United Parcel Service LAGGING?

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Ok, as an admitted DOOMER, (7) I am, like a lot of others keeping a keen eye out for things not normal when it comes to everyday life.

I believe problems will escalate slowly, maybe imperceptibly by most folks.

Coined earlier on this forum, "The Red Pick Up" idea has a lot of merit. (If you have just bought a red pick-up, you will suddenly notice all the other red pick ups on the road).

Admittedly, with that idea in mind, I have noticed problems lately with UPS packages taking an excessive amount of time to arrive. In my small business, I get 2 to 4 UPS shipments each week. I am located in NE Ohio, and the parts I received today were sent on June 30 from Minneapolis. This shipment should have arrived no later than July 7, taking into account the holiday.

This is the best example I have so far but there have been others too.

My question is, has anyone noticed increased shipping times associated with UPS or any other shipper?

The question is very important to me since my business relies on timely shipments.

I get the feeling that in the next few months, subtle things may be the biggest giveaway as to how bad the roll-over will be. Sure, the problems I'm having may be just the luck of the draw, but I can say it's never been so bad in the last 14 yrs in business.

Something's up.

Take care all.

-- christa (christamike@hotmail.com), July 15, 1999


I don't know what is up either. I had ordered some boots that were to be shipped from Texas to Colorado and they are completely lost in the UPS system. With all of their fancy tracking they lost 6 orders of boots out of Texas, including mine.

-- Beckie (sunshine_horses@yahoo.com), July 15, 1999.

For what it is worth, if you have the UPS tracking number, you can go to www.ups.com and see exactly what is going on. I had a delay of an item that was coming via UPS by a day, but I knew it because of the comment "DELAY DUE TO LATE TRAIN". And if you have multiple tracking numbers, you can enter them all at once rather than go through the whole process for each one.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), July 15, 1999.

This one is worth monitoring. JackS's example shows the risk from interconnectivity. Trains affect UPS affect trade and commerce in general.

I received 3 parcels this week, some office supplies I needed to get the next print WRP out. All arrived much sooner than I expected. 2 days for ordinary ground from out of state.

-- cory (kiyoinc@ibm.XOUT.net), July 16, 1999.

Ecommerce is causing UPS business to explode exponentially as brick and mortar malls are now used for window shopping at the anchors or for a visit to the Disneyland of fast food(Cin-a-Bun, Dunkin Donuts, etc). UPS is desperately seeking casual drivers, something unprecedented.

I was at UPS IT for 2 years and they started remediation in earnest in 1995 so don't blame them.

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (jim1bets@worldnet.att.net), July 16, 1999.

I talked with a UPS tractor-trailer driver last week and he said they're all screwed up, mostly because of railroad snafus and union problems.

For packages shipped outside of a local territory, truck trailers are loaded onto flatbed rail cars and shipped cross-country. This driver (who knew absolutely *nothing* about Y2K, by the way) said computer problems with the railroads were causing many, many rail cars to simply disappear. No one know where the hell they went.

He also told me he drove from New England to New Jersey many times in recent months to pick up trailers at a rail yard, and even though he could *see* the trailer he was suppose to pick up sitting on a flatbed a few tracks away, the unionized rail workers told him to "F*** off." Apparently labor squabbles are prompting them not to lift a finger to help. The driver had to return to NE without his load.

I know this is second-hand hearsay, but for what it's worth...

-- ace (z@y.z), July 16, 1999.

Not sure on UPS, but the Post Office has been taking much longer for package service (express, priority) for the last few weeks.

-- BiGG (supersite@acronet.net), July 16, 1999.

Ace - It's not hearsay anymore. Check out the thread "Is this local computer-caused rail yard jam really only local?"

-- Amy (leoneamy@aol.com), July 16, 1999.

And to my knowledge, this RR screw up has nothing to do with y2k. Grains lay in piles on the ground out west, grain elevators were all full. Farmers/brokers couldn't get the RR cars to move the stuff. We have done a lot of worrying and stewing the last few months over wheather or not the trains will run due to y2k, computerized switches,shortage of diesel fuel, etc. Well...it seems to me that the RR will be one of the first things to go down simply because they are half way there now. Without RR you are without power. And they are also one of the easiest things for terrorists to derail, .........figuratively and literaly.


-- Taz (Tassie@aol.com), July 16, 1999.

Until the comment about sending UPS trucks by train - I was not able to figure out why the UPS was late stamped with a "TRAIN" excuse. Hmmmmmn.

Interesting observation Taz, thank you, on the other loads that are backed up - but which are time-dependent like farm crops. This is supposed to be a "light" part of the year for trains because the coal mines and auto plants are off-line during several of the summer weeks. (The coal miners take vavcation and the auto plants shut down and retool for next year's models.)

So the paper here said they were going to use the time to clear up these problems - but it sounds like they may only have time to struggle back to to the "head above water" point before getting hit with more loads again. At that rate, you're right - y2k problems in train routing could resurface just as the original routing problems get sorted out!

Also - note that the routing problems NOW (mis summer and early fall) could cramp the promises of many coal-fired plants to store up extra coal for next Jan-Feb.

Connections folks, connections make the world go 'round. What may happen is that they could also make it slow down - or stop too.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), July 16, 1999.

My, how this thread reminds me of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The trains grind slowly to a halt. The government screams louder and imposes emergency measures to get the trains through, yet the problem worsens.

Speaking of Ayn Rand, has anyone seen the new Ayn Rand stamp at the U.S. post office? The irony is delicious. I can't imagine an organization that better embodies all Rand hated.

-- Prometheus (fire@for.man), July 16, 1999.

Trains were some of the early threads on this forum. There was a merger of two large railroads several years ago, and they still hadn't gotten their combined computer tracking systems merged and debugged by last fall (1998).

I recall (correctly/incorrectly?) that Ed Yourdon had a chapter about that.

-- A (A@AisA.com), July 16, 1999.

I work for a mail order company and we have noticed no slow down in any shipments even to overseas. Only thing we noticed was the ridiculas increase in the price of Parcel Post Air Shipments to Canada (jumped about $4.00).

No UPS delays or lost boxes (last lost box was 10 monthes ago and we ship every single day of the week.) December was our biggest month ever, no losses.

USPS, one lost box in March, otherwise no lost boxes in 12 monthes. Priority Mail has slowed slightly. They are really pushing the 3 days now.

Our main theory? E-Bay. That site has got more people shipping boxes than ever. Really seems to be bogging things down.

He Who Spends 10 Hours A Day Shipping Boxes

-- I hate shipping tape (ship@boxesall.day), July 22, 1999.

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