Do Your Drivers Make Left Turns?

Take a lesson from the big brown truck, optimizing your plumbing routes can save you time and money
Do Your Drivers Make Left Turns?
Revamped service routes could save you time and money.

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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 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 ramped up for another busy holiday season, adding more drivers and more ORION software, it found the technology almost never routes a left turn.

“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.

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.

You might not be delivering packages around the world, 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.

Technologies to keep your plumbing business on the right track:

Clear Computing

Clear Computing’s interactive dashboard combines data, charts and ad-hoc reporting to provide at-a-glance, interactive summaries of the state of a business.  With just a few clicks, managers and owners can get key financial and operational information needed to make business decisions and take action. Interactive dashboard charts include customer gains and losses, MTD and YTD sales comparisons, collections analysis, trends and forecasting. Full ad-hoc reporting is included in CRM, sales, receivables and inventory control. TAC Online offers complete operations management from anywhere, and is hosted in secure, backed-up 24/7 data centers. 888/332-5327;

My Service Depot

Smart Service scheduling software from My Service Depot adds simple drag-and-drop scheduling, job dispatching, equipment tracking, geocoding, workforce tracking and more to QuickBooks, keeping all of a company’s administration in one convenient software system. This program gives plumbing companies everything needed to go from the moment a job is sold to the moment the service is completed. A connected mobile app puts employees’ daily schedules on their mobile devices, while providing access to all the customer and equipment information needed. 888/518-0818;


ServiceTitan is a mobile, cloud-based software platform that helps service companies streamline operations, improve customer service and grow their business. Its platform includes CRM, intelligent dispatch, comprehensive reporting, marketing tools, mobile connectivity for technicians and Quickbooks integration. 855/899-0970;

US Fleet Tracking

The AT-V3 live vehicle and asset GPS tracker from US Fleet Tracking can be used with any Web browser or smart phone, viewing turn-for-turn live movements, enabling the user to verify employee location, confirm service occurred or optimize the fleet and decrease overhead. It is configurable for 5- or 10-second live tracking updates for accurate mileage reporting. Its compact 2.5-inch width by 3.125-inch length by 0.875-inch height makes it ideal for tight installations. It has rugged water-resistant IP66 housing and solid-state circuitry. 405/726-9900;

Vehicle Tracking Solutions

Silent Passenger fleet management software from Vehicle Tracking Solutions is user-friendly and offers a suite of tools that deliver actionable reports by enabling users to view current and/or historical data, as well as receive mobile-friendly alerts (texts, emails) that are easily configurable to a myriad of verticals. It can significantly increase a company’s bottom line by improving safety, minimizing fuel costs, aiding in theft recovery, lowering operational costs and increasing overall productivity. 631/492-1148;  


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