Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Forklift Operator Error Raises Fleet Maintenance Costs

Posted by Dick Sorenson on Jan 25, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Who is driving your forklifts, and why are so many costly errors occurring? Drilling down to the answers to those questions can reduce your fleet’s maintenance costs significantly.

Face it — you need to know more about why maintenance costs are elevated and why driver error seems to be a constant challenge. Your fleet is an asset, so when forklifts become damaged, big losses add up quickly. forklift-1791103_1920.jpg

In fact, a single lift-truck is associated with about 40 separate costs, and maintenance and repairs are a big chunk of that budget. But you can easily take better control and lower those costs if you have the right information.

Monitor and get to know your forklift operators

Even the most skilled operators can behave badly behind the controls of a forklift. From driver complacency and failing to follow safety checklists to ignoring speed limits and choosing unsafe paths to get from point A to point B, operators make mistakes.

Failing to identify operator errors and poor behavior will cost you. Operators need retraining and continuous reinforcement of best practices. This can be achieved with a telematics system that enforces checklists, monitors speed limits, and helps to prevent operator complacency, a common reason behind operator errors, impacts and associated repairs.

Take for example, a recent video case study about DW Distribution Inc., a two-step wholesale distributor of building materials and millwork products located in Texas. The company was experiencing unusually high forklift maintenance costs at their Desoto branch. After some analysis, they determined that 75% of their expenses were caused by operator error. Watch the video case study:

Proven results with forklift telematics

DW chose to install a telematics product from TotalTrax — CommandPulseDX — as a solution to the high incidence of driver error. The software delivers advanced insight on one screen, clearly showing the skills, behaviors, and needs of each forklift operator.

With a high volume of traffic in and out of the 425,000-square-foot campus, telematic monitoring was the perfect solution.

The TotalTrax system was placed in 18 of the company’s forklifts, and, within a month, the company realized a sizable reduction in impacts and associated costs.

For example:

  • The system reeducated operators to best practices and safety protocol.
  • Impacts and repairs were dramatically reduced within 30 days.
  • After 3 months, a 20% reduction in maintenance costs, year over year, was realized.
  • The trucks with the TotalTrax software had 20% reduction in maintenance costs, while maintenance costs associated with trucks without the TotalTrax system remained unchanged.

The system was also leveraged to identify improved routing through entrances and exits in the facility and revealed new ways to improve efficiencies. Based on the successful results, DW ordered the TotalTrax system for the rest of the company’s fleet.

If you lack insight into your forklift operators’ skill level, habits (good and bad), and ideal routing paths within your facility, driver error may be costing you. TotalTrax telematics could save you 20% or more in maintenance and repair cost reductions.


Topics: fleet maintenance, cost reduction, safety training, operator behavior, root cause, operator report card