Discussion in 'FedEx Discussions' started by thedownhillEXPRESS, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. thedownhillEXPRESS

    thedownhillEXPRESS Well-Known Member

    My station hasn't used DRA in weeks, we have been told they don't plan on even trying it again for the foreseeable future.
    It was a cluster while in use.

    How are other stations doing?
  2. Our loop was the test loop for the station. We used it for about 3 days before we decided just to just to load our own areas and ignore DRA. Managers found out after a few days but didn't say much. They still load up DRA for the sort guns but we don't use it at all. I think we started it in May sometime.
  3. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt Dark Prince of Double Standards Staff Member

    Glad it was not Dr. DRE
  4. Doc Sorting Dude

    Doc Sorting Dude Active Member

  5. fedupped

    fedupped Member

    um, we dont even use its boundaries. 118 stops ..return building 1458..2 areas..25 stops per hour.. Dead in the water. ....BUT of course as our mgrs kept spewing the first couple weeks.."DRA is here to stay, get used to it!"
  6. Mr. 7

    Mr. 7 The monkey on the left.

    I've never, ever, used it.
  7. DontThrowPackages

    DontThrowPackages Well-Known Member

    If this is true, glad they came to this decision. The bottom routes were getting paid their minimum, while the top routes made OT. Too much to ask of someone to create a computer program which only understands straight lines and distances and not the logic of, doesn't open until 1100am, 30 piece bulker, one way streets, solid street medians and so on.
  8. Guapo

    Guapo New Member

    It went away for awhile...Engineers came in this week and next week its back.
  9. Operational needs

    Operational needs Non desistas. Non exieras.

    My Senior Manager is trying to fast-track his way up the ladder at the expense of his employees. DRA is spreading through my station like the plague.
  10. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    We still have it. Like Herpes, the "gift" that won't stop giving.
  11. Cactus

    Cactus Just telling it like it is

    Big waste of time and money.

    Son of Zapmail.
  12. Goldilocks

    Goldilocks Well-Known Member

    Its here to stay in our district. Most of our FT employees love it during peak. Instead of going out with 300 stops, they have 120. Its creating a ton of routes. PTers are getting a ton of hours.
  13. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    This is what I've heard. DRA is WORKING in the areas from which I know people who are corresponding with me. In the instances where the stop ordering is screwed up, the station management is still having routes balanced with DRA, but allow Couriers to create their own stop ordering to keep from continuously backtracking with the screwed up ordering generated by DRA. As a 'history' of stop ordering is generated by a route (Courier generated), engineering is using that 'trace' to assist in generating a default method for the software to assign stop ordering. DRA is far from dead, to the contrary, they are working the kinks out of it and slowly getting it to produce the results they want.

    One of the issues which is touched upon by the quoted post - is the tendency of the software to generate a TREMENDOUS number of routes. I've already written on this - stations that are experiencing difficulties with DRA are hiring additional part-time Couriers to run DRA 'overflow' routes. As DRA for a station is reasonably polished up, a hiring freeze will be established in these stations and staffing levels will be allowed to drop to what is needed (turnover is still going on).

    Many part-timers are accumulating over 30 hours a week as a consequence of this. This is causing other issues for Express (they DON'T want to be offering part-timers full-time employment).

    So as much as the 'career' Couriers may wish DRA to go away, it isn't. It is the future of Express and no matter how long it takes, it will be unrolled and implemented in virtually ALL Express stations.

    About the only issue that still has to be tackled by Memphis is just how much customer service to 'cut' as a result of running DRA routes. DRA eliminates the flexibility of traditional delivery routes - this flexibility has enabled service to be granted to customers who complain 'rather loudly' (Apple is a current example). DRA takes this capability away - Couriers can't break trace with a DRA route to take care of a 'noisy customer'. Just as with the desire of Express to do away with 3rd day volume (but not lose customers in the process - that is the ONLY thing stopping it from being abruptly ended), they are grappling with just how much service reduction to implement and not piss off too many high revenue customers.

