Transforming Smalls

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by Integrity, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. Integrity

    Integrity Binge Poster

    Transforming Smalls
    It is great to know that there are many dedicated UPSers who handle smalls with the best interest of the customers in mind. There are many management people who run their areas and never let any smalls travel on the conveyors loose. These people are an asset to this organization and should be proud of their contribution.

    The fact that there are so many great examples of proper treatment of smalls cannot allow the truth to be denied. The truth is that there is chronic and widespread mistreatment of smalls packages in UPS facilities.

    The first requirement of proper smalls handling is that smalls are never to be allowed to progress in the UPS conveyor system unless they are bagged.

    In a small facility hundreds and hundreds of smalls can be seen traveling loose on the conveyors every day. In some larger facilities it probably is in the thousands.

    Please share your experience with this during this discussion thread and please if you will, share your thoughts about the descrepancy between the treatment smalls are supposed to get and the treatment they actually get.

    Improving smalls handling will greatly transform the number of lost and damaged packages and will in the end, grow the business.

    If your area and facility already treats smalls packages properly, then all that can be said is great job. Keep up the great work.

  2. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt Dark Prince of Double Standards Staff Member

    Thanks for your small thoughts. :wink2:
  3. abc123

    abc123 New Member

    I'm a smalls sorter and bagger. I see loose smalls all the time going up the belts. In our building we're always trying to get the unloaders to put them in totes, but they seem to have a problem doing it. Not sure why, but it's probably due to laziness. Either that or they're not given proper instructions on how to handle smalls. I unload occasionally and it is a pain to carry the totes from truck to truck, but I know that doing it will make it easier for everyone else down the line and will prevent damage to the smalls.

    Also, it's very much appreciated when drivers keep totes in their trucks and put smalls in the totes as they make their pick ups.

    Besides the fact that smalls get easily damaged when they aren't in a tote, they also get stuck in the belts. We sometimes find airs trapped in the belts after the sort is over and it's too late for them to make it to the airport. It's unfortunate because this could be easily prevented by toting smalls.

    It's nice to see that someone cares about smalls :wink2:
  4. SoyFish

    SoyFish Member

    I hate dealing with smalls...I'll take 80 pound bags filled with smalls over 15 loose smalls that when you try to load em your truck starts to back up cause you can't make any progress <_<

    Ohhh the day when no smalls come down the belt
  5. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    They tell us that our center is 92% compliant on bagged smalls. I usually bring back 2-3 forever bags full of smalls daily. I simply put them on the belt when I unload my NDA.
  6. Old International

    Old International Now driving a Sterling

    I used to pick up 75 to 100 everlast bags a day. The hub always rushed my trl to the unload, so the small sort could get it all done.
  7. JaxUPSHub

    JaxUPSHub New Member


    Local smalls sort packages, envelopes come down SEPERATELY, NOT IN A TOTE! In fact, there is a whole BIG slide for people to BREAK DOWN THE TOTES and 'shake' all contents of the totes for the sorters to sort out. The local smalls comes to me via a belt, I put a PAL sticker on it.
  8. cachsux

    cachsux Wah


    Integrity,more than meets the eye.
  9. Integrity

    Integrity Binge Poster

    It is never acceptable to load or place loose smalls onto belts or rollers. Why do many in local management refuse to run their operations to properly handle smalls packages? They need to be held accountable for refusing to handle smalls the UPS way.

    Does anyone know why this disregard for the way "they" (Corporate UPS) expect smalls to be handled?
    Why are so many smalls on so many belts in so many facilities? Why is it particularly bad at the end of the sort?

  10. andrew99

    andrew99 New Member

    For totes, it's mainly a supply chain problem, in that, if they're regularly available in a specific spot in the unload, it isn't hard to get unloaders to use them. Blaming it on bad attitudes or laziness isn't doing the problem justice. Totes are used for everything, you can expect a signifigant amount of them to be removed from circulation over the various pt/ft shifts. If you can't keep a steady supply of them in the unload you won't see them getting used.

    Information like the amount of bags in a trailer, smalls in a package car ...seem to be irrelivant or unobtainable. For nearly six years i'd watch smalls run at below capacity for half the day just to be obliterated to the point of uselessness for the second half of the shift. The issue seems to stem from lack of control/knowledge over incomming smalls volume and the consequence of an incapactitated smalls sort forcing the smalls parcels to be sorted out to the loadlines, bypassing the smalls sort entirely.
  11. Integrity

    Integrity Binge Poster

    Thanks for your thoughtful input to this discussion thread. You appear to have a decent eye for this problem in your facility. You have pointed out many fine observations, however your observations are more symptoms and problems that arise from the disregard of the Corporate UPS guidelines for handling smalls and not the reason local management disregards them.

    These guidelines and the importance of these guidlelines can be found on

    It is clear, Corporate UPS never wants smalls put on conveyors unless they are containerized. The most often mentioned type of container is the reusable network containers (RNC), commonly referred to as smalls or forever bags. For obvious reasons the bags are preferrable to totes.

    Let me explain why your observations are symptoms of the problem, which is local management's failure to follow the Corporate UPS guildelines for handling smalls.

