No Left Turn

Is it true the UPS drives don’t make left turns? Yes! UPS routes are determined by only making right turns (or as few lefts as possible). The real question is WHY?

Recently a news story on highlighted how UPS has taken this thinking to the next level…software. They now have “Orion”; a super-secret software that creates the optimal route for the drivers using the no-left-turn policy. What’s UPS’s beef with left turns? Why do they actively discriminate against 50% of turns worldwide? (I see a potential ACLU lawsuit coming)

The obvious answer is less time waiting at red lights (right on red). It’s also less dangerous by not having trucks crossing intersections, thus reducing accidents. So let’s look at this through our Lean Six Sigma lenses. UPS is creating “flow” by reducing the waste of “waiting”, also they have reduced the risk of vehicle accidents disrupting flow (the failure mode). Result: Estimated 10%-15% increased capacity without increasing costs…winning!

So the next time you are driving consider only making right turns and let me know how that works for you. If you boss asks why you were late just use the UPS case study…I’m sure he/she will understand.

Keep on truckin, Erik