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5 things you need to know today about holiday shipping

You've got enough to worry about. Here are a few tips for a smooth peak season.


It's not yet time for eggnog and fruitcake, but the holidays are on their way – and that means that the peak shipping season is approaching.

"Every company has a peak season, and Christmas-time is ours," says Donnie Nunley, UPS package planning manager. "Our volume grows exponentially as we get close to Christmas." Just as your staff works extra hard to keep up with the holiday rush, so do UPS employees. Here are some things you can do to keep your shipping operation running smoothly during the holiday season:

1. Keep your UPS driver in the loop about changes in your operation. A large increase or decrease in your shipping volume, a change in operating hours or a significant volume shift in UPS services, such as from UPS Ground to UPS 2nd Day Air®, could affect your driver's handling of your pickup. "If you let your driver know ahead of time, we can prepare for your changes," Nunley says.

2. Have packages ready at pickup time. "Our drivers aren't going home each night until their trucks are empty," says Jim Dunn, UPS corporate industrial engineering manager. So it helps your driver and all the other folks along the route if pickups are ready to go when your driver arrives. 

Use these tips to keep your shipping operation running smoothly during the holiday season.

3. Plan ahead for holiday operating hours – and ship early when possible. Although UPS makes every effort to deliver holiday ground shipments with the same transit times as the rest of the year, we can't guarantee UPS Ground shipments during the two weeks before Christmas due to unusually high volume. A good rule of thumb is to allow seven business days for ground shipments during those last two weeks, particularly for long distances; your shipment may arrive sooner, of course. You'll get a precise answer on how long it will take, depending on ZIP Codes, by using the Time and Cost Calculator.

4. Package safely. It always makes good sense to package your shipments to avoid damages en route, but it's especially important during peak season, when UPS processing facilities and delivery vehicles are operating at high capacity. Learn 10 packaging tips from a UPS pro

5. Reduce confusion and congestion on your shipping dock. By making UPS your sole shipping source, you'll discover even greater volume discounts and the most reliable service in the industry. Contact your UPS account representative if you need customized support.    


Reader Comments

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Tim T November 27, 2014
Definitely not, like the article states, you must contact an account representative.
Johnny December 11, 2013
Can you tell me whether or not this comment is going to get delivered to the administrator and reviewed and answered in the appropriate manner through the protocol that you use there in your company? I am trying to determine if this is the appropriate mode of communication to better understand usage of this system.
Anonymous November 7, 2013
We also use "Smart Pickup" and like the yearly savings. However we also have our drivers cell phone. Keep your UPS driver like you would keep your banker or account!
Anonymous October 20, 2013
We use a flag system which works really well for us and our favorite driver! Since we are shipping out of a warehouse on a back road we just put out a red banner flag if we have a pickup, that way he doesn't have to pull off the road and go all the way around a tight driveway. We also call his cell if we have packages that need to be expedited and he needs to let the hub know ahead of time, since we are an hour away fro the hub :-) Thank UPS!
Anonymous October 11, 2013
Hi Anonymous_1! I think UPS has already implemented your request: It's called "Smart Pickup"! It works great for me. Check it out. Thanks, Joseph
Anonymous October 10, 2013
I call my UPS driver on any given day that I do not have any packages for him. Just ask for their number and give them a call. They would not have time to call each and every customer that they have. But for each customer, it would only be 1 phone call for them to make to their driver. Just a thought for you:)
Anonymous October 10, 2013
@Anonymous_1 why don't you change from a daily pickup to a scheduled pickup? that way they only show up when you ask them too. Saves money too
Anonymous October 10, 2013
I think it would be helpful for the drivers if they are allowed to check in with a business like ours who doesn't have packages to pick up every day. Quick call and he saves the time of dropping by when there aren't any pick ups. Just a thought.
Anonymous July 19, 2013
Is there any way you guys can do something like this we can all post on our websites to help the customer as well?