Thursday, June 20, 2013

Around Town with Brown

Analytics shaves minutes and miles off UPS delivery drivers’ routes.

The intuitive answer is not necessarily the best answer. Often, applying analytics to a problem can yield solutions that “common sense” would miss.

UPS, the parcel giant, has long been known for measuring everything and pushing its delivery drivers to move just a little faster as they run their routes. In a modern update of the classic “traveling salesman problem,” which looks at how to go from Point A to Points B, C, and so on, back to Point A in the most efficient path, the company has developed a system that plots out each driver’s optimal route.

There are myriad variables, from which shipments are priority deliveries to how much faster it is to make a right hand turn than to turn left at a given intersection. As Fast Company reports, Big Brown calculates that their system has saved them 35 million miles a year since its roll-out began in 2008, even though it will be another five years before it is completely in place.

“Rules of thumb don’t truly optimize,” said Jack Levis, director of process management for UPS. “What we do as people is oversimplify.”

Math can solve problems that people can’t – but math is a tool, created by people. What UPS does for themselves, we can do for you. The beauty of the analytics revolution, applied to your supply chain, is how it allows you to look at your transportation practices, and your transportation spend, in ways never before possible.

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103

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