Just Starting: Sort?

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by Individual, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Individual

    Individual New Member

    So I've just recently finished my orientation and have been put on Sort Aisle by my supervisor. I did it for about 2 and a half hours that one day before needing to go back and finish my orientation. Now if 2 and a half hours are already that exhausting on me, I dread to think if my body can take more. I've been told to get a water bottle, get some good gripped gloves (I have eczema on my hands and they get badly dry and cut up, so I definitely need gloves, and to change them/clean them often) and be ready for the upper body work out of my life. Are there any other tips I should know? Should I consider asking for a different task - preload? unloader? How fast should I be going on sort? (They had me buddying up the first day, but I dunno what to expect on my own. We also had one bay have a huge pile up of boxes we needed to deal with because whoever was there just walked off.) What should I do if I can't keep up the pace?
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  2. ChickenLegs

    ChickenLegs Safety Expert

    Work as safely as possible and know your limits. No matter how fast boxes are coming no matter the backup, work safe. Act like numbers are your concern, but know they are not.
  3. you aint even know it

    you aint even know it Well-Known Troll Troll

    If you cannot handle one of the easiest jobs at UPS, I don't think that UPS is the place for you. Try small sort, that's if they even accept you - it's a desirable position and seniority prevails unless you're one the management's buddies.
  4. nv8449

    nv8449 New Member

    Don't unload you will mess up your back. I been unloading for about a year and now I'm trying to go to the sort. It is way easier in their. As for sorting after like 3 to 4 weeks you should be able to sort really well, you should be able to keep up with the unloader. But don't over work yourself make sure to be safe and efficient not some lazy worker.
  5. TooTechie

    TooTechie Geek in Brown

    Work at a good pace until you make seniority but don't hurt yourself trying to go hyper speed. If you have stuff falling on the ground ask your unloader to hold up for a sec. Some unloaders will intentionally try to overwhelm you and some just don't care what happens once they put the box on the belt. Home depot has big bins of FG gloves right now bundled as 3 pairs for 9.99. If you have eczema use gloves and throw some cream on when you get home.
  6. Shryp

    Shryp Member

    1) Just do your best.
    2) Ask for help with big, heavy and awkward stuff.
    3) If you get backed up too much hold your unloader up.
    4) If you get frustrated, don't let your unloader know.
    5) Try to learn to sort without turning around and looking behind you, learn spacial awareness and feel for things.
    6) Try to keep boxes to the sides of the belts you sort to, that gives more room when they go off. I usually try to make 1 row for wider boxes and 1 row for narrow boxes which makes 2 columns of boxes to push up the belt when they are off. Much easier than trying to push all at once.
    7) Try to keep the boxes flat and somewhat straight, though it is a good idea to angle them as it gives more surface area and prevents roll backs.
    8) Watch / listen for stuff rolling or sliding back at you.
    9) Pray your unloader knows what a label is. Also, try to put the labels up as you sort for the next guy that gets the box.
    10) If you have nothing to do because your unloader is cleaning up irregs or opens or something try to help the people around you. Don't just stand there. This will stop supervisors from yelling at you and also encourage other people to come help you. No one likes to help someone that just stands there and watches them get killed.
    11) They will tell you to grab opposite corners, but I prefer to lift boxes from the sides/bottom as you can feel if the bottom of the box is giving out that way.
    12) If you have a back stop in your door let it catch the boxes and make sure they stay flat and straight. If you leave them angled, it will cause everything else to fall. It is easier to work at a steady pace and keep some boxes on the belt when they come faster than it is to constantly speed up and slow down. Also, having boxes on the belt if front of you makes it look like you have more work than you actually do.

    Being quick and efficient is good, but don't be too good or else they will stick you with an idiot unloader no one wants because he is just trying to be a moron and hurt you on purpose.
  7. browntroll

    browntroll Active Member

    sort isle is an easier position but not unless you got short arms like i do. like everyone else says know your bodies limit, bring water bottles, gloves are a must
    i also have weak grip and my hands just dry up and cut if i work a whole shift without gloves and i change gloves weekly. more than likely you will/should have a "buddy"
    with you sorting specially if its a heavy belt and you are new but it depends on hub/shift. imo most sort isles are easier than unload or preload there are a few exceptions.
    dont try to pull off something you cant(bulk/irreg) you might end of pulling something which i have seen ppl do at my hub. also be prepared to be moved to another area
    so bring a back support belt just in case someone doesnt like you sorting and they want your job and you go to unload. in my hub you cant see unload from any sort isle
    not sure about yours but your belt should have an adjustment for speed and a stop button in case you get backed up. sorry for long read
    forgot to add when sorting to to not pick up any packages to look for label, just use push/pull/flip technique otherwise you are just wasting energy, ask for wax
    for your rollers/slides it helps alot also ask for a floor matt if you dont have one, after 4.5 hours you will feel like you are standing on the grating barefoot.
  8. cynic

    cynic New Member

    All of us unloaders must be idiots where I work - we all seem to be unloading too fast because we have to turn off the belt for the sort aisle to catch up... LOL
  9. Shryp

    Shryp Member

    Possibly, although most sorters are not very good. Most of them seem rather slow in my building. There is a difference between unloading quickly simply because it is easy and natural and unloading like a moron with your only intention being to piss someone off and hurt them.
  10. 8Keys

