​​UPS has a 79-page document that details everything from how to mentally prepare to drop off a package to how to exit vehicles and avoid straining your body

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​​UPS has a 79-page document that details everything from how to mentally prepare to drop off a package to how to exit vehicles and avoid straining your body
Courtesy of UPS
  • UPS' "Service Provider Delivery and Pickup Methods" breaks down every step for a driver on a route.
  • A UPS spokesperson told Insider the manual is targeted toward safety and efficiency.
  • Christopher Mims breaks down how packages arrive at your door within a matter of days in his new book, "Arriving Today."

UPS drivers follow a heavily regimented process in order to maintain safety and efficiency on the job.

Delivery drivers have become an increasingly important part of the global ecosystem. UPS alone processes about 6.5% of the US' gross domestic product every day, the company's spokesperson told Insider. As the US faces major supply-chain snags and bottlenecks, heavily engineered processes like UPS' 500-plus delivery methods help keep deliveries flowing.

The company's 79-page "Service Provider Delivery and Pickup Methods" manual breaks down everything from how to pre-plan for stops to how to exit a UPS truck without putting any additional strain on your body, according to a new book from The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Mims. In the book, "Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door - Why Everything Has Changed About How and What We Buy," Mims details the intricate processes that bring goods from Asia to the US.

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UPS' manual was designed by in-house engineers and is continually updated. It includes a multitude of tips on how to plan a route using drivers' instincts as well as UPS' automated workflow and navigation software, ORION. It also has methods for avoiding injuries from the day-to-day grind of repeated motions on the job for the workers some have dubbed "industrial athletes."

During a ridealong with UPS driver Jenny Rosado, Mims said he continually saw the manual at work during the route which included 90 stops - a short route compared to UPS drivers' average of 135 stops per day. Rosado said successful drivers follow the manual to a tee.

"You never want to work harder than you should," Rosado told Mims. "You see a lot of people come out here and they work way too hard. They don't follow the methods."

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For delivery drivers, whose job requires focus, precision, and athleticism, not following the methods could mean serious injury, Mims points out.

"Everything about a UPS delivery driver's job is about finesse, about metronomic precision," Mims writes. "Delivering packages is a game of inches - or really, seconds, since shaving the slightest amount of time off of anything you do hundreds of times a day means the difference between getting all your packages delivered and the bosses having to send someone to rescue you by taking a few dozen off your hands."

While Rosado said she has used the over 500 methods detailed in the manual throughout her day-to-day job for the past 31 years, a spokesperson from UPS told Insider the service-delivery manual is primarily used for managers in charge of training UPS employees. Though drivers have access to the manual, it is not required reading as the methods are taught during UPS' Integrad training process - a five to 9- day bootcamp that all drivers must complete before they hit the road.

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"We have books of methods for all jobs at UPS," the spokesperson said, explaining the company invests over $200 million a year in programs designed to improve safety. "Training is the cornerstone of our company. The methodologies we use to train have two purposes: to keep out employees safe and to allow them to make their deliveries efficiently."

Last year, Insider's Hayley Peterson experienced Integrad firsthand. In the program, drivers learn anything from how to haul boxes across slick ice to how to effectively organize their packages and route.

Do you work in shipping or trucking? Reach out to the reporter from a non-work email at gkay@insider.com

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Read Mims' book to learn more about the processes that bring goods to your door in a matter of days.

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