Technician Training and Recruitment

An inside look at how UPS does it


“Our Pre-Seniority Training gives the new technician a feel for what it’s like to work for UPS,” he says. “Just because we hire a person as a technician, the position may not be a good fit for him or her so it works both ways. We get a chance to evaluate the individual, and they get a chance to evaluate the job.”

 

PMI METHOD

The next element of the Pre-Seniority Training Period is preventive maintenance inspection (PMI) training. “The preventive maintenance program at UPS is the backbone of our whole operation,” emphasizes Mariano. “With effective preventive maintenance, we’re able to have minimal vehicle breakdowns on the road. That means we deliver our customers’ goods on time, and that means we’ve kept our promise.”

For UPS’ PMIs, in addition to checking components required by the DOT, there is a prescribed method for completing them, he explains. “The level of detail we go into for our PMIs, which require several hours to conduct, is key to our vehicle reliability and helps keep our operational costs manageable.”

Regardless of their experience, all new technicians at UPS are trained and certified on the UPS PMI process during the Pre-Seniority Training Period.

Just as it does with its drivers, UPS assigns its technicians the same vehicles to work on. By doing this, the technicians “get more familiar with the vehicles and take ownership of their fleet,” says Mariano. “It becomes a matter of pride in keeping their fleet in top shape.”

As with everything at UPS, vehicle reliability, maintenance expense and technician performance are constantly measured.

 

DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS

Evaluating a new technician’s ability to diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately, along with their mastery of repair skills, is another aspect of the Pre-Seniority Training Period. Technicians are observed by their supervisor as they diagnose a problem, set up for the job and then make the repair. This is done on the shop floor, rather than in a classroom with mock-ups or training displays.

“The problems are real-life and done on active fleet vehicles,” Mariano says. “When we hire a technician, it’s not as if they are an extra person on the shop floor. We need them to contribute quickly to keep the maintenance program on track. After the safety and PMI training and certification, we get them going right away and observe how they do.”

There are a handful of key repairs - brakes repairs, replacing a clutch or transmission, diagnosing vehicle electrical problems, for example - on which technicians are evaluated to make certain they have the required skill level to properly and effectively complete the repair.

In addition, new technicians receive training on the emerging technology of telematics and condition-based maintenance. Condition-based maintenance offers proactive notification of impending vehicle component failure.

Once a new technician successfully moves through the Pre-Seniority Training Period they gain their seniority and join the UPS team. Technicians at UPS are union employees.

 

GOOD START

UPS works hard to get technicians off to a good start. The technicians know early on what is expected of them. Plus, they are given all the procedures and policies they need to follow, along with the necessary beginning training.

“With all this, they can have a long, productive career at UPS,” says Mariano.

He notes that technicians tend to stay a long time at UPS. “There is very little technician turnover. We offer a competitive pay and benefits package, and we work hard to make UPS a good place to work.”

 

CONTINUAL EDUCATION

Recurrent training is done annually at UPS, which includes safety training and all training required by regulatory agencies.

“Continual education and training is very important in order to stay current on what is happening in the industry, on the regulatory front and with new vehicles and technology,” Mariano says.

Company-wide, about half of all the training at UPS is devoted to safety. That amounts to $175 million every year.

UPS also provides web-based training for its technicians. UPS maintains a large online library of training materials for its technicians through its own Learning Management System.

UPS also takes advantage of manufacturer-supplied training and uses outside trainers as well.

 

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