UPS Nets Huge Fuel Savings With Analytics - InformationWeek

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UPS Nets Huge Fuel Savings With Analytics
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D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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11/4/2013 | 6:09:16 PM
re: UPS Nets Huge Fuel Savings With Analytics
Details are sketchy on the proprietary nuances of the ORION model, but one exec told me UPS almost gave up back in 2007. The model takes in a complex array of data and variables to try to figure out the best route for deliveries. Originally UPS assumed that every variation from a prescribed route had an equal penalty, but that wasn't the case. Sometimes small adjustments helped while large variations where problematic.

"We had to throw away all our old thoughts on how to measure a good route," said UPS exec Jack Levise. "There were ways UPS measured whether a route was good or not that didn't translate to optimization well at all."

The UPS breakthrough was finding better metrics for determining whether if a route is efficient. Goes to show you that you sometimes have to "reverse your thinking," as Levise put it, to come up with a real breakthrough.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
11/15/2013 | 9:32:46 PM
re: UPS Nets Huge Fuel Savings With Analytics
That's not all that surprising when you think about how your daily commute goes.  I know that if I miss my window of opportunity in the morning I get stuck behind a handful of school buses that add dramatically to the time it takes me to get to work.  Toss in traffic backups near popular breakfast stops and special functions and you've got models that aren't as simple as the shortest distance wins.  I hope that they are collecting data on the routes continuously so that they can tweak and improve them over time.  It may be as simple as the system figuring out that taking the driver down a road with many fast food restaurants during the lunch rush kills his travel times or as complex as figuring out train schedules and how likely a driver is to be stuck at a crossing. 


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