty and unaccountability resulting from voided service guarantees. Sounds like a disaster in the making?

When delays are imminent

With the growing volume of residential deliveries clogging their network, carriers may redirect traffic to relieve congestion. Suspension of guarantees also means that FedEx or UPS can switch your priority shipments to lower-cost ground mode without notice. Expect more delays for overnight and priority shipments. While you pay for a premium service there is no way you can hold carriers accountable.

Watch out for COVID-19 Surcharges

In order to mitigate the strain on their delivery network, UPS followed by FedEx has come up with peak volume surcharges. A $30 surcharge as additional handling charges and $0.40 for services like FedEx SmartPost or UPS surepost. But the surcharge that retailers must be most concerned about is the residential area surcharge. A surcharge of $0.30 will be levied on all orders that are to be delivered to residences.

Strategies to survive

The disastrous combination of delivery delays and rising shipping costs can ruin your sales revenue. It is crucial to take steps to mitigate the impact of COVID on your shipping costs as well as customer experience.

Here are a few strategies to follow:

1. Re-negotiate your shipping contract: UPS or FedEx can’t spring a surprise charge. Especially during these trying times. Work through your shipping profile to figure out the impact of these charges on your costs. Negotiate with your FedEx or UPS rep and draw up a special contract for the COVID situation.

2. Consider charging for order delivery: Free and fast delivery has been your brand’s USP. However, if including a shipping fee helps your business stay afloat, don’t shy away. Don’t let the additional surcharge eat into your profit margin.

3. Delays should not deter you: Factor in for delays while revisiting the estimated date of shipments on your shipping page.  Communicate well in advance to your customer support team. Mention the changes to delivery times due to COVID On your home page.

4. Over-communicate with your customers: Let your customers know at all times where their package is. Stay on top of your orders at all times. Act quickly in case of a delivery exception.

5. Audit your invoices: Businesses are slashing all the excess spending. As for ecommerce, you should start by auditing your shipping invoice. It is more critical than ever to examine each and every line item on your invoice. This can help you save 10%-12% of your shipping costs.

The peak volume surcharges and service guarantee suspension are supposedly temporary. When things go back to normal, FedEx and UPS are likely to reinstate these service guarantees. However, with no clear timeline in businesses must prepare to navigate the status-quo as long as it lasts.

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Simon Perkins is a Shipping Cost Management expert at AuditShipment.com, a real-time parcel monitoring and AI-powered audit service that provides businesses with deep shipping intelligence and actionable cost recovery insights.

returns

National Returns Day Anticipated with 26% Increase

‘Tis the season for giving and returns. UPS released information today confirming National Returns Day will return with a vengeance, as seen over the last seven years of year-on-year increases. According to the report, an estimated 1.9 million returns in the form of packages are expected. This number represents a 26 percent increase from last year’s National Returns Day.

“For retailers, a seamless returns process is essential to keeping and growing business,” said Kevin Warren, UPS chief marketing officer. “We proudly offer businesses of all sizes – from global players to small and medium-sized merchants – the sophisticated returns services that today’s consumers demand.”

As part of its Pulse of the Online Shopper study, UPS confirmed that the returning process plays a major role in their likelihood of using a retailer again. In fact, 73 percent of online shoppers confirmed the returns experience impacts potential business.

As e-commerce continues to establish its position in consumer patterns, UPS stays one step ahead of the trends by offering a plethora of fast, reliable, and convenient delivery (and return) options for consumer products. Among these options include the 14,000+ UPS Access Point® locations found at UPS Access Point® locations found at Michaels, Advance Auto, CVS Pharmacy and The UPS Store® locations and the 36,000 drop boxes for smaller packages.

Additionally, UPS customers have an added option of having a UPS driver come to them as long as a return label is ready to go. UPS boasts a network of over 4,800 locations fully equipped and ready to assist customers with all of their full-service packing, shipping and return needs.

veterans

UPS Celebrates Veterans this Holiday Season

UPS confirmed in an announcement this week that the company will be participating in this year’s Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery, aiding in providing support for the nonprofit’s annual wreath-laying and 2.5 + mile-long parade honoring our nation’s veterans. More than 50,000 wreaths are expected to be delivered and placed at the Arlington National Cemetery. This year’s Honor Trailer will transport the wreaths via vehicle and driver provided by UPS.

“Veterans bring an incredible wealth of experience and commitment to working together to achieve objectives,” said Lloyd Knight, Senior Director at UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Chairman of the UPS Veterans Steering Council, President of VETLANTA and Air Force veteran.

UPS is no stranger when it comes to supporting our nation’s heroes as seen with the original UPS Veterans Business Resource Group chapter close to a decade prior. To this day, 23 chapters exist for its employees in addition to the 299,000 volunteer hours invested by UPS employees and $7.1 million has gone towards veteran initiatives over the last few decades.

“These qualities are critically important to our company, and to our communities. Honoring those who have served, and helping to provide a pathway for their continued journey, are among the ways we can express our gratitude for their service,” Knight concluded.

This year’s Wreaths Across America takes place on December 14th and includes additional veterans-focused locations (including schools) in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C. To learn more about the event and UPS participation, visit the UPS press room.

holiday

UPS: “This Holiday Season, We’ve Prepared Like Never Before.”

Today marked the first day of the peak holiday season for 2019 and the beginning of increased holiday shipments and deliveries. UPS confirmed a 5 percent increase in package shipments from 2018 record is expected in addition to an estimated 32 million packages and documents per day during peak season, primarily stemming from UPS’s retailer and B2B-focused customers. This anticipated chaos doesn’t seem to be a problem for UPS, however.

