Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why UPS Trucks Never Turn Left

United Parcel Service logo (2003-present)Image via Wikipedia
Efficiency is the bread and butter of UPS. Deliver the package on time while saving time, space and money. At UPS, computer sorted packages are marked with a proprietary bar-code. Computers design optimal routes and state of the art package facilities guide your deliveries with computer precision. But with all the billions spent on these systems, the biggest secret to their success is don't make left turns.

UPS plots it's delivery route to make as many right turns as possible. Where half the turns are left ones, they avoid turning left. And how much of the time are UPS trucks turning right? Tasha Hovland, an industrial engineering manager, said, "A guesstimate, I would probably say 90 percent. I mean we really, really we hate left turns at UPS."

Efficiency is so much a part of UPS that it should be called "United Efficient Parcel Service". So much, even the trucks are parked 5 inches apart in the dispatch center. 

Making right turns is nothing new, it was the norm way back before anyone can remember. Managers would go out on the trucks and drive the routes, plotting on map how the right turns could be more efficient. 

UPS trucks drive 2.5 billion miles every year. With its package flow technology and right turns they saved 28,541,472 million miles and 3 million gallons of fuel last year. The company puts almost 92,000 trucks on the road every day. But without its efficiency and right-turn routes, it would have to send out an additional 1,100 trucks.

This is why you never here of a recession with companies like UPS. Constant innovation and increased efficiency keeps companies vibrant. 

I think I will try this right turn only stuff when I go to work tomorrow.

6 comments:

  1. I thought the Teamsters always turned left, but never right. :-)

    Are their computer systems smart enough to order their package deliveries and plan their routes out so no left turns are required. Pretty impressive if true.

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  2. This is a clever idea. I like learning something new! I'm going to think about how to try this one.

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  3. This right turn business was being talked up by the CEO himself, Scott Davis, back in June. Their package delivery culture is extraordinary. Much like Fedex.

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  4. That's great! Thanks so much for sharing! I'll have to keep an eye out for if any of the UPS drivers are turning left. They sure are in a hurry every time I see them! :)

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  5. Not true. I encountered a UPS driver this morning that made a left turn in front of me and cut me off. One driver I am referring to drove truck I45427. This is in Rocklin, California around 9:30 am, August 3, 2011. He came out of a residential street, did not stop at the stop sign, made his left turn in front of my path, cutting me off, and driving above the speed limit. He is extremely lucky I did not record the incident with my camcorder. Otherwise, I would have posted this incident on the internet to demonstrate how UPS puts driving reckless above safety.

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