    8Keys Member

    I think you are describing a pick off position. Could be a completely different building layout, and I don't really know how things flow during the preload, but this sounds a lot like pick off and absolutely nothing like our sort aisle. To me the summary of a sorter is, every time an unloader lifts a box to his waist, you are to read a label and lift a box to your head. If you can't keep up they wonder why. If you can keep up they might give you two unloaders. But the very good thing about sorting is, you don't have to bend down very often. And for a new hire the extra dollar is significant. Lots of good advice here though. The main thing with any UPS job is, come in with a good attitude and effort but don't get frustrated by falling behind. No matter what happens, you will fall behind. Management can't stand to see anyone caught up with nothing to do, so it's chaos by design. Work hard but use proper mechanics and keep your health as a high priority. Hold up the unloader sooner rather than later so less stuff falls on the floor. I would stick with sorting unless you are too short to do the job safely. They will push you no matter which job you have.
  11. browntroll

    browntroll Active Member

    yeah im describing pick off, in our hub sups call it sorting also. i have never seen what you have described in my shift(preload). not sure why you would have to lift a box to your head is there a belt they keep
    that is high where you have to place packages? normally unloaders in our hub place packages on belts.
  12. Individual

    Individual New Member

    I just came back from my first shift on sort aisle. First day, and wow am I sore as all get out - but wide awake. I still have a shift at my second job soon, and then I'll sleep. - - - - Anyway, to sort out any confusion, I'll describe exactly what I did. I was put on a team of three - a scanner, an unloader, and me. We got to our bay, and began to work. I was standing there with the main conveyor belt at my waist, where the boxes came from. I had about 8 different belts all around me to sort each Color Label onto. I'd describe the difficulty as coming in waves - I'd get a bit of a reprieve to recuperate, barely, and then get slammed with boxes to the point where I couldn't even keep up alone. It's not like I was moving particularly slow - I'd say I was moving maybe five to ten boxes every minute, but I can't say this reliably due to their varying sizes. - - - - If it helps at all, we cleared 3 and a half trailers in a 4 hour period. Anyway. I think I can acclimate to the task better once I built up my stamina (I am not in the best of shape in my life, regrettably). Everything is sore, but I am concerned by how sore my lower back and abdomen is - I am probably not lifting properly. EDIT: To note, I wasn't alone for the full duration sorting. I did have someone else with me at least half the time. At first it was another guy who had just started, and later in the day, a new supervisor (I think he was new? He seemed to be getting trained, I dunno how it works) also helped me out.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  13. PT Car Washer

    PT Car Washer Well-Known Member

    I would be sore also if I sorted 3 1/2 trailers in 4 hours.
  14. brostalss

    brostalss Active Member

    Welcome to Hell. Just kidding. Key is work safe. Be smooth and work at a comfortable pace. I did unload and sort for over two years. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK!!!!! You only get one of them.

    My customers on route always say how calm and relaxed I am. I work smart so I don't have to work hard. But you still have to put in a good effort.

    Drink plenty of water before during and after work.
  15. browntroll

    browntroll Active Member

    i wish i got your flow of boxes, ten boxes a minute sounds like heaven to me. your lowerback will get used to it make sure its soreness and not a sharp pain
    also abdomen from all the pulling you do and twisting so like i said before just be carefull. after 2 maybe 3 weeks your body will get used to it.
    any questions you can always ask here, and good luck.
  16. sortaisle

    sortaisle Livin the cardboard dream

    The different kinds of sort aisles are interesting to me. Ours is 13 bay doors each with conveyors to a main spreading belt with diverters to a sort slide. Then we have 7 belts to sort to. In Portland (where I started 17 years ago) they have a sort pod for each unload door...it's more like picking off than sorting. It's wild. It'll get better OP. It'll be hell for a bit and when you get your first few paychecks with union dues coming out, it'll seem worthless. I looked at it as a workout I got paid for. Helped tremendously. And after a while when the benes kick in, it's worth it.
  17. 8Keys

    8Keys Member

    Yeah. Preload is a different beast, and it sounds like each building was designed a little bit different. Our unloaders have extendos with conveyors which take the boxes up to a larger belt. The sort aisle is a long walkway which runs along the side of that belt. There are also chutes which feed onto that belt for the bags from small sort, the package cars unloading in the evening, and missorts getting sent back by the loaders. So basically everything is going to this belt and there are quite a few sorters standing in that aisle. It would be possible to just let everything flow down that belt and have each sorter grab what he can. But usually we have bars across so that the flow from each truck goes to one or two sorters. So anyway, you have the packages coming to you on the belt on one side of the aisle, and on the other side of the aisle are two rows of belts moving away from the aisle which feed onto the belts for the different work areas. The bottom ones are very convenient. The top ones are about eye level for me. Usually it works pretty well but sometimes you get a truck full of 40-60 pound boxes and they are going to belts on the top row.
  18. Shryp

    Shryp Member

    Sounds like the same setup we have except we have 14 belts to sort to. Behind us is 4 on top, 4 in the middle and 4 on the bottom. On the other side we have one above the sort isle and one below the sort isle.