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06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/24/21 8:56 a.m.

I remember last holiday season FedEx were using Budget rental trucks to make deliveries.  USPS employees were making Amazon deliveries after business hours and on Sundays in plainclothes with USPS trucks.  And you didn't know what UPS may show up in, or when for that matter.  I had a delivery show up at 10 pm one night, freaked my dog out..  Looks like this holiday season will be even crazier, so get your orders in early. 

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
9/24/21 9:11 a.m.

FedEx ground here at work has been especially bad the last few weeks.  Two different customers emailed/called since yesterday asking the status of orders that I shipped last week.  Both show "possible delay" and taking 8-10 days vs the usual 2 days to go 2 states away.

Regular FedEx isn't doing much better, UPS seems to be doing ok.  (We dropped DHL years ago for many many reasons.)

iansane
iansane HalfDork
9/24/21 9:12 a.m.

My biggest qualm with FedEx isn't the long delivery times. That I can deal with. We're in some weird times, labor-wise (well...anything-wise) so I kind of expect things to take longer. I get upset with the fact they even offer 2 and 3 day delivery when they know damn well it's going to take 5 days. Lately, every time I inquire it's the same excuse, "That container has been sitting at the DC for a few days because our people haven't had a chance to unload it yet." In and of itself that's a shame but totally understandable; they're swamped. But the fact that they still can take X amount of my dollars and claim it'll arrive in 2-3 days is ridiculous. Every truck and trailer is tracked and catalogged, so is every package. I have a hard time believing they don't have a million specific metrics to measure the delivery process. Just stop offering 2-3 day if you can't consistently achieve that.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
9/24/21 9:36 a.m.

I can't recall the last time I used or had anything shipped via UPS or FedEx, but I don't recall any problems. Recently, Amazon has been the most reliable (and I anticipate will be better in the future with more vehicles in the form of their custom built Rivian fleet), followed by USPS... assuming you're not talking about the regular mail. Regular mail has been a nightmare since about June 2020. But packages delivered via USPS have been right on time, every time. 

DHL has been bad though. Only used them twice, in the last year, and both times the tracking was useless and it took about a week longer than it was supposed to. 

 

 

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and MegaDork
9/24/21 9:36 a.m.

My last FedEx shipment was from Grainger. It showed up on the right day, but at 8 pm at my office. I contacted Grainger to let them know that this was a business address and the office hours were 8-4 Monday through Friday. The next day they attempted delivery again at 5:30. Another call to Grainger. The third attempt was the charm. They actually made the delivery. Unfortunately, it consisted of a completely smashed box that was mostly empty. The toggle anchors were there, but the $100 worth of 316 SS hardware was gone. I contacted Grainger again and they reshipped the hardware UPS. I had it the next day at 10 am. Grainger also noted on my account to default to UPS for shipments so it shouldn't be a problem in the future. 

I never pick FedEx unless they are the only option and then frequently I'll choose a different supplier. 

iansane
iansane HalfDork
9/24/21 9:42 a.m.

DHL is killer. I ordered a flywheel from the UK, paid something ridiculous like $50 for shipping and had the thing in 3 days. A flywheel!

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/24/21 12:24 p.m.

Well, my last RA shipment showed up today, finally, about 1/2 hour after FedEx sent me an update saying it will show up tomorrow.  Jeez ...

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
9/24/21 7:57 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

Shipping is screwed right now with massive labor shortages.  The trucking industry is also messed up with labor shortages.  Everyone wants everything shipped super fast, for super cheap, and handled like it's your newborn baby.  This isn't every going to be possible. This is just a simple microcosm of things that are going to spread to other businesses too.  

 

Way fewer young people today than 10-15 years ago. People didn't have kids, they had fewer kids, had kids later. There's not an endless supply of Zommers to staff all these entry-level jobs like there was for 15-20 years with the Millenials. We built our whole economy around that and now it's gone. I remember the mid-'90s was the last time it was like this. Some businesses might not make it intact -- like how there's towns of 18,000 that have 4 McDonald's.

