- 25 Aug '08 23:20 / 1 editHello Everyone.

I am currently employed at UPS ( United Parcel Service). My job there, however quite simple mentally, is the opposite with physicality.

After work is done around 8:30 AM I attend university Full-time. with the long hours, i would like to make my job at UPS a little less exhausting, by the use of strategy, as I am pretty much in peak condition for the job....

So while I was going for a quick jog this evening, I began to ponder a "mathematical" approach ( and i now use the term loosley ) for a maximization of efficiency. As I began to think about what would need to be involved as far as factors and variables, I became overwhelemed, so to speak. The idea of any simple relationship usable in the situation, seemed, with every step, to fly away from my fingertips at sonic speed.

So, to all you higher math buffs and mathematicians, have you ever run across an example of this type of situation in a format that could be of any assitance,.....I 'm guessing probably not , but just wanted to throw it out there....

thanks for humoring me

Eric - 26 Aug '08 03:57

What exactly do you do that you want to be efficient about?*Originally posted by joe shmo***Hello Everyone.**

I am currently employed at UPS ( United Parcel Service). My job there, however quite simple mentally, is the opposite with physicality.

After work is done around 8:30 AM I attend university Full-time. with the long hours, i would like to make my job at UPS a little less exhausting, by the use of strategy, as I am pretty much in peak co ...[text shortened]... ng probably not , but just wanted to throw it out there....

thanks for humoring me

Eric - 02 Sep '08 02:18

I would assume that UPS apply optimization when planning your route.*Originally posted by joe shmo***Hello Everyone.**

I am currently employed at UPS ( United Parcel Service). My job there, however quite simple mentally, is the opposite with physicality.

After work is done around 8:30 AM I attend university Full-time. with the long hours, i would like to make my job at UPS a little less exhausting, by the use of strategy, as I am pretty much in peak co ...[text shortened]... ng probably not , but just wanted to throw it out there....

thanks for humoring me

Eric

If they don't they should be spanked. - 02 Sep '08 19:25 / 1 edit

Yes, i'm sure they do for the driving jobs......but optimizing loading efficiency when box dispersion on to conveyorbelts is almost random would be a bit more difficult. This is probably why the company doesn't bother teaching various loading techniques.......Since I have been there, I have assesed that memory of regular deliveries ( knowing where and when to load them) is probably the best timesaver, but the knowledege is only gained by expeirience..... so no real strategy there...*Originally posted by Scheel***I would assume that UPS apply optimization when planning your route.**

If they don't they should be spanked. - 02 Sep '08 20:03You need to start with listing the variables that you feel influence your problem. Then you need to determine a formula (function) of the particluar variables.

Then, provided you can go about performing simple calculus for finding maximums & minimums etc. However, this will likely be very difficult if you have many variables. - 03 Sep '08 05:52Proper lifting techniques comes first (ergonomics); then, you might find some efficiencies in how you place the packages for loading and unloading; i'll be your attitude plays a huge part in this. Thus, just the desire to increase efficiency and to begin thinking about how to make improvements is the first step toward making that happen. I'm betting that you will make remarkable progress and will ultimately find huge efficiencies that you can implement. Best of luck.
- 03 Sep '08 06:41 / 1 edit

You start with numbers. Numbers are objective. And, of course, numbers are mathematical, which is what you want. But keep it simple. There's plenty of time to add to the initial analysis.*Originally posted by joe shmo***Yes, i'm sure they do for the driving jobs......but optimizing loading efficiency when box dispersion on to conveyorbelts is almost random would be a bit more difficult. This is probably why the company doesn't bother teaching various loading techniques.......Since I have been there, I have assesed that memory of regular deliveries ( knowing where and when ...[text shortened]... imesaver, but the knowledege is only gained by expeirience..... so no real strategy there...**

Wait...you're playing real life Tetris, aren't you?

EDIT - I'm having a tough time envisioning what variable you want to maximize. Least wasted space in truck? Fastest loaded truck? Pick a single variable you know you want to maximize. - 03 Sep '08 06:50Efficiency, by definition, is a mathematical statement. It's a ratio of two variables. For example,

If you are trying to load the truck fastest so you can take longer breaks, then your equation is

efficiency = L/T

where T is the Time it took to Load the truck,

and L is how many trucks got Loaded in the Time

If you maximize that efficiency, then you maximize the number of trucks Loaded in a given Time. Note that T/L will not work; I tried that, and realized that maximizing*that*efficiency means more Time per truck Loaded! That's no what we want. So, it's L/T we want to maximize. - 03 Sep '08 07:00

Once you have your two variables figured out - efficiency by definition being the ratio of two variables - you can apply the Scientific Method to experimentally determine how you can break down your formula into it's simpler, more numerous variables. For example*Originally posted by AThousandYoung***Efficiency, by definition, is a mathematical statement. It's a ratio of two variables. For example,**

If you are trying to load the truck fastest so you can take longer breaks, then your equation is

efficiency = L/T

where T is the Time it took to Load the truck,

and L is how many trucks got Loaded in the Time

If you maximize that effici ...[text shortened]... means more Time per truck Loaded! That's no what we want. So, it's L/T we want to maximize.

