The continued dynamic growth of ecommerce fulfillment has UPS and FedEx preparing for one of the largest holiday season forecasts to date. Retailers and carriers alike are working together on ways to incentivize their consumers to spend more money, but they must also be ready to meet their shipping deadlines when consumer’s make their online purchases. The 2013 holiday shipping season experienced a number of delays, missed deliveries and service disruptions due to the increase of ecommerce orders, inaccurate forecasts, and unfortunate weather throughout the country. UPS and FedEx are determined to avoid the shipping disaster of 2013, and have taken the appropriate steps to make sure 2014 goes smoothly.
UPS and FedEx have taken similar approaches in their first plan of attack, which is investing millions of dollars on improving their infrastructure, as well as hiring a much larger number of seasonal workers. The money being spent on infrastructure will enable the carriers to improve shipment processing and tracking, and expediting time sensitive shipments in all facilities, and has also contributed to the increase of distribution centers throughout the country. UPS has additionally added a series of new mobile distribution centers (MDCs) to increase flexibility in the company’s network. The MDCs move by rail and can be set in parking lots to serve as a temporary home for almost 100 additional trucks. The increase in seasonal workers will result in round the clock shifts so the supply chain is in constant motion. Both companies have confirmed that approximately 10% of seasonal workers are hired on for permanent positions, allowing them to begin holiday planning for the future years.