Thinking Outside The Box

We live in the age of new technologies, in an age of rapid progress and every successful employer seeks to meet all the requirements of the present time namely control and improve the quality of services, to reduce execution time and be the best in the business, despite not less intelligent competitors.

1. What external factors were affecting UPS’s HR practices? How did UPS respond to these trends?

Workers of the UPS has a responsible attitude towards the quality of their services. They daily take care about these services, and also prepare highly qualified specialists. One of the problems that they are facing is that a large number of people (baby-boomers) are close to retirement age. UPS has taken steps to be sure that they will have driver which will be ready for meeting the demand. The company staff is hiring and training some 25.000 drivers over the next five year to replace retiring Baby Boomers. Based upon the premise that younger drivers learn best by technology and hands on training, UPS has created several simulations and a videogames designed to aid in driver training.

2. Why is efficiency and safety so important to UPS? What role do the company’s industrial engineers play in how employees do their work?

The answer lies in the amount of people and companies with which UPS operates. UPS sends more than 15m parcels in more than 200 countries every day. Because of competition (i.e. the U.S. Postal Service, DHL, and Federal Express), for UPS, it’s all about speed, accuracy, and safety. UPS must keep cost low and customer satisfaction high.

To increase the productivity of drivers, UPS has used their industrial engineers to design more efficient routes, loading & unloading procedures, and employee policies to help get the most from their employees in the field.

3. What changes did the company make to its driver training program?

In addition to learning the company’s ‘340 Methods,’ applicants play a videogame where they’re in the driver’s seat and must identify obstacles. From computer simulations, they move to “Clarksville,” a mock village with miniature houses and faux businesses. There, they drive a real truck and “must successfully execute five deliveries in 19 minutes.” And, in the interest of safety and efficiency, trainees learn to carefully walk on ice with the slip and fall simulator.

4. What advantages and drawbacks do you see to this training approach for (a) the trainee and (b) the company?

It appears that the use of simulations and the other new programs implemented by UPS would have good transfer to work the drivers would be doing in the field. This is an advantage for the trainee and the company.

A potential disadvantage would be if the applicant was not familiar with new technology, such as computer games, or other forms of electronic learning. These applicants may be successful in the job, but may not show proficiency in training due to the technological nature of the training. For the company, such programs are expensive but that can be balanced by the benefit of having a better trained workforce.

What do you think?

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