Archive for The Ins and Outs of Boxes: UPS

Warning! Warning!

UPS was hit with a huge crisis during August of 1997. This crisis was a nationwide strike, organized by a union called the Teamsters. The strike lasted 15 days and was describedas being “one of the largest, maybe most decisive labor dispute in U.S. since WWII.” The union consisted of 1.4 million members and it was a struggle between the labor and the management.


The unionhad called for 30,000 full time jobs to be opened for part time workers, but for them to be spread out over several years. They also demanded better wages and benefits. In the endthe union received a labor contract deal with UPS. It included to keep control of pension funds and winning increased retirees. They also won a nearly 40% increase in wages for the average part-time workers and the creation of 10,000 new full time positions.


This strike was very significant and personal to me because when I was in middle school this strike was going on and my father was the Program Manager and Plant Engineer. I remember him being gone for at least a week. He was in another city in Georgia for about five days and then in California for four, delivering packages and making sure the company was still up and running even though the majority of workers were out picketing.


Not only is this event a significant crisis for UPS but it was also a significant event for unions and the country as a whole. The union’s PR was greater than UPS’ during this time, it seemed. I think this might have been because most of the management was having to do other jobs to keep the business from going under. Was this the best thing to do? No, I don’t think that UPS should have hidden away. If there was something I have learned it is that you should not hide away, especially in a time of crisis. You should get up and discuss it with your public so they know what is going on. I think UPS did end up handling it well because they are still a very strong company and still have several million loyal customers.


The importance of community

UPS finds that being a part of the community is important for the company and for employees/individuals. With this belief comes many different opportunities and programs they offer for their employees and the company to help the community.
Some of these include:
  • The neighbor to neighbor program
  • UPS global volunteer week
  • The Jim Casey Community Service Award


  They also help education, with programs like school to work, earn and learn program, scholarships, and welfare to work.

They deal with safety, making sure their drives know how to drive safely.

They like helping the environment: recycling, fleet management, and others.

Philantrophy: UPS foundation, grants, United Way, etc.

They also find diversity and volunteerism important.


These are all just a few things that UPS shows how they help the community, and of course it is helpful to their public appearance especially with helping send packages to troops during the holidays and to kids in need.

To work or not to work? That is the question.

When asked if I would be more or less likely to work for this company after what I have learned, my answer is still yes. My father worked for this company for my entire life until his retirement about two or three years ago and it has brought him so much. I spent a day with him during middle school or elementary school and I thought the company was great for the family. They really do seem to care about their employees, so no wonder why they were awarded one of the best places to start your career, best place to work, and several others.


I also like the fact that employees receive health benefits, pension benefits, a 401 (k) plan, discounted employee stock purchase plan, paid vacation, and tuition assistance. If my father had not been still working at UPS when I started college and I had known about their schooling and working opportunities I might have been picked what school I went to based on the fact that I could work for a company I could make a career out of while getting a degree. I think all work places should encourage schooling for their employees because the world is constantly changing and when you have hard-workers that are adding to their talents the better the company will become.


I also think that they are doing a great job with dealing with the economies state. It seems that they are trying to keep their employees, well employed, and not raising their prices too much for their customers. While they have already published their increased rates for 2009, they have confidence in their loyal customers to be OK with the increase enough to continue being loyal.

Career opportunities

I have only looked in the US for what careers are currently opened for people search for a form of communication position. These included communications, public relations, and marketing.


The only job I was able to find was in the packaging department of UPS and it was a Account Executive in Marketing. This job can be found in Olympic, Los Angelas, California.


Other than that, there are not really jobs found here in the United States. If you are interested to find out if there are any other jobs in another country or another field you can always visit their career website. This will include corporate opportunities as well as delivery and more.


In addition: UPS has a program that allows college students to study as well as work. UPS finds education to be very important and tries their best to help out their employees.

Excuse me, excuse me! Can I quote you on that?

I think the UPS newsroom, or what they call the Press Room, has been developed very well. This is a separate site for UPS that has RSS feed as well as email updates for those who are really interested in what the company is doing.


The home page for the press room included these links as well as seeing press releases and news/updates.


The tabs that are on the website include press release, media kits, in the news, executive forums, and multimedia.


I think this site is very easy to navigate and as some one who was trying to research the company, I found it very useful. I think if I were a journalist I would not have a hard time finding background information on events that have been going on in the company.  In addition they have an area to look for logos and which logos are appropriate to use and also how/where you can use them. Like I said, I really do think this website is really helpful and easy to use.

Groundswell goes into effect… or do they?

UPS does have one downfall. They have not used social media to their fullest. As of right now the company does not own their own blog nor have I been able to find people from UPS on Twitter.


Here, however, are some of the things they have been doing right. They have the UPS whiteboard which is an interactive part of their website which helps customers find/understand how UPS works, how to navigate around the actual website, who works for UPS and what the different areas mean/do.


