Behind-the-scenes look inside Houston’s only UPS automatic sorting facility as holiday shopping ramps up

HOUSTON – Second to Black Friday, Cyber Monday is the busiest online shopping day.

Millions of people will be shopping online for the best deals on items. This means the shipping supply chain, will be busy including UPS’ Willowbrook facility on Houston’s Northwest side.

“These packages are picked up all over the country. They are unloaded from a trailer, sorted at our facility, loaded on a package car for the end customer delivery. Ninety percent of our package flow will go through our automated facilities by the end of the year,” explained Derek Wood, UPS Operations Manager. “Right now we are projected to be about 5 to 10 percent higher than last year.”

Wood said packages pass through machines. In which each parcels are photographed and sorted electronically. Wood said some packages do have to be processed manually.

“It is fully automated, so the sorters are automated, the whole building is automated,” Wood said. “They will pick off packages that won’t get a good read that aren’t taped correctly.”

Wood said this has not reduced the number of workers inside the facility.

“We have just shifted those employees on the load side, we moved them around the building. We start our seasonal hiring process back in October. Here in the Houston area we have processed more than 3400 openings,” he said.

Wood says hiring will continue throughout the end of December.

“Looking into next year, a third of those employees, seasonal hires will come back after the new year.” Explained Wood.

According to Wood, the positions range from $15 to $21 an hour.

As for shipping dates, the last days to ship to help ensure delivery on or before December 24 can be found on the Year-end Schedule here.

• UPS® Ground service: please check the transit time here for details

• UPS 3 Day Select® shipping: December 21

• UPS 2nd Day Air® shipping: December 22

• UPS Next Day Air® shipping: December 23


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