If UPS keeps you moving at the speed of business, then business just hit a speed bump.
This month, with consultants in full swing on quarterly performance reviews, the issue is: how to get reports delivered during the strike by United Parcel Service of America Inc. workers, and the subsequent overload at other delivery services.
The solution, at least for some industrious consultants, - carry-on luggage.
"The reports are a little too long to fax," said Tom Pipich, principal and investment consultant at Buck Consultant's Pittsburgh office.
With reports often sent to investment committee members, frequently at their homes, Buck quickly hit the limit on the number of packages its alternate carrier will take during the strike which began earlier this month.
"So we (the consultants) haul all that heavy stuff on the plane for the meeting," he said.
An investment in technology paid off for Callan Associates, San Francisco.
Callan, which uses UPS as its main carrier, had quarterly reports to send out to 900 organizations. The firm had been touting a new format that could transfer the reports electronically to clients; so far, 300 of the reports have been sent this way, said Gregory Allen, director of operations. "It's saved a ton."
Callan has been trying to convert its clients to the e-mail system, and the UPS strike accelerated the process, Mr. Allen said. The electronic system has helped with shortening the processing time for reports, Mr. Allen added. "If we can get the CIO on e-mail, he can proof the report, give us the go-ahead, and then we can print it. It saves a couple days."
But Callan is still sending a lot of packages, mostly through FedEx. "We have a lot of anonymous analysts pretending they come from different organizations taking packages down," Mr. Allen said. FedEx has put a limit on how many packages an organization can send.
And finally, sometimes you just reach a bit deeper into your pockets.
Frank Russell Investment Co., Tacoma, Wash., found itself with 20,000 pieces of mail to be shipped out to 160 locations. Normally it would be sent out through UPS ground service, said Chris Phillips, a company spokesman. With the strike, that service wasn't reliable and other couriers weren't guaranteeing arrival. So Russell opted for the more costly UPS two-day express service, he said.