Smalls causing big problems

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by labels_up, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. labels_up

    labels_up Box slinger

    I work on the sort aisle, and almost every night this sort of thing happens to my area:

    Small sort shuts off the belt shortly before unload has its last trailers. Once this happens, instead of throwing the night sort bags down the small sort belt, we have to empty out the bags and sort the smalls normally. But it seems like within 5 minutes of the call that "small sort's closed!!!" invariably 4 trucks will pull up or 4 new trucks will be opened that must have 20, 30, or even more night sort bags.

    Needless to say mayhem ensues. The unloaders will usually dump the bags on the floor of the truck or on the grating by the irreg slide, and after they are done with the truck, will then start opening/dumping all the smalls. So as the sorters, we get huge piles of smalls, with labels up/down/sideways, envelopes piled up several high, etc..."death by smalls" as I call it, and this usually means lots of missorts because either smalls will fall off the main sort belt and down the bottom belts, or :censored2:-off, lazy sorters will chuck the night bags onto other belts.

    Anyway, this usually completely screws up our split outs because we waste so much time sorting huge numbers of smalls that we can barely get to whatever PD we go to for split out and clean out the missort slides before the return belts cut everything takes longer than it should and our pt sup was griping that our split out people are getting too many hours...well, what else are we supposed to do? This also means that we'll have service failures sometimes because we can't get the hot packages to the correct PD in time.

    So anyway, the point of my rant is, why the hell can't someone either let small sort run a little bit longer, to take some of the load off primary, or why is it that the trucks with huge numbers of night sort bags almost always seem to come in right after small sort goes down? It doesn't make a damn bit of sense.
  2. dudebro

    dudebro Active Member

    This is the IE perspective, and I don't know the particular challenges in your hub so I may miss something.
    One is, how big is your hub? If you send a small to the SS, how long does it typically take before that same small will come back in a bag. If it's longer than your current primary down time, then your hub management is trying to save load hours by cutting the cycle time on smalls and reducing the span.
    Two, is your smalls sort staffed properly? When there are staffing issues in the hub, are there "old school" hub sups there who would bring people down out of the smalls sort? I never believed in this approach but some do.
    Three, are you at least sending the smalls over the belt in totes? If not, I have to wonder how many letters are ending up in the belt drives instead of at the final destination. This is a bad deal.
    Four, do those late loads have the availability to make "bypass" bags, that can be sorted directly to their final destination without being opened, that's something your IE department should be looking at.
    There are a few other ways to attack this, but these would be my top 4.
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  3. labels_up

    labels_up Box slinger

    Our hub has 40 inbound doors, 4 unloads/sort belts. Volume now is about 140-160,000 a night for night sort.

    Don't know about small sort staffing - don't work there and don't know anyone who does, but I can ask around. Though I'd imagine it leaves something to be desired if it is anything like primary/unload...night sort is also bad for people not showing up to work, especially Fridays, and I'm guessing outbound isn't great either judging by the PD's shutting off the same belts every night over and over because they are getting slammed...

    Don't know how long it takes to get a bag to come from SS...will ask about that one too.

    I guess we'd send our smalls to outbound in totes if we had totes(where would we put them on the sort aisle where they wouldn't get in the way yet be close enough to get too when we needed them?), or our unloaders would tote the smalls, but this doesn't happen. Our unloaders act like blind/deaf/dumb crackheads/speedfreaks most of the time (hence my handle, something I am always saying to unload)...unloader training IMHO leaves much to be desired.

    Not sure about bypass bags...again, I'm just a box-chucking grunt and as such not all that knowledgeable about such things. Once again, I guess I can ask.

    About the best we can do is either someone will say on the radio small sort is going down in 10 minutes and tell unload to find the bags and send 'em ASAP, or we used to be able to get SS to run one of their belts if we were getting slammed, and we'd toss the night bags down there, but it doesn't seem like this happens anymore.
  4. dudebro

    dudebro Active Member

    I'm guessing by your location you're in the Mesquite hub. I've heard about staffing issues in that building all the way up here in NJ. It's very similar to the Meadowlands midnight I started on. From your position, there isn't much you can do. Those are actions the management have to take, but I hope my comments gave you some perspective.
  5. labels_up

    labels_up Box slinger

    Yep, I'm in Mesquite. Didn't know we were that notorious if you've heard of us in NJ....
  6. Penguin

    Penguin New Member

    Your hub sounds like the hub at work at.
  7. dillweed

    dillweed Well-Known Member

    I feel your pain. Let the chips fall where they may, and the pkgs too. If it gets unsafe use that big red button and shut the place down. It's a rather powerful feeling and they can't complain if it's unsafe.

    Do the best you can with that mess and don't let them know you're upset. Stay in control and maintain your sense of humor. Best of luck, it's not easy.
  8. Penguin

    Penguin New Member

    +1 :thumbup1: