A behind-the-scenes look at an innovative training program that even includes mock towns.
Making sure that shipments get picked up and delivered on time depends largely on skilled, safe drivers. Good driver training is, quite literally, "where the rubber meets the road."
Training uses a mock town like what would be found on a movie set and combines hands-on experience with 3D simulations and classroom instruction.
And UPS sees to it with an innovative driver training program called UPS Integrad®. It includes a mock town like what would be found on a movie set and combines hands-on experience with both 3D simulations and classroom instruction. Trainees are videotaped to show them how they look in action. On-the-spot instructor feedback gets new drivers up to speed.
An in-action real-world simulation
Launched in 2007 at a facility in Landover, Md., the one-week intensive training program expanded to a second facility outside Chicago in 2010. The program has been so successful that UPS is building at least four more regional facilities. The Phoenix location opened in October, and sites in Portland, Ore., Menlo Park, Calif., and Dallas are expected to open in 2015.
The mock town at each site is called "Clarkville" and has houses, street signs, a loading dock and sheds that simulate delivery stops. Would-be drivers practice scanning and delivering packages; the goal is to make about five deliveries within 19 minutes.
Safety is a key ingredient. Driver candidates practice correctly entering or exiting the package car. While they do so, a machine measures pressure on their knees, showing them that using handrails is safer.
Several training aids teach drivers about efficiency and injury prevention – skills that aim to improve safety, efficiency and customer service. For example, a slip-and-fall simulator teaches recruits how to walk across a treated surface that mimics conditions such as ice or grease. Trainees are strapped into a safety harness and practice walking with correct posture to avoid falls.
Friendly and road-ready
In all, trainees are taught hundreds of specific methods and techniques required of UPS drivers to handle the rigors of their physically demanding job. Included are the distinctive "two tap" horn honk (more friendly than leaning on the horn) and the rationale for avoiding unnecessary left-hand turns. (Left turns take more time, use more gas, and expose vehicles to being hit by oncoming traffic. Three right turns are almost always better. Read more here.)
UPS Integrad training goes even further, though. Today's UPS driver candidates come away with a broad knowledge of UPS products and services.
Read real-world stories about UPS safe drivers.