Thursday, February 14, 2013

UPS working on “Muda”: No left turns

UPS working on “Muda”: No left turns

Muda is the term coined by Lean practitioners which means futility, uselessness or idleness. Senior VP of UPS, Bob Stoffel, started a drive of smart logistics that helped them coming up with the software to find out efficient routes to reduce wastage. This software maps out driver routes with no left turns. Working with the proprietary software called “package flow technology”, UPS managed to cut 28.5 million miles off their routes in 2007.

This software provides a prescribed routes for driving which  is proved to be a hyper-efficient practice which reduces idling of truck and also provides shortest route to reach destination by avoiding left turns. With 95,000 trucks delivering packages every days provides economies of scale. Hence this improvisation have significant impact on overall delivery time and saving on fuels.

Savings –
These efforts diminished 31,000 metric tons of CO2 emission. It also helped the drivers to delivers 350,000 more packages yearly. Their fleet saved roughly 3 million gallons of gas. In 2012, using Telematics, it has been figured out that approximately 9 million gallons of fuel and 98 million minutes of idle time was saved.

Efficient packaging and sorting -
This software also enables loader to stick extra bar-code label next to shippers label that dictates where to place the package in the truck for sequential loading and unloading. Strategic package placement for easy retrieval  saved ample amount of time for drivers and improved operational tasks.

Safety –
Turning right decreases safety hazards and delays. 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.

Next steps –
Focusing on sustainability, UPS want to cut carbon on transportation while providing excellent service to customers. These practices not only provide UPS competitive edge but also reduce carbon footprints.  It is already working on replacing the old fleet of airplanes which were major contributor of carbon foot prints. Focusing on green vehicles and efficient aircraft, UPS is looking for viable options of bio-fuel usage to balance environment impacts and social impact while keeping company economically prosperous.

References -
Safety -

Savings 2012 -

Savings 2007 -

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