NorseDave
NorseDave Reader
9/24/21 9:35 p.m.
GCrites80s said:
Way fewer young people today than 10-15 years ago. People didn't have kids, they had fewer kids, had kids later. There's not an endless supply of Zommers to staff all these entry-level jobs like there was for 15-20 years with the Millenials. We built our whole economy around that and now it's gone. I remember the mid-'90s was the last time it was like this. Some businesses might not make it intact -- like how there's towns of 18,000 that have 4 McDonald's.

Serious question - what are "Zommers" ?  Never heard that one before?  Gen Z-ommers?

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose SuperDork
9/24/21 9:46 p.m.

Fedex is toying with me at the moment as well, after four days sitting in Colorado my package has been within 40 miles of my house since Wednesday.  

Expected delivery date is still showing as yesterday.  
Fingers crossed they deliver it early next week?  

I'm used to this garbage from USPS, usually have better luck with their competition.  

 

Re: NorseDave, I assume he meant zoomers.

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Dork
9/24/21 10:24 p.m.

FedEx is a bad word in my household. They have been getting worse and worse. The whole stuff sitting in a hub thing has been happening for quite a while. Now if I get my shipment a few days late but it is complete and intact I consider that a win. They have cost my clients thousands of dollars in delays. 
 

My recent favorite was when they were supposed to deliver us a large decorative light fixture, and they dropped off a commercial refrigerator instead. It took them forever to find a 5ft. crate and it was holding up the completion of a job. I told my client he should just hang the refrigerator over the conference table with the door open and blame it on the architect. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
9/25/21 9:03 a.m.
NorseDave said:
GCrites80s said:
Way fewer young people today than 10-15 years ago. People didn't have kids, they had fewer kids, had kids later. There's not an endless supply of Zommers to staff all these entry-level jobs like there was for 15-20 years with the Millenials. We built our whole economy around that and now it's gone. I remember the mid-'90s was the last time it was like this. Some businesses might not make it intact -- like how there's towns of 18,000 that have 4 McDonald's.

Serious question - what are "Zommers" ?  Never heard that one before?  Gen Z-ommers?

Yeah, Zoomers. Gen Z.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/25/21 11:19 a.m.

I can tell you based on official info Fed Ex is short capacity on 600k packages per day.  Based on unofficial info they are short capacity on 1M packages a day.  The major bottleneck is package handlers at the terminal level.  It's not a very good job and the employees aren't treated that great.  Since these are the people loading the trucks the drivers suffer because of it too.  I could probably share more details than anyone would care to know, but the business is suffering for a lot of reasons, but labor is the biggest one.  I think everyone knows finding good people is the hard part right now.  I don't see anything being done to make it better right now.  Customers aren't willing to pay more, Fed Ex isn't willing to make less per package, fuel costs are rising due to stupid decisions, and people are no longer willing to take bad jobs for low pay. 

If you know how to make it all better, Fed Ex is desperate for good contractors.  I guarantee that. 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
9/25/21 11:49 a.m.

I still do as much as I can via the national postal services (Canada Post and USPS as well as the UK service) as they seem to be by far the most efficient.

When I have to, I've used others. I had to use a non-postal carrier to ship a power amplifier for repair (well over 100 lbs. and too big for postal services) and worried until UPS got it there as it was rare enough that it was basically irreplaceable.

When I had to send a fairly high value fountain pen (c. $1.5K) to the US I did use the fast service of Fedex overnight and they  stepped up.  But that doesn't help us for larger car parts. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
9/25/21 3:31 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

I can tell you based on official info Fed Ex is short capacity on 600k packages per day.  Based on unofficial info they are short capacity on 1M packages a day.  The major bottleneck is package handlers at the terminal level.  It's not a very good job and the employees aren't treated that great.  Since these are the people loading the trucks the drivers suffer because of it too.  I could probably share more details than anyone would care to know, but the business is suffering for a lot of reasons, but labor is the biggest one.  I think everyone knows finding good people is the hard part right now.  I don't see anything being done to make it better right now.  Customers aren't willing to pay more, Fed Ex isn't willing to make less per package, fuel costs are rising due to stupid decisions, and people are no longer willing to take bad jobs for low pay.

