Preparations for the holiday season are underway, with experts predicting higher volumes of shipped packages and deliveries.
“Peak season continues to get more compressed, so it will no doubt be record volumes for our network to absorb,” said Lee Spratt, CEO at DHL eCommerce Solutions for the Americas.
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To accommodate the extra pressure on their infrastructure, logistics firms UPS, DHL eCommerce and FedEx have said they plan to introduce several new measures, including hiring a combined total of more than 155,000 seasonal employees.
UPS, which announced plans to fill 100,000 positions for the holiday season, will place most employees as package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers. “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, COO at UPS.
Last year, the company reported that 35% of seasonal package handlers were brought on full-time; it is expected that a similar proportion will become permanent staff at the end of this season.
FedEx has also implemented changes to cope with the higher volume. In addition to increasing hours for existing employees, it will hire an anticipated 55,000 seasonal positions. The majority of these will work as part of the FedEx Ground network, which provides shipping in one to seven days across all 50 states, and to support FedEx’s existing 450,000 team members.
DHL eCommerce, despite current plans to hire only 1,050 additional positions, also expects to see about 30% of its employees become full-time staff. “Throughout peak we identify folks that excel at the job and make offers for the remainder of the year,” said Spratt. “January and February are also higher volume months, so we retain quite a few employees then.”
Spratt added that, in addition to hiring, the firm has made logistical changes to improve efficiency during the season. “This year we have a new technique for unloading Air Freight containers in a way that uses less floor space. We have also adopted a method of staging customer product to keep everything extremely organized and ensure “first in, first out” processing,” he said.
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