Article > Opinion

Right-Hand Turn Beauty

By Mark Phillips

Planning and technology will make your delivery operation more efficient. So, too, will making sure drivers make as many right-hand turns as possible.
Mark Phillips

I live in a very congested area around several major shopping centers, and have long understood and appreciated the beauty of the right-hand turn. When you live in an area like this, you have to plan out your trip before you leave home (at least in your head, not necessarily on paper) and incorporate copious right-hand turns.

The beauty of it is that a lot of drivers have yet to discover the genius of the right-hand turn and continue to torture themselves by turning left. I see it on the faces of drivers every day. It’s like they’re speaking in tongues, but I know they’re cursing the decision they made to turn left.

When I discover a new right-hand turn to take me where I need to go, it’s cause for celebration. Right-hand turns save you time, money and frustration. With left-hand turns, you just sit, sometimes for a very long time, sometimes long enough to forget where you’re driving to in the first place.

I live in an area that’s a lot like many other places in the country: At certain times of the day, traffic is worse than others, sometimes much worse. Many times, you just don’t venture out because it’s not worth it and save the trip for another time.

But parts delivery professionals don’t have the choice of traveling only when traffic is light, so it comes down traveling smarter to make their deliveries successful.

In addition to planning for right-hand turns, delivery professionals need access to technology that a lot of consumers already have: GPS. Global Positioning is radically changing the way businesses operate and is reshaping the way many people commute to work.

Once considered a luxury, it’s now becoming a necessity. It helps parts distributors find their drivers and gets lost ones back on track. If you want to see how beautiful technology and proper planning can be, order something, anything, off the Internet and have it delivered by UPS or FedEx. (See how much time, miles and money are saved by UPS through right-hand turns, page 22.)

Yes, I have some geek tendencies, and nothing fascinates me more than watching a package I ordered zip across the country. You can literally watch online as a package gets handed off at one depot and goes to another. Doing so reinforces something to me: That the delivery services know exactly where and how something is going to get where it needs to go before it ever leaves the warehouse. They’re dealing with literally millions of packages each and every day. Of course, you’re not delivering that many parts each day, but why should the process be any different?

In my experience, a combination of poor planning and heavy traffic can be a mere annoyance. I might miss the start of a movie, for example. That’s obviously not life-threatening, but what about the cumulative effect of many missed or late parts deliveries to a parts business. If you’re not incorporating some delivery logistics program in your operation, I’d urge you to do so.

You don’t want to be the parts professional who keeps making left-hand turns.


A special thanks to Independent Warehouse Distributors, LLC (IWD) for inviting Babcox and Counterman magazine to their annual membership meeting in Orlando, Fla., April 9-12. Please see the May issue for coverage of the event.

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