Companies are always looking for ways to save money and sometimes the answers to how to do it are not obvious. Often it is not about cutting back a bit here and there. Often it takes a radical rethink. Take UPS for example. I don’t know if you have noticed, but UPS drivers never turn left. This change has saved them tens of millions of dollars.
If you take the time to follow a UPS truck along its route, you will notice that it avoids left turns. This isn’t a philosophy based on some superstition, it is the result of a complex mathematical equation. Engineers map out every route and provide right-turn only directions to drivers.
UPS’s routing software shaved 20.4 million miles off their routes last year while delivering 350,000 more packages. It also diminished CO2 emissions by 20,000 metric tons and saved 10 million gallons less fuel.
Vehicle routing is designed to organize moving objects. Basically, it takes into account a variety of factors to determine the best way to get from A to B. One of these equations is working inside the UPS truck to help drivers find the best possible way to deliver their packages. The UPS vehicle routing software determined that turning left is a huge waste of time and money. Of course, this rule only applies where vehicle drive on the right hand side of the road.
Why does this work? Turning right decreases safety hazards, reduces chances of an accident and eliminates time spent waiting for traffic to make a turn. This not only causes delays but also wastes fuel. If a driver is stuck waiting for traffic to pass with a left blinker on, it’s going to set them back. Jutting out into traffic is also a good way to get side-swiped, especially when driving a big truck.
Making the occasional left turn is unavoidable. But in the case of UPS left turns make up considerably less than 10% of all UPS truck turns. Just think if everyone decided to give up turning left. This could translate into massive savings on fuel, reduced carbon emissions at this time of climate crisis, and less accidents. Just think of the time that would be saved by eliminating waits on intersections. One way streets and traffic lights could be reprogrammed to make travelling quicker and easier.
Of course, people are unwilling to make changes to their normal patterns, and one would suspect even more so when it comes to driving. However, for those prepared to consider a change, it would appear that eliminating left turns could be one of your smartest decisions behind the wheel.
Not turning left is a very simple way to save tens of millions of dollars as well as helping to save our fragile planet and cut down on the use of fossil fuels, but it is ingenious. What radical ideas can you come up with in your business that can help the planet and at the same time, make your company more profitable?
To make a UPS joke funny…it’s all in the delivery