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Mar 21, 2017

UPS is the world’s largest package delivery service. Their Red Thread is to figure out how to get something from point A to point B as quickly as possible. How do they do it? Surprisingly, it’s not about an algorithm that solves for the shortest distance; instead, it comes down to a simple solution: they don’t turn left.

What UPS realized is that solving their problem isn’t just about figuring out the shortest distance to the destination, it’s about which decisions actually impact the wait time for a package. Turning left increases the wait for the lane to clear, and also increases the risk of an accident because you’re moving through oncoming traffic.

Rather than having their Red Thread say that they do the same thing the same way every time, UPS kept their goal in mind, which allowed them to find a new solution to an old problem.

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