In 2008, UPS wanted to increase the fuel efficiency of its 88,000 delivery trucks. With such a large fleet, even an incremental increase in fuel efficiency would result in major savings for the company. One efficiency problem that UPS discovered was the amount of time the trucks idled while waiting to make left-hand turns. Using special optimization routing software, UPS was able to redraw its delivery routes to favor right-hand turns. As author Steve Sashihara writes in The Optimization Edge: Reinventing Decision Making to Maximize All Your Company’s Assets, “In 2005, the software helped UPS eliminate 464,000 driving miles in Washington, D.C., alone, saving 51,000 gallons of fuel.”
UPS is just one of many winning companies, writes Sashihara, that illustrate the power of what he calls optimization, which he defines as “a decision-making process and a set of related tools that employ mathematics, algorithms and computer software not only to sort and organize data, but to use that data to make recommendations faster and better than humans can.” Optimization, he writes, allows companies to “squeeze every ounce of value” from their assets.
According to Sashihara, the best companies — the ones that have been able to beat their competitors and stay on top even during the worst of the economic downfall — are those that have taken full advantage of the optimization edge. Today, executives need, more than ever, to look at their companies and determine where there might be opportunities for optimization initiatives. Key questions for executives include:
- What are my company’s underutilized assets? For example, train capacity for a railroad or the face time that a pharmaceutical company’s sales reps spend with doctors might be optimized to bring greater value for the company.
- Where and how are repetitive decisions about key assets being made in my company? Improving the accuracy of those decisions by even 10 percent could have a major impact on profitability.
- How accurate are our forecasts?
If you would like to learn how you can make the most of your assets, join us on September 22nd for our webinar with Steve Sashihara entitled How to Maximize Your Company’s Assets. Steve will provide examples of other companies that have found efficiencies through his 5-step methodology for optimization. A 60-minute investment of time will be well worth it if you can save your company thousands of hours and dollars.