No Turning Left!

Sales, marketing and business leaders need to constantly evolve in order to grow their business, but most senior executives are time poor when it comes to thinking about their strategy. Just doing more of the same will get you so far, but it is the radical ideas that accelerate growth inside an organisation.

Take the logistics sector as an example. The common and obvious way of thinking for most delivery and logistics companies is always to find the shortest route to the destination. Then, working metrics and KPI’s around this 'value' of the shortest route and reporting against it is easy. Subsequently, the shortest route metric, drives organisational behaviour. However, UPS looked at the metrics completely differently. They looked at some wider issues surrounding their business and one of the radical outcomes was that they decided to STOP (nearly always) turning LEFT! (or right in countries like the UK). Why?

No lefts, are right!

samuel-regan-asante-zYUmJfeUA0g-unsplashUPS took a step back and worked out that turning left into oncoming traffic increases the risk of an accident. It not only had the potential for increased insurance claims, potential vehicle repairs, even the risk of angering other drivers as a driver picks their moment to cross the traffic. These issues compound over time for the driver of the vehicle but times this by the many thousands of other drivers and movements globally, then it is a real problem. Furthermore, waiting to turn left takes time, burns more fuel and puts more stress on the driver. UPS worked out that while plotting the route to reach the destination by not turning left, might take slightly longer, it also proved to be more cost-effective, have less potential risk and actually avoided delays!

Turns out that not turning left is a smart move after all!

UPS have designed their vehicle routing software to eliminate as many left-hand turns as possible Typically, only 10% of the turns are left turns. As a result, the company claims it uses 10 million gallons less fuel, emits 20,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide and delivers 350,000 more packages every year. (Source: conversation.com)

This bold move by UPS enabled them to cut the number of vehicles it used by 1,100, which in turn reduced the total distance travelled by 28.5milion miles! Yet, UPS ended up delivering 350k more parcels every year.

Finding your ‘no left turn’

nelson-ndongala-4WioHGG7K2o-unsplashAt first, ideas like ‘no left turn’ sound radical, but once accepted and followed through with conviction, they make perfect sense.

How can you learn from this example? Rather than repeating last financial year, why not get a working group together from different areas and ranks of your organisation to find better ways of growing your business? As a leader within your company, maybe even keep yourself out of the meetings, so that the teams feel free to discuss radical ideas that might be the next ‘no left turn’. Get your team to think about ideas that improve profits, margins, conditions for staff, delighting customers and prospects. There are many positive outcomes from thinking beyond the boundaries of your sector, so try to examine other sectors and what they do. Like the example from UPS, the next great idea is not going to be obvious, it might even appear counterintuitive. Initiatives might come from unlikely sources, so ask your teams, beyond just your senior executives, even teams from outside your sector or geography to help.

Secret Source Specialists often talk with clients about ‘zigging’ when their other competitors are ‘zagging’. Being objective, coming up with smart ideas that help companies grow in a better way is why sales, marketing and business owners choose to work with us and what gets a 'Secret Sourcer' springing out of bed in the morning! Why not read some of our other blogs for inspiration and ideas for ‘not turning left’. Better still, why not book in a 'Discovery Call' to talk further regarding growing your business in a better way? 

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Written by Nick Carlson