“This holiday season, we’ve prepared like never before,” said UPS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David Abney. “UPS has invested billions in our facilities, our air fleet and our workforce.  We have the capacity for, and are committed to, serving the unique needs of all our customers. To our customers, I simply say: We’re ready, Let’s go! You can count on us to help you make the holiday season successful.”

UPS has prepared resources in the form of added space (five million square feet of highly automated facilities, to be precise), automated superhubs, 11 newly added aircraft (increasing payload by 2.5 million pounds), optimization technologies, and a robust employee network close to 100,000 seasonal workers.

“More than ever, the 2019 holiday season proves UPS puts customers’ needs first,” said UPS Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren. “That starts with eliminating residential peak season surcharges, and extends into a wide range of new services that complement our industry-leading portfolio of offerings.”

Additional service enhancements have also been added to further support the growing demand, including the fastest ground-service offerings to-date, commercial/residential weekend services for pickup and delivery for customers in the top metro areas, late-night pickups via UPS Extended Hours® to qualifying customers, and more.

“We have the right strategies in place to help our customers make the most of the holiday season, with extensive forecasting, expanded ground and air capacity, effective onboarding to bring an army of seasonal employees up to speed, and the products and services that help all our customers meet high expectations this time of year,” Abney said.  “We look forward to another successful peak season.”

rewards

UPS Launches Access Point Rewards Program for Increased Holiday Support

UPS customers gearing up for the upcoming holiday season are being encouraged to keep things simple in terms of shipping through the utilization of the UPS Access Point® network through the UPS My Choice® service.  By doing so, consumers can expect up to $35 in value rewards back from the shipping company from Target eGift cards to upgraded deliveries via a free UPS My Choice Premium membership.

UPS understands that busy consumers increasingly need choice, control and convenience in the delivery process, especially during the holiday season,” said Kevin Warren, UPS’s chief marketing officer. “With the expanded UPS Access Point network, they get that, as well as the added bonus of not having to worry about package security, missed deliveries or hiding presents until the right time.”

The added rewards in conjunction with the Access Point network are direct initiatives supporting the needs of UPS consumers. Customers are currently offered more than 15,000 convenient pick-up destinations through the Access Point network. A survey conducted earlier this year revealed 20 percent of global shoppers expressed alternate delivery location preferences to home delivery. The Access Point network and now rewards program are direct responses to fulfill consumer demands.

To take advantage of the rewards program, consumers are encouraged to enroll (for free) in the  UPS My Choice® service for global delivery options access. An email will be sent to eligible rewards members in January 2020 with information on redeeming their rewards. To learn more about the holiday program, please visit: ups.com

ups flight forward

UPS Flight Forward Boasts First-Ever Part 135 Standard Certification

Drones continue to make news headlines with the latest announcement from UPS Flight Forward, Inc. confirming the first-ever government-approved Part 135 Standard certification awarded by the FAA earlier this week. This certification – which is known as the highest level, supports the UPS subsidiary to further opportunities in drone deliveries including operating drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS).

“This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet,” said David Abney, UPS chief executive officer. “Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers. We will soon announce other steps to build out our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”

UPS Flight Forward deployed the first BVLOS drone delivery to WakeMed’s hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina shortly after receiving the certification. The government-exempted BVLOS flight was carried out by Matternet’s M2 quadcopter. UPS partnered with drone creator Matternet earlier this year to expand supporting healthcare delivery operations specifically for WakeMed’s hospital campus. These operations further reiterate the demand for efficient, speedy deliveries for the medical industry and its patients.

“UPS Flight Forward is benefitting from our knowledge as one of the world’s leading airlines. The Flight Forward organization is building a full-scale drone operation based on the rigorous reliability, safety, and control requirements of the FAA,” Abney said.

The Part 135 Standard certification carries significant advantages with minimal restrictions to UPS, such as no limits on the scale of operations, unlimited numbers of drones and remote operators, cargo weights exceeding 55 pounds, and more. By obtaining this certification, common barriers associated with drone deliveries are eliminated.

“This is a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, expanding access to healthcare in North Carolina and building on the success of the national UAS Integration Pilot Program to maintain American leadership in unmanned aviation,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

seasonal

UPS Beefs Up Seasonal Employees for Holiday Preparations

With the holidays quickly approaching, UPS begins preparations for the inevitable increase in demand by recruiting an estimated 100,000 full and parttime seasonal workers. The positions available include package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers offering competitive incentives to qualified seasonal workers. Among benefits highlighted include the company’s Earn and Learn program which offers students up to $1,300 towards college expenses, healthcare, and retirement benefits.

“We expect another record Peak season this year, with daily package deliveries nearly doubling compared to our average of 20 million per day,” said Jim Barber, chief operating officer.  “In order to make that happen, once again we’re recruiting about 100,000 people for some of the country’s best seasonal jobs.”

UPS reports that about 35 percent of their seasonal packaging handler employees were eventually recognized and named permanent staff members. Other seasonal employees, such as Mercy Alvarado, benefit from the UPS-employee relationship years following the initial hire.

“I started my UPS career as a seasonal driver helper in part because the company’s tuition reimbursement program offered an opportunity to continue my education,” Alvarado said. “Since then I’ve not only completed my associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, I’ve been promoted twice and am now a full-time supervisor. UPS is the place where I plan to retire someday, and I’ll always be thankful for this amazing job and opportunity.”

Other seasonal employees hired by UPS support operations at temporary facilities designated specifically for demanding shipping waves reported during the holidays and other peak seasons.