    What I expect Express to do, is to implement a variant on what the 'airlines' have and are doing with their high revenue customers - create a de facto two-tiered system of Courier service level (Express would NEVER publicly admit this, but I think it will happen nevertheless). Routes will be created to ensure a higher 'service level' to high revenue customers (both in and outbound), while non-high revenue customers will be served by the garden variety DRA route with no flexibility. This way Express can keep its time honored tradition of having and eating its cake at the same time - while being able to deny any such 'separate but equal' practice exists. The consistent high revenue customer will get the premium service and flexibility, while the garden variety one or two piece a day customer will be on the non-flexible DRA routes. Just my hunch...
  14. DRA is coming back to our loop tomorrow. Was talking to our one good manager (used to be a swing, pretty upfront with couriers he trusts) and he said the new engineer they put on it was all about making it work until he went to training for it. He came back and told the manager "this will never work in this station". Yet they are forcing us to use it again...
  15. Route 66

    Route 66 Bent Member

    FedEx: pounding square pegs into round holes one peg at a time
  16. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    I think you are all kind of missing the 'forest' since you are in and amongst the trees too closely.... (its all a matter of perspective)

    Express will eventually outsource the delivery of non-overnight volume over to Ground. It will happen. About the only reason it hasn't happened yet, is because they know even the idiots would start signing union cards if their 'work' was to be taken away (they've already taken away the pension, pay progression and very soon health insurance from you all). Once they are confident they can take P2 off of Express delivery routes (with no Courier backlash), they will do it.


    Memphis KNOWS that all DRA REALLY has to accomplish, is to get P1 delivered reliably and on time - that is all it really has to do. That is the primary reason why all the extra PART-TIME Couriers are being hired to get the system to work while they work the bugs out.

    Right now, they are really jamming up the software with having multiple commit times, forcing the software to make 2 and sometimes 3 separate passes through an area to get volume off on time (P1, Non-P1 overnight, 2nd & 3rd Day). The software wants to straight line, but with the multiple commits, it can't do that - thus why all the problems. Add on top of that the need to balance routes, then once a route is balanced for P1 - it may have too much P2 in the same area that it will have P1 deliveries to make - really causes problems. The software likes to assign all P2 deliveries in an area to a route that has been balanced for P1 FOR THAT AREA - even if that means that route has too little to do and would be off road early OR if that route would be out too late and miss running pickups or just have the Courier getting OT while someone on an adjacent route is getting paid minimums. Its analogous to trying to ride a unicycle while juggling bowling pins and singing the national anthem all at the same time and not screwing any of the three things up.

    In the end, all DRA will need to do, is to identify P1 as a distinct item from standard overnight (it can already do that). Then, it will need to both balance routes for P1 deliveries WHILE providing a stop ordering for all P1 (already doing this too). Then, for all the non-P1 overnight, it just needs to perform a stop ordering for the non-tagalongs to get that volume off and the Courier back to station (there isn't enough non-P1 overnight that are stand alones to really jam up any route - that volume - in the absence of non-overnight product - can EASILY be gotten off in time to not have service failures). That is the part they are working on. That is ALL it really needs to do.

    Where Express is having its issues, is in that it is still trying to shove the delivery of 2nd and 3rd day volume into the same software - then balance all of this so that P1 and P2 is balanced, THEN make sure that some Couriers aren't getting massive OT while others are getting paid minimums. It is a mess. Bowling pins are flying everywhere and the national anthem is really being trashed....

    What you need to be looking for, is when Express will feel confident enough to finally shift delivery of non-overnight over to Ground. Once they do this, then ALL of the problems with DRA will disappear overnight (well, once non-overnight disappears from the delivery side of the system).

    I know everyone still has their doubts -but it will happen when Express feels confident enough that it can do it and not have any worries about the Couriers organizing to protect their full time jobs.

    Take a step back from amongst the trees (your day to day work), and take a wide look at what has happened to Express in the past 3-4 years. You have ALL seen the gradual elimination of the W700s which are being replaced by Sprinters. This is no secret. It is said the best way to hide something is to place it in plain sight...

    You have all seen the gradual reduction of the number of full time Couriers in your stations. When a full-time position opens up, the default procedure is to hire 2 part-timers to fill that position. If it was a 4x10 position, they may hire 2 AM part-timers and 1 PM part-timer to replace this individual. You may think, "Gee, the cost of benefits would more that eat up any savings in lower wage rate....". Take a look at your health insurance package for next year and your answer to that question will be staring you in the face.