Least favorite job I've ever had.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/25/21 10:36 p.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Everyone I know of that has ever done it says the same thing.  It's hard work for low pay in pretty rough conditions.  They don't air condition those big warehouses, and management doesn't seem to sharp either.  My wife's cousin worked in a UPS distribution center and doesn't have great things to say about it either.  He and I have both spent time in a Fed Ex terminal pretty recently.  We saw good and bad contractors 1st hand.  We also saw what a bottleneck the package handlers are.  The good contractors spent a lot of effort and time cleaning up the loading dock and conveyors.  The bad contractors didn't worry about it and just left tons of packages behind each day.  The way out of this mess isn't one anyone wants to address.  Good help is hard to find, and if you can't afford to pay for it, it's almost unobtainable. 

 

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose SuperDork
9/25/21 10:39 p.m.

Update:  
Delivery has been updated to "Pending" 
Fingers crossed for 'by Tuesday"

HoserRacing
HoserRacing HalfDork
9/27/21 12:26 p.m.

From a shipper point of view, I'm happier with FedEx than I was with UPS.  The last 18 months have been crazy, everyone is over volume capacity, and they're struggling with freight.  The biggest issue I've seen from my end has actually been FedEx Home Delivery.  If you're not aware, FedEx Express, Freight, Ground and Home Delivery are are essentially branches/divisions, without overlap for the most part.  Home Delivery sucks.  I have everything delivered to my office (I also have a 1/4 mile gravel driveway with ~20% grade, so I don't want big trucks going up it).  I occassionally have something a day late, but more commonly it is on time.  For everything I ship, I tell my customers it's a week, if they're on the west coast, especially PNW, I tell them up to 10 days.  It's there before they call on it, so I'm good.  I noticed the same thing with charges that someone else mentioned, so before I bill my customer, I add $2 to the FedEx charges, and I'm usually good.  UPS lied to me years ago on our package dimensions, before dimensional weights became a thing, UPS would give customers a chain, and if your length was below the 100" marker on the chain, and your girth was less than 30", you were good.  Then they decided to start measuring it like it took up the same room as a box, and taking on a $45/package oversize fee.  My salesperson said we didn't have to worry, we were grandfathered in.  After they had a few thousand dollars in charges racked up, they decided we weren't grandfathered in and tried to collect.  I told them where they could go, went to DHL.  That was a disaster, went to FedEx because my largest customer at the time went to them, been with them ever since.  I take care of my driver, he takes care of me, and everything goes out well.  

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
9/27/21 1:23 p.m.

DHL, oh lord don't get me started. At the time I was shipping dozens of packages a day and DHL courted me to switch to them. Their rates were good so I decided to give them a shot. Went through all the rigamarole of setting up another carrier account and shipped with them ONCE. After getting a rate from them and then shipping it using THEIR software tool, they retroactively slapped a $50 "extended delivery area" charge on it. I told them their tool needed to disclose that prior to shipment so I could charge the customer for it - nope. I told them if they don't waive the fee they won't get any more shipments from me - nope. OK, close my account, experiment over.

FedEx has done the dimensional weight game with me. I got charged an oversize package fee (OS2 I think?) meaning it was beyond their standard dimensions. I think it was a 24" cube which they were claiming measured larger than that. I had a receipt for the purchase of the box that listed the dimensions on it, unfortunately the receipt was from a UPS Store so I don't think they liked that. At least that shipment made me enough money that the excess fee could be swallowed with a lump and bad feelings but still profit.

@AnthonyGS: I suspect the "solution" would be to eliminate the contractor BS and bring in a bunch of direct employees that are paid well and get solid benefits. But the chances of FedEx taking that bitter expensive pill is about none.

Edit: Oh yeah, LTL freight! I've been super impressed with RL Carriers lately. I've only done two freight shipments through them but they did them well with no drama, no complaints, nice modern equipment, and no BS charges afterwards. Also on time and with good tracking.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/27/21 1:57 p.m.

The solution is simple and well proven.  Henry Ford had more business then employees and doubled the pay to $5 a day. As a result he became the richest man in the world. Not only did he get the employees he needed he was able to pick only the best and brightest. Those improved the production process in ways he and his managers overlooked.  
    So double the pay of warehouse workers and other bottlenecks and stand back. 