    If some local management on the load end didn't disregard the Corporate UPS guidlelines for handling smalls then there would be little if any need to containerize smalls that were already containerized during the load. The bags would simply be unloaded and sent to smalls.

    Corporate UPS guidlelines states containerizing smalls is the package car driver's responsibility at the pickup. The bags can then be simply unloaded and sent through the sytem to smalls.

    Corporate UPS guidlelines states that it is never acceptable to allow smalls to travel over the conveyor system unless they are bagged. This eliminates any need for knowledge or control over incoming smalls for the given day. All anyone needs to know and to do is that if it is a small it gets unloaded containerized, sorted into a container(preferably a bag), sent to the truck containerized. The hub will simply load the bag. The preloader wll sort the smalls into the truck.

    And above all smalls should never be allowed to progress on a conveyor unless it is bagged.

    Whether your a driver, a part-time supervisor or a division manager it is every UPSers responsibility to containerize smalls.

  12. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

  13. Dragon

    Dragon Package Center Manager

    Integrity = Corporate UPS, riding a cubicle all day. Please look over into the cubicle next to you and tell the other DA to loosen up some funds to buy some tote boxes so I can give them to my drivers....
  14. Integrity

    Integrity Binge Poster

    I praise you for wanting to see that your drivers get containers for smalls, however if you read the information about smalls on you will see that the preferred container is the resusable network container (RNC), sometimes referred to as smalls bags or forever bags. I suggest that you find out the minimum quantity of these bags that you will need on hand to see that smalls will never be placed loose on the conveyors. If you don't have enough on hand, it sounds like you don't, you should place an immediate order for the amount you need. Have them delivered next day air.

    If any local management people give you a problem with this order politely explain to them that you are seeking to improve customer satisfaction by improving the handling of smalls by bringing your area into compliance with Corporate UPS guidelines for handling smalls. If they refuse you on this then you need to politely inform the individual or individuals you will be going over their head on this matter and if you feel you need to, remind them that UPS has a no retaliation policy and you don't expect to be retaliated against for trying to implement this clearly written UPS policy regarding smalls bags.

    If you have to, give a call to corporate and see if the very people who are telling you to containerize smalls and to never let smalls proceed loose on conveyors are going to give you a hard time and perhaps deny you the bags.

  15. 1000RR

    1000RR Member

    Here's how it breaks down for my center. I work the local sort in a small building. We do about 3,000 pieces per night. Of those 3,000, about 800-1000 are smalls. Instead of having 8 or so people on the sort like we had years back, management has cut down to 4 people on the sort which breaks it down to one loader, one unloader, one small sorter/bagger, and one guy that scans packages on the belt as they come down. So if smalls gets slammed and gets behind, at the end of the night the smalls get thrown up on the belt and loaded like normal packages. How efficient is that? For us its either make the stupid production numbers or have trailers pull late. I personally don't care about either as I am an hourly and get paid by the hour. :happy-very:
  16. UnsurePost

    UnsurePost making the unreadable unreadabler

    I work in a hub. I work two shifts - one shift is small sort.
    We typically see 15k-18k smalls a night on this shift. Probably 60k smalls a day in this hub.

    Smalls are going onto the belts back to the primary all of the time. It's the UPS way.
  17. browniehound

    browniehound Well-Known Member

    For the most part, I know which parcels to containerize as smalls. If there is any question I usually just treat it as a small. I think smalls that are properly containerized have the best chance of going through the UPS system undamaged.

    I have one question, however. Are the ARS HP Toner cartridges smalls or not? If they are, does it really matter if we treat them as smalls since they are destined for disposal anyway? I Would love to hear some comments on this...
  18. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    The toner cartridges are destined for reuse, not disposal. If they were being thrown away why bother sending them back? I will put the smallest in the bags but will load the larger ones in with my pickups.
  19. Integrity

    Integrity Binge Poster


    It is very inefficient. This inefficiency is described on in the extensive information on proper Corporate UPS guidelines on handling smalls packages and the importance of doing this correctly. I recommend you check it out.

    FYI It is never acceptable to allow smalls to ride loose on the UPS conveyor system. If your management team is instructing UPSers to do this they are wrong and they should be corrected. I don't recommend that you do the correcting. This type of correcting could lead to retaliation if you are not careful. I will be addressing this concern in the near future. Private message me with any questions if you have any.

  20. andrew99

    andrew99 New Member

    I understand the corporate guidelines are given to ensure uniformity within various operations throughout the company. Operations often need to be altered & tailored to accomidate customers, so to take corporate guidelines as a de facto ruleset might not be practical. I think efficincey at UPS is best defined as the fastest way to make service with as little cost as possible. Unfortunately, the processes being mandated as corporate guidelines for smalls aren't the most efficent. Thats a hard pill for many a UPSer to swallow.

    Some of the volume we run in smalls is fine to be sent out over the belts. Tiny boxes and envelopes aside, everything else is fair game for the belts. 30ish-minutes towards the end of the day, we "cut" smalls at the unload and only containerize envelopes & tiny boxes. At the end of the day, the typical practice at our sort is to send larger "smalls" boxes back to the sort isle to get sorted out over the belts, while the smalls baggers finish whats left. The end result, is the hub wraps up at the same time, but some loose smalls go out through the outbounds. I guess the reason corporate guidelines are ignored is because they're not practical?