Holidays are hectic for everyone, but seasonal fluxes hit suppliers and delivery companies especially hard. Last year an estimated 2 million Christmas presents arrived late because of bad weather and unprecedented surges in last-minute orders, according to shipment-tracking software developer ShipMatrix. Amazon and UPS apologized for the delays, and they’re among many companies gearing up for even more deliveries this year.
UPS says it expects to deliver 585 million packages in December, up 11 percent from last year. The U.S. Postal Service estimates it will deliver 15.1 cards, letters and packages, also an increase from 2013, according to CNN.
More Factors at Play
This year retailers are adding new complexities to holiday delivery logistics. Target will offer free shipping for any item on its website, while other retailers will ship from stores instead of central warehouses to save time.
“A lot of retailers are shifting their fulfillment models to shipping from stores. So there’s going to be a big increase in pick-up points,” Yory Wurmser, an eMarketer analyst, tells Marketplace. Online orders will increase an estimated 16.6 percent, according to eMarketer.
Shipping companies and retailers are gearing up to avoid the fiasco’s like they experienced last year. UPS plans to hire 95,000 seasonal workers to help meet demand. Last year it initially hired 55,000 and eventually increased that number to 85,000 when the situation got dire. UPS is also adding “mobile delivery villages” — modular facilities that can expand existing shipping centers.
Meanwhile FedEx, which will hire 50,000 temporary workers, includes 15 full-time meteorologists in its global operations control center to mitigate weather-related delays. Amazon will add 80,000 temporary workers for the holidays, a 14 percent increase from last year. The booming online shopping industry shows no sign of slowing down, making it increasingly important for retailers and shipping companies to work closely on logistics to accommodate increased delivery volumes.