This shipping conglomerate could teach you a thing or two about getting the most out of your service routes.


When you’re at your busiest, you need to be at the height of service route optimization.

If your service technicians head out in the morning with a full schedule of 10 appointments, but find they’re running late because of traffic or have to work late to fit them all in, perhaps it’s time to rethink their routes. According to shipping logistics powerhouse UPS, you might want to take out the left turns all together. 

An article on Yahoo.com says UPS drivers don’t make left turns. Why? ORION, the company’s route-optimization technology, calculates the most efficient route for drivers, looking at the entire day rather than a stop-to-stop overview. As the company ramps up for another busy holiday season, adding more drivers and more ORION software, it found the technology almost never routes a left turn.

Related: Pump That Septic - Pumper Magazine Video Profile - March 2011

“I have nothing against left turns, it’s just amazing how our methods over the years continue to show it’s always better to have right turns,” said Mark Wallace, UPS’s Vice President of U.S. Industrial Engineering, in Yahoo’s video interview. 

 

Safety and stoplights reign supreme for UPS — and they should for you, too. The article says making left turns is obviously more dangerous because drivers are crossing an intersection, and many states and cities allow drivers to turn right on red, which minimizes wait time at stoplights.

Related: “Taking Baby Steps” - O’Brien’s Septic, Nunda, NY - January 2013 Pumper Video Profile

I should add that UPS does not prohibit drivers from turning left, and Wallace mentions that drivers take left turns when it optimizes the route, but they’re usually in rural areas. 

UPS hopes the program will help make drivers more efficient as they strive to meet increased online shopping demand.

While the proprietary GPS software is only available to those who don the notorious brown uniform, it serves as a good reminder about route optimization for services companies who send drivers out on routes each morning — and, of course, how right turns are better than left turns.

Related: Blog: The summer’s going great: Hear from Jay Brendel

You might not be delivering holiday goodies, but revamped service routes could save you time and money. In reality, your drivers probably can’t cut out left turns, but this wacky idea should plant the seed about doing what you can to optimize all aspects of your business.

Get started with these routing software and tracking technologies:

Mobile WorkForce from Point-of-Rental Systems allows the mobile worker to eliminate paper by performing tasks on site with any wireless device or laptop, and not have to be granted full access to the company server.

Retriever Scheduler from Retriever Communications allows companies to optimize their mobile workforce by improving job visibility, scheduling capabilities and fast checking of field technician availability.

Subscribe: If you don't want to bring your iPad into the bathroom, we can send you a magazine subscription for free!

The RouteOptix Android App is available on most Android devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Checkmate tool and equipment tracking software from Dynamic Systems features metal barcode tags that reduce the time it takes to locate equipment by assuring that items will not be lost or left behind.

iButton technology from EZTrakR Systems Inc. verifies services on a driver’s route are completed with electronic service validation.

Subscribe: Save the trees for beavers, sign up for our E-Newsletter!

The VT310 from Meitrack USA is a GPS tracker with five discrete inputs and outputs, and two analog ports.

The PortaTracker program from Tracker Solutions provides customer information, including site and mailing address, phone number and history on one navigatable page.

StreetEagle Mobile Barcoding from Insight Mobile Data Inc. equips field workers with asset locations on a map and barcode technology to enable them to scan any asset to communicate activity and inventory data.

NexTraq comprehensive GPS fleet tracking allows fleet managers to track employees, vehicles and assets, while providing detailed fleet reports and analytics that help identify operational inefficiency.

The Tank Track business management program allows users to manage customer information, track property details, upload plans, schedule appointments, assign trucks, map routes, manage reminders and generate data for reporting.

The SignalTrack platform from GPS North America offers a secure Web dashboard that can be managed from any Internet-connected workstation or smart device.

Manageit from Ituran USA is designed for fleet managing and dispatchers, and contains instant and accurate GPS fleet tracking, personalized reporting, recovery services, geofencing technology and more.

Evolution software from WennSoft delivers asset management, maintenance agreements, simple and segmented work orders, field service, advanced dispatching and scheduling, mobile solutions for field technicians and more.

The AT-X5 live GPS tracking device from US Fleet Tracking is compact, discreet and easy to install.

With SAFE Software, technicians with basic computer skills can enter, organize, route and schedule pumping and service for customers.

As the holidays (too soon?) gear up and online orders and shipments get kicked into high gear, pay attention to UPS drivers. Did he make a left turn?

Do you think removing left turns from your service routes could save time and money? Post a comment below!


Related Stories

Like this story? Sign up for alerts!