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Bet you didn't know this creative trick

UPS drivers have a host of tricks to deliver packages faster. Can you guess what they do with their keys?

This guy knows how to be quick, efficient and reliable. Bet you can't guess how he keeps track of his package car keys.

Q. What one action multiplied by all UPS drivers adds up to a lot of time saved so that your packages arrive on time?  

A. Whenever a UPS driver leaves his seat, he places his package car key on his pinky finger. Here's why:

In 1921, UPS began to create work methods for its drivers to ensure their safety and get packages to their destinations faster. "Those methods were first developed by Tom Barker, an engineering graduate, who was hired by UPS's founder, Jim Casey," says Steve Smith, a UPS corporate industrial engineering manager.

"These methods require the driver to place the key ring on his or her finger after unlocking the bulkhead door and retain the ignition key in hand before returning to the car," Smith says. "This frees the drivers' mind from thinking about which pocket the keys go into, and it also prevents drivers from accidentally locking the keys in the cargo area. All of our drivers are taught methods like these."

The seconds add up
When you consider that about 70,000 UPS drivers making an average of more than 200 stops per day all use this method, the saved seconds add up, explains Patrick Smith from UPS's corporate industrial engineering department. "And those saved seconds become minutes throughout the day for each driver," he says.

"Our driver work methods are constantly under review and reflect the most efficient and safest way to do the job considering changes in equipment and technology," Smith says.

The methods and standards created by UPS's industrial engineering team come from years of careful measurement and study of what's most efficient and safest for the drivers. And they obviously cover almost everything – yes, even down to the way a UPS driver puts the key on his or her pinky finger!

Your turn to comment

The next time you get out of the car, perhaps you, too, will consider this method and save some time. Do you have any efficiency techniques that save you time? Share your thoughts in our comment section.

Do you like this kind of article? Rate it! Have your own creative trick that makes all the difference? Share it by selecting "Add Comment" below this article.

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Reader Comments

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Anonymous June 10, 2013
By 1980, living & working in Hollywood (CA), i reached the conclusion that making left-handed turns was one of the biggest wastes of time i engaged in so I stopped making left-handed turns. Period. Never again. Nice to learn that UPS figured it out, too. Works great, huh?! I also (nearly) always grab the first parking spot i come to in a parking lot. Not only do I save time & save gas, I get a little exercise & a little smuggy smile as i watch all those people still driving around looking for that ''just right spot'' as i enter the store to start shopping.
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Anonymous April 8, 2013
I know that our UPS drivers are always trying to meet time frames. We live in the country and have found it is very easy for us to meet our driver at his truck and take our packages. We don't mind doing this and it gives us a chance to say hello and thank them. The drivers usually leave with a smile on their face.
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Anonymous April 4, 2013
I think this is a great article... A 5 Star Rating... Keep them coming!
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Anonymous October 22, 2011
Sure u do that but what about the customer. I would like to have a a weight field added on the package profile. We ship hendreds of cartons a week with a standard carton size and the same weight in each carton. Every package shipped needs us to enter the same weight over an over. It is a simple upate to your system.
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The Compass Guy July 27, 2011
Hi folks, Jerry the Compass guy here. Interesting suggestion, Jamers58. Thanks for taking the time to share it! Anon, I have to confess, I've moved home several times and -- like your cargo handler -- I always try to just empty the truck fast, period. But I'm sure I could have been more efficient with a clever plan. UPS information, however, is probably proprietary, but I may be able to recommend a consultant who could assist.
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Anonymous July 26, 2011
I'm sure, UPS has done time studies and team standards.I am trying to do a time study on a primitive unloading operation of a cargo handler in India. The manager wants faster turnaround times and doesnt care about utilization or efficiency of his folks. He just wants to empty the truck pretty quick. Any idea how UPS dealt with cargo that came in unusual weights and sizes?(14kgs on an average). There isn't much literature on TEAM STANDARDS!
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Jamers58 February 25, 2011
Why don't you devise a button or bage which pins inside the drivers pocket which he buttons, so it doesn't fall out, whenever he steps close to the door it unlocks and locks when he steps away from the van automaticlly and would have a certain sound that only the ups drivers would know, and if the door wasen't close it would have a siren as a reminder..Now that would save time and door key locks, and also free the driver of wandering if the van locked or not and give him peace of mind.... PS I'am shure you could retro fit these devices for a small price if you did them in house...
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frog2323 February 8, 2011
use Biometric Screening: Fingerprint Scanners . that way only the driver and the supervisor can access the van or the van cargo bay door with no key. could cost a lot. something for the future?
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