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Dork
9/27/21 2:20 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Henry Ford was pioneered a new way to build cars. He did not pioneer new math. He still had to sell his cars for competitive prices, and he succeeded. Not because he paid more, but because the overall efficiency of his revolutionary assembly practice. You just picked one tiny factor and credited his success to that. With that same logic, one could say "only sell black cars and you will be the richest man in the world." Here is a quick test. Auto manufacturers today use similar assembly practices. What would happen to Ford today if the doubled the pay of all of their workers? Answer- the same thing that would happen to shippers, they would go out of business. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/27/21 2:23 p.m.

@dculberson

Fed Ex already tried delivering the ground / home packages themselves for holidays years ago.  They now pay the contractors more over the holidays because they failed.  
If you want me to be really open about it all, the biggest problem is that too many contractors are viewing it as investment now instead of a business you actively run.  The passive investor crowd is killing Fed Ex.

I've actively looked at becoming a Fed Ex contractor but the current contractors mess up that process too by wanting too much and not being transparent.  The employees and Fed Ex are desperate for good involved active contractors.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/27/21 2:38 p.m.
Boost_Crazy said:

In reply to frenchyd :

Henry Ford was pioneered a new way to build cars. He did not pioneer new math. He still had to sell his cars for competitive prices, and he succeeded. Not because he paid more, but because the overall efficiency of his revolutionary assembly practice. You just picked one tiny factor and credited his success to that. With that same logic, one could say "only sell black cars and you will be the richest man in the world." Here is a quick test. Auto manufacturers today use similar assembly practices. What would happen to Ford today if the doubled the pay of all of their workers? Answer- the same thing that would happen to shippers, they would go out of business. 

Would they??  How much income do shippers lose by slow delivery?   How much by lost or damaged  packages?     
 Put those numbers up and divide it by packages delivered.  Then because you would attract motivated workers,  through put  would go up and  loss would go down. Factor those into the equation.   Finally, consider the free media attention.  Not only would that attract motivated workers, it would also attract shippers, since instead of wringing their hands and blaming it on employees that aren't there, Fed Ex  would be doing something positive to solve a well known problem.  
    Incidentally Ford did not invent the assembly line, he copied it.   The market existed for a replacement for the horse. He just provided a solution.  
     Good help is invaluable. It is impossible for one person to be as creative and simple  as a whole factory of motivated workers.  
   Just because a rule about attendance exists doesn't mean it's the only solution. Great owners and managers understand that and the productivity of work from home is the proof.  The biggest bank is like that. They increased productivity 43% while reducing costs 22% by working from home.  
 Common logic said it wouldn't work  but the numbers are there. 
 So challenge "common sense" think out of the box. Even if you doubled the wages of warehouse workers after calculating in the benefits, would costs actually go up? By how much per package?  Are those benefits worth the added costs?  

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/27/21 4:18 p.m.

You can't deliver anything working from home.

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy Dork
9/27/21 5:48 p.m.

Would they??  How much income do shippers lose by slow delivery?   How much by lost or damaged  packages?     
 

Yes, they would go out of business. Labor is already the highest cost of most businesses, and I'd wager no business in a competitive environment would survive doubling their labor costs. Who in their right mind would ship FedEx if their cost was much higher than their competition? They don't care about slow deliveries. They don't care about damaged packages. They rarely pay a dime for damaged goods, and when they do, it's pennies on the dollar. Shipping is an odd service as the party requiring the service- the recipient- rarely contracts with the freight company. The shipper contracts with the freight company. Most product is shipped FOB point of origin, it's the recipient's problem if it's lost or broken. So why would a freight company double it's labor costs? They already have more business than they can handle even with their E36 M3ty service. They would go out of business, and everyone working for them would get a change in pay all right, to $0. 
 

But let's pretend that P&L's aren't important, customers don't mind paying a lot more, and the business would survive a doubling of their labor costs. One, it would be more than double. They are messed up right now because the are short handed. To fix the problems, they need to hire. So they would not only double the pay of current employees, but also pay the higher rate for new employees. And most of them would still lose their jobs. Because most of them that are currently working would not be worth the new doubled pay rate, and they will be replaced when someone better is willing to take the job for the higher rate. It may take some time to filter them out, but it will happen eventually.

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