    You have all seen and been made aware of how FedEx is giving shipping quotes to Express customers that have Ground shipping quotes right alongside the Express rates. Customers aren't stupid. If they don't absolutely need overnight or second day delivery, they will go to that lowest price quote which is more often than not, half the price of even the lowest Express quote (Express Saver). The customers (with a little encouragement from FedEx) are shifting their volume OUT of Express and into Ground.

    Those that work in DRA stations have seen how volume that arrives in their station a day or two before commit, is PULLED from the sorts to be send down the next AM for delivery. Express isn't 'giving away' de facto service upgrades anymore. Customers are catching on to this fact and either biting the bullet and paying to get their package delivered when they really want it - or just shipping it with Ground and saving themselves a large sum on their shipping budget.

    You have all been made aware that FedEx actually makes MORE on a package that is shipped through Ground, than if the same package were shipped through Express. Even with the lower price charged on Ground service, the final margin for FedEx (on that package) is HIGHER than if that package went through Express.

    You have all been made aware that Ground is raking in double digit profits (15-17%), while Express is struggling with profits in the mid single digits (pre-one time expenses).

    So now that you are out from amongst the trees, with knowledge of what is going on in Memphis, ask yourself, "What is the next step that FedEx can take to improve profitability for FedEx Corporation?" Keep in mind that the cost structure in Express is markedly higher than in Ground, so Ground can perform many of the same things Express can do (with the exception of flying packages), for a significantly lower cost. Doesn't take an MBA to figure that one out.
  17. Five Star

    Five Star New Member

    Even the OSS people don't understand it and certainly can't explain it! Once you get out in the suburbs it is useless. I wonder who sold Fred this bill of goods? Probably the same guy who came up with Zapmail and convinced him that diesel fuel would always be cheaper than gas!
  18. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    You and I have been talking about the Ground switchover for several years now, and all they do is laugh at us. It all seems pretty obvious to me what is going to happen.
  19. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    Back in 2009-10, everyone thought that the old maxim of, "If you are going to make a cut, make it QUICK and get the pain over", applied to the shifting of volume.

    Standard business practice when a 'change' is to be made in a company, it to make it quick, get the uncertainty over and then pull those who are left together and state something to the effect, "We (the company) have made all the changes we have in mind. All of you that are left are secure and are NOT subject to being put out of work. Let's put this all behind us and do our work and make 'our company' profitable so we never have to go through something like this again".

    What we didn't figure, is the angle of the Couriers getting angry about losing income and doing something about it (organizing). Fred obviously had this mind....

    Fred was and is a smart devil, he figured right that he had to make all the changes GRADUAL, and not quickly, unless he create 'undue alarm' among BOTH the wage employees and lower level salaried employees.

    The shift is ALREADY taking place - the customers are doing a significant amount of it themselves when they use their mouse to click on a particular shipping option. Then when combined with the holding back of volume which arrives in stations prior to commit date - customers aren't getting de facto service upgrades for free. More and more deferred Express volume is finding itself in Ground already (where the margins are higher too...)

    The engineer I correspond with openly admits, that if non-overnight volume were to be taken out of the delivery matrix (and all he had to deal with was strictly overnight), DRA would work like a 'champ'. He is left wondering when delivery will be shifted over to Ground. He is putting an inordinate amount of time into trying to optimize a system - which given all indications - won't be utilized once Express feels confident enough to shift delivery of non-overnight over to Ground and face the wrath of the remaining full-time Couriers.

    So the 'real indicator' may end up being when enough of the mid to upper progression Couriers have left Express, for FedEx to feel comfortable enough in making the switch and not have to worry about the remaining Couriers organizing themselves in response. It is the THREAT of organization which is most likely causing the retention of delivery of non-overnight within Express. Once that threat subsides sufficiently, they'll most likely feel confident in pulling the trigger and completing the reorganization of Express.

  20. somehow two largish stations are going to be consolidated into one station in my area within a year or so, they're just going to 'retrofit' the building but unless they buy some of the houses behind the sta, knock them down, and increase the station's capacity by at least half either they're totally insane, or, a lot of volume and employees are going to be leaving express. so its a tossup