Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

3 Ways to Boost Warehouse Productivity

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on Sep 15, 2016 10:11:22 AM

Some days, you are running from one end of the warehouse to the other, perhaps all day. If your goal is to warehouse_productivity.jpgincrease productivity, it may be time to change your strategy — to work proactively rather than reactively.

The answer is in the metrics. One key condition for driving productivity in your warehouse is understanding what is happening on a granular level. With the right telematics platform, real-time data and detailed analysis can help target where — and how — your business can realize greater efficiency, boosting warehouse productivity.

Breaking down the data

To become smarter, better, and faster, you need access to a wide range of data from your warehouse — from the movements of your fleet, how maintenance protocols are completed, and even the performance of individual workers.

For example, cutting-edge telematics platforms provide precise data, like knowing the exact location of a problem in the warehouse within 4 to 5 feet.  You save valuable steps, time, and resources determining exactly where you need to be.

Managing a warehouse is a difficult task at best, and nearly impossible without good supporting systems and processes. Understanding operations granularly can take your business to that next level.

Here are 3 ways to boost warehouse productivity:

1) Look at productivity of your drivers/operators:

In a warehouse environment, vehicle telematics and inventory tracking hold the key to insights into the whereabouts and actions of your labor. They deliver a level of detail that human observation never could. With the right data, you can begin to make targeted changes to driver routines and on real productivity — like actual time spent moving products. They identify needs — like driver training, labor reallocation, and slotting optimization — using real-time tracking to let facts determine the best route for product movement.

2) Ensure the productivity of your fleet.

Skimping on fleet maintenance will cost you. A single forklift is associated with 40 separate costs. A telematics platform allows you take a proactive approach to fleet maintenance, notifying you before an issue occurs — for example, if a battery is nearing the end of its lifecycle. Lags in proper maintenance also increase the risk of vehicles being sidelined, and downtime is one of the biggest productivity killers.

3) Improve inventory tracking.

Employees are prone to human error. Managers who are tasked with reporting locations of specific pallets spend a disproportionate amount of time searching for those that are lost or misplaced. Telematics offers you optical position markers on the ceiling, combined with high-precision cameras on each vehicle, to track the location of vehicles and pallets — essentially linking forklift movement with data on the pallets. This provides 100 percent inventory accuracy.

You may currently rely on a warehouse management system (WMS), but there are many exceptions and miscellaneous tasks it can miss that impact productivity. With wireless real-time telematics, like the TotalTrax SX/VX Advanced Telematics Platform, you have all the data needed be proactive — rather than reactive — as you strive to boost production.

Topics: warehouse productivity, fleet management, telematics, fleet maintenance