It’s All Hands on Deck for UPS for Last Minute Holiday Deliveries

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The collars on the shirts and blouses of some United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) changed from white to blue last week as the company sent some of its office staff out to the company’s warehouses to help sort, load, or deliver the flood of holiday packages.

UPS continued Saturday deliveries yesterday including in some markets where the service hadn’t even been fully rolled out according to a report at Fox News. Sunday delivery is also possible in some areas “if there are exceptional events.”

A UPS spokesman said that the company asks for volunteers for its “ready teams” weeks ahead of the busiest delivery periods. This year, however, the company had to assign office staff to help with deliveries on little notice. Some staff are even using their own vehicles to deliver packages.

Spokesman Steve Gaut told Fox News:

In some cases people were asked to change clothes and go to a local site that day or the next day because incoming volume tendered in trailer loads to specific sites was beyond the plan level. UPS wanted to ensure we avoided getting behind.

Using office staff to deliver packages is due in part to high volumes from online sellers and in part to a tighter than expected market for seasonal workers. UPS originally planned to hire 95,000 seasonal employees this year and Gaut, who did not say if they met that goal, did say that hiring was “more competitive in some markets.”

UPS has hired about the same number of seasonal employees in each of the past two years even though the company expected a 5% increase in package volume this year. The company said it was able to do that thanks to more automated equipment and more staff hired earlier in the year.