There was an articleon the UPS website that did discuss the importance of blogging and how it could help businesses.

I also found another sitethat discussed how UPS was using the Internet in new ways to “listen to” their audiences.


Lastly, UPS does have a professional profile on Linkedin.


Overall, I do not think that UPS has seemed to keep up with the newest social media to keep in contact with their consumers. However, UPS has been awarded to have good customer service as well as has been listed by Information Week’s Magazine’s top 500 companies, based on innovative use of technology. They do seem to know how to listen to their audience, but I think they have a little bit of a hard time talking to their audience, and several of the other parts that are included in the Groundswell.

And the winner is…

UPS has received SEVERAL awards and honors in the past 10 years. Because there are so many I will not bore you with all of them. However they have 4 areas they receive awards in: E-commerce/technology, business excellence, environment, and corporate citizenship.

In 2008 these are some of the awards/honors UPS received:

  • Top 100 Global Brands-according to Intrebrand
  • #13 of 60 as Most Visible U.S. Companies- according to a survey by Harris Interactive
  • For the 4th consecutive year, they have been awarded #1 in the Parcel Delivery Category as BrandKey’s Loyalty Engagment Index
  • Most Ethical Company- by Ethisphere Insititute
  • #15 of 600 worldwide as Most Reputable Global Companies- according to Forbes magazine
  • Honored with Smartway Excellence Award- by Environmental Protection Agency
  • Best Place to Launch Career- by Business Week
  • Top Company for Women by Pink Magazine and top award for Supporting Women-Owned Businesses
  • For the third year in a row, named among 40 best companies for diversity

You challenge me?

One thing that UPS said they find challenging, as any other growing company would, is keeping the technology initiatives aligned with the businesses direction. 


With the economy pretty much failing right now, UPS has lowered its first quarter earnings expectations to $.86 or $.87 per diluted share from previously anticipated range of $.94 to $.98. They will also be increasing the rates for 2009.


Some other challenges they have faced are keeping up with their customers importance of being green. They have done this by sending out 167 “green fleets,” adopting HP paperless printing solutions, and also being the first of this type of company to purchase Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicles.


“Based on economic forecasts, we anticipate a challenging environment for a number of quarters going forward.” said Kurt Kuehn, UPS’ Chief Financial Offices. “We believe the US consumer will very conservative with spending this year. But we still expect 2008 earnings per share should be toward the lower end of the $3.50 to $3.70 range that we provided mid-year.” To read more about this story and how UPS is actually doing fairly well even though the economy is weak click here.

Going Public and Being a Model

UPS caters to several different people. This includes the individuals, grandparents sending Christmas and birthday presents to their grandchildren, and companies, who send products to either individuals or to other distribution companies.



UPS serves Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Caribbean, Central America, South America, North America, Middle East, and Europe. Some of these include over 40 individual countries.


UPS has over 7.9 million customers DAILY (no wonder they are one of the leading delivery services!). This includes 1.8 million pick-ups and 6.1 million delivers.

Second of all: I think that UPS uses a two-way symmetric model (based on the four academic models of Public Relations by  James Grunig and Todd Hunt). While they might not have a lot of social media aspects such as blogs or accounts in twitter, they do have places for customers to express their opinions on their website. While I have yet to have a personal problem with UPS, I expect that UPS tries to answer all the questions of the public as fast and accurately as possible. This way it is a two-way symmetric model. They listen to their customers and use this to help achieve both UPS’ objectives as well as their client’s objectives. It is a win-win situation.

Over 100 years old and running

UPS was founded in 1907 in Seattle, Washington by 19 year-old James E. (“Jim”) Casey. When it was first created it was called the American Messenger Company and Jim’s slogan was similar to what it is today: “Best service and lowest rates.”


In 1913 the name changed to Merchants Parcel Deliveries when they first got cars.


In  1919, what was now called UPS, made their first expansion to Oakland, California.


In 1930, UPS finally expanded to the east coast right after they were the first delivery company to try to provide air service (though it failed). However, in 1953, their air service resumed, and this time it lasted.


In 1975, UPS forges the “Golden Link” and became the first company to serve every address in the contiguous 48 states. In 1977, UPS delivers to Alaska and becomes the first to serve all 50 states.


After purchasing their first aircraft in 1981 and starting an international air service to six European countries in 1985, UPS got the authority by the FAA to operate their own aircraft in 1988.

They soon expanded their worldwide service from 104 to 175 countries in 1989.


In 1992, UPS begins to use electronic tracking. Finally in 1994, their website comes alive.


In 1997, one of the largest strikes by the Teamsters happens against UPS.


In 1999, UPS sells 10% of their stock in the initial public offering of the NY stock exchange.


Now in the 2000’s their tracking technology continuously increases as they strive to help their customers.

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