Announced on Wednesday, the UPS (NYSE: UPS) driver uniform is getting a makeover for the first time since the 1920’s. UPS currently has 125,000 drivers.
UPS drivers around the world have worn the recognizable brown “shirt jack” with pants for nearly 100 years. For relief in warmer climates, shorts were added to the ensemble in the 1990s. The old uniform will remain an option for drivers or they will be recycled.
“UPS is in the midst of a company-wide transformation, and a significant part of that effort involves a cultural and brand shift that embraces innovation, speed and relevance,” said Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren. “Our new uniforms have a more contemporary look consistent with the company’s ongoing transformation efforts.”
UPS calls its drivers “industrial athletes.” The new uniform honors the performance aspect of their job by keeping in mind comfort and safety. While still mostly brown, the shirt is now made with breathable, micro-pique fabric that ensures comfort in hotter temperatures. Black color blocks run down the sides of the shirt, alongside reflective stripes.
The modern-fit pants are designed with a lower waist and made with a stretch twill. The baseball cap is made to absorb moisture, regulate heat, and sun exposure. The winter hat and UPS logo on the front and back of the shirt, also use reflective technology for safety during evening deliveries.
Clothing UPS workers required ample research and a lot of brown cloth—4 million yards or the length of the Mississippi River, according to UPS. 100 drivers in 30 different locations took part in beta testing, but no financial details were disclosed.
“Compared to the old uniform, this is a big improvement,” said 29-year Hialeah, Florida, delivery driver Mark Monroe. “I’d give it a 10. Ten plus, plus! It breathes and it’s much more comfortable fabric – it makes a huge difference compared to the old uniform.”
Other long-time Floridian drivers like Juan Constante felt a renewed cool and confidence from the uniform’s lighter fabric.
“This is south Florida, so temperatures can be in the 90s with high humidity. It’s (the new polo shirt) moisture wicking so it keeps you cooler,” said Juan. “And there’s nothing wrong with going out there, doing a good job and looking good while you’re doing it. Two thumbs up!”
Through this outward facing shift, UPS communicates its commitment to innovation, progress, and speed. Gearing up for peak season, these uniforms will be phased in while UPS is also hiring 100,000 seasonal workers, expanding access to tuition reimbursement plans, and removing delivery surcharges.