If the competition intensifies, productivity improvements will be at the heart of UPS"s counterattack. Indeed, UPS long has used efficiency to overcome rivals. Founded in Seattle in 1907 as a messenger service, UPS over the years won parcel deliveries from department stores and captured package business once handJed by the U.S. Postal Service because of its lower rates and superior service.
UPS's founder, James E. Casey, put a premium on efficiency. In the 1920s, he turned to Frank B. Gilbreth and other pioneers of time study to develop techniques to measure the time consumed each day by each UPS dri'ver. Later, UPS engineers cut away the sides of a UPS delivery truck, or "package car" as the company calls the vehicle, to study
a driver at work. Resultant changes in package loading techniques increased efficiency 30 percent.
Mr. Casey also shaped the company culture, which stresses achievement and teamwork in addition to efficiency. Copies of his tract, "Determined Men," and of "Pursuit of Excellence," a pamphlet written by one-time UPS Chairman George Smith, are handed out to the company's managers. "We still u e Jim's and George's quotes in everything we do," says George Lamb Jr., a UPS director and past chairman.
Another guiding principle: a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. The company's drivers all of them Teamsters. earn wages of $15 an hour, about $1 more than the best-paid drivers at other trucking companies earn. With overtime, many UPS driver gross $35,000 to $40,000 a year.
In return, UPS seeks maximum output from its drivers, as is shown by the time study Mrs. Cusack is conducting. On this day in uburban Whippany, she determines time allowances for each of Polishes 120 stops while watching for inefficiency in hi method. "What are you doing. Joe?" she a ks as handling packages more than once. She says that a mere 30 seconds , ball into big delays by day's end.
Some UPS drivers with nicknames such as Ace, Hammer. Slick. and Rocket Shoes take pride in meeting the standards day after day. 'We used to joke that a good driver get to his stop and back to the car before the seat belt stopped swaying," Mrs. Cusack says. (UPS has since redesigned its seat belts to eliminate sway.)
But not all UPS drivers enjoy the pace. For example, Michael Kipila. a driver in East Brunswick, New Jersey, says, "They squeeze every ounce out of you. You're always in a hurry, and you can't work-relaxed." Some drivers say they cut their breaks in order to finish on time.
UPS officials maintain that the company's work standards are not just a matter of increasing output, but of making the job easier. "If you do it our way, you'll be less tired at the end of the day," says a UPS spokesman.