NEW YORK — United Parcel Service Inc. will boost seasonal hiring by as much as 73 percent from its peak plan in 2013, when a surge in late e-commerce orders left the company unable to meet holiday deadlines.
The temporary workforce will number as many as 95,000 people to handle the crush of packages from October through January. The positions will include package sorters, loaders, delivery helpers and drivers, the Atlanta-based company said Tuesday in a statement.
This holiday season will be a challenge for UPS to prove that last year's pre-Christmas breakdowns were an anomaly and assure customers that their packages will arrive on time. Last- minute online orders generated about twice as much delivery volume in 2013 as UPS had expected, forcing the company to add 30,000 more workers than planned and boosting fourth-quarter expenses by as much as $150 million.
David Abney, who was promoted in June to chief executive officer, led a review of the company's response to the meltdown, prompting a $100 million plan to expand its parcel facilities and accelerate use of technology to improve delivery operations.
"Last year, they obviously didn't do as good a job forecasting and planning," said David Vernon, a New York-based analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "They've spent a lot more time talking to their customers and they're expecting a pretty good volume season. They're ratcheting up the hiring, and then they're probably putting in a little security on top of that."
UPS has already boosted its processing capacity from 2013 and has added new operating days and shifts to handle an expected increase in volume this year, the company said today. UPS said it has also improved shipment tracking and made upgrades to its schedule planning.