UPSNav: Save a minute, save $14 million

UPSNav: Save a minute, save $14 million

January 14, 2019

Known for its focus on efficiency, UPS is always on the lookout for ways to save time and offer better service to its customers.

UPSNav, due to be in place by 2020, updates United Parcel Service’s previous route optimization system for its 60,000 drivers.  The new system will recalculate routes all day long, taking traffic, remaining deliveries, and pick-up requests into account.

UPS drivers make about 125 stops per day, so shaving even seconds off each stop can result in huge savings.  For example, saving drivers one minute per day multiplies to $14.5 million in labor cost savings per year.

UPS competes in a tough market with FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service, and Amazon.  Figuring out how to make the “last mile delivery” as cost-effective as possible is a constant challenge, especially in suburban and rural areas where the stops are further apart.


Video Spotlight: A look at UPS Orion, the current UPS navigation system


This post is based on the Reuters article, New UPS navigation tool aims to save time and money with each turn, by Lisa Baertlein, December 4, 2018; and the YouTube video, UPS Orion, by lolrus15, September 6, 2017. Image source: Continue reading

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Third Romaine Recall Hits Trucking Industry

Third Romaine Recall Hits Trucking Industry

January 13, 2019

What do truckers do when told to dump 15 truckloads of lettuce two days before Thanksgiving?

Massive disruptions to the transport of potentially tainted romaine lettuce occurred as 43 people in 12 states were sickened by a particularly dangerous strain of E. coli.  This was the third such crisis to hit the romaine industry within the last 12 months.

Truckers working with Allen Lund Company eventually dumped tons of lettuce in landfills and dumps.  Because the CDC could not immediately track the source of the contaminated lettuce, both retailers and truckers tossed out the good with the bad.

Eventually, the tainted romaine was traced to growers on the central California coast, but only after lettuce from many other places was thrown out or pulled from store shelves.  In the meantime, the price for alternate varieties of lettuce rose quickly, as lettuce supplies contracted and many consumers looked for alternative greens.


Video Spotlight: Lettuce is Twice as Expensive, Thanks to Romaine E. coli Outbreak


This post is based on the Transport Topics article, Romaine Recall Causes Disruption in Trucking Industry, by Jim Stinson, December 3, 2018; and the Cooking Light video, Lettuce is Twice as Expensive, Thanks Continue reading

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The $25 Aspirin at Your Local Hospital Is A Tough Pill to Swallow

The $25 Aspirin at Your Local Hospital Is A Tough Pill to Swallow

Why do we pay outrageous prices for common drugs?

This question is on everyone’s mind and has spurred a flurry of bills and proposals to tackle the issue. The problem is multi-pronged with questionable negotiations, obscure reimbursement schemes, and controversial rebate deals poisoning a supply chain that financially rewards some players at the expense of patients.

For additional information on challenges and potential solutions, check out the nonpartisan organization, National Academy for State Health Policy.


Video Spotlight: Here’s Why Drug Prices Are So High


This post is based on the Washington Post article, Why Prescription Drug Prices Have Skyrocketed – and Why the Government Needs to Take Action, by R. Feldman, November 26, 2018; and the YouTube video, Here’s Why Drug Prices Are So High, by CNN Business, April 24, 2018. Image source: Fancy/Veer/Corbis/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. According to the Washington Post article, what are some of the reasons for high drug prices?

Guidance: A few of the reasons include a system that favors more expensive drugs over cheaper ones; increased demand through Medicare prescription drug coverage; drug companies that artificially inflate discounts with higher prices; health plan structures that allow for some payments Continue reading

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