E = efficiency

E = L/T

Now, you need your baseline/control. Just do your job as normal, except keep track of how much Time it takes to Load each truck in a chart. Keep this chart. Add to it once in a while by Loading a truck without modifying any behavior. But next to the column that lists the control, make another column. In that one, keep track of the Time it takes to Load each truck while you do*something*different, which you hypothesize will improve E. Maybe you hypothesize that if you take a very specific route between belt and truck every time, you'll improve E. So you Load the truck with this specific route used every trip and write down how much Time it takes for each truck in the second column. Do a number of different columns using different hypotheses; maybe that you'll be more efficient if you refuse to talk to any coworkers beyond the minimum necessary, and you stick to that rule for a while and see if you get improvement. Each column note down whether you're using "optimum" route or not, whether you're allowed to chat or not, etc, so this is not ambiguous in data analysis.

Input it into Excel. Average each hypothesis' time result to get a single time assigned to that hypothesis. Then just check to see if there are patterns, or especially low Times. - 03 Sep '08 07:13Now you have more numbers to play with, generated by the science. Look at them and see which hypothesis produced the lowest average Time. If you want, you can even do a statistical analysis of Confidence Level to determine if any of the Times are Significantly (by definition) lower or not.

Let's suppose that Not-talking provides a great boost in Efficiency during actual box-loading time. Pull it out of one of the variables we already have, and assign another variable to the Remainder.

E = L/T

L = N*R/T

That is, the trucks Loaded per unit time (which is what L is; it has a Time denominator of 1) is equal to the Not-talking time value (maybe 5.5 minutes if Not-talking, and 6 minutes if allowing yourself to chat) times some other factors we're keeping constant because we're not changing anything except the experimental variable. One variable at a time. They keep adding up and adding up...maybe we discover it takes less time if we carefully wash, massage, lotion and scent our feet in the morning according to a well defined regimen. We'll call that the F variable for Feet.

L = N*F*R/T

I am confusing my self now. I'd have to test to make sure the equations actually describe the observed values fairly well I guess. If not, try to modify the equation.

Those are my thoughts. - 03 Sep '08 16:26

I haven't had time to read all of your posts, but I will...*Originally posted by AThousandYoung***Now you have more numbers to play with, generated by the science. Look at them and see which hypothesis produced the lowest average Time. If you want, you can even do a statistical analysis of Confidence Level to determine if any of the Times are Significantly (by definition) lower or not.**

Let's suppose that Not-talking provides a great boost in ...[text shortened]... values fairly well I guess. If not, try to modify the equation.

Those are my thoughts.

They way I see it, the problem, if kept simple will not be very accurate. I am looking for some non-intuitive strategies, and mathematics seems to be good at demystifying these scenarios.

Here are some variables that I percieve to be major factors, just for fun,

Belt speed is constant

number of trucks to be loaded is constant=4

volume of trucks ( or maximum capacity) is variable

volume of boxes on belt is variable

volume of package dispersion is variable for all trucks

volume of total packages for any given day variable

the speed of the worker is variable

as anyone can see, the function is already amazingly complicated

maybie a place to start would be to find the most efficient way to handle a string of boxes

for instance it is better to let boxes belonging to truck (a) ride on the belt, to truck (a), before being removed and loaded as opposed to carrying boxes down to truck (a) at a faster rate than belt travel.

I really don't enxpect anything out of this , other than a good discussion of the problems presented, as coquette said simply thinking about it in a logical fashion will help me maximize efficiency,

so I will soon read your posts and hopfully learn somthing about the situation in general

thanks - 04 Sep '08 02:12

I have read your posts, and your methods of extrapolating the data to find the functions are interesting. Your outline of the procedure to follow is informative, but unfortunately its just not practical in this situatuion....See,... the job seems to be designed to do very little else, other than load the boxes in the 3.5-4 hrs provided......*Originally posted by AThousandYoung***Now you have more numbers to play with, generated by the science. Look at them and see which hypothesis produced the lowest average Time. If you want, you can even do a statistical analysis of Confidence Level to determine if any of the Times are Significantly (by definition) lower or not.**

Let's suppose that Not-talking provides a great boost in ...[text shortened]... values fairly well I guess. If not, try to modify the equation.

Those are my thoughts.

- 04 Sep '08 04:02

Simplicity is best. When we calculate how long it will take for a car to brake we don't include in the analysis a variable for the position and orientation of each atom in each tire. We simplify it and it works fine.*Originally posted by joe shmo***I haven't had time to read all of your posts, but I will...**

They way I see it, the problem, if kept simple will not be very accurate. I am looking for some non-intuitive strategies, and mathematics seems to be good at demystifying these scenarios.

Here are some variables that I percieve to be major factors, just for fun,

Belt speed is constant

n ...[text shortened]... will soon read your posts and hopfully learn somthing about the situation in general

thanks - 05 Sep '08 07:00 / 1 edit

You said you wanted to make yourself a more efficient worker. As I said, efficiency is a ratio of two variables. Which ratio are we talking about here?*Originally posted by joe shmo***I have read your posts, and your methods of extrapolating the data to find the functions are interesting. Your outline of the procedure to follow is informative, but unfortunately its just not practical in this situatuion....See,... the job seems to be designed to do very little else, other than load the boxes in the 3.5-4 hrs provided......**

Load trucks fastest?

Load trucks with least wasted space?

Load trucks while expending the least energy? - 05 Sep '08 20:58

It would have to be load trucks while expending the least energy...*Originally posted by AThousandYoung***You said you wanted to make yourself a more efficient worker. As I said, efficiency is a ratio of two variables. Which ratio are we talking about here?**

Load trucks fastest?

Load trucks with least wasted space?

Load trucks while expending the least energy?

And with that previous post, I intended to say that I don't have the time to extract data to anaylze while on the job... Was that how it was understood?