Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

How to Identify and Eliminate Warehouse Trouble Spots

Posted by Thelma Marshall on May 23, 2019 4:00:00 AM

It’s common to look at impacts, near-misses, and inventory challenges as a series of unexpected problems. But if you can get to the root cause of these issues, you will probably find they were predictable and potentially avoidable.   road-sign-1274312_640(1)

Many problems that arise in a typical warehouse operation will slow productivity or increase risk of injuries — so it pays off significantly to eliminate their sources.  This may sound time-consuming, but it really only takes a few steps to see results.

Identify problems that lead to trouble

You probably use data insights to improve overall efficiency, but with the right platform you can also use that same telematic monitoring data to identify and predict potential problems before they occur. After all, you can’t eliminate a problem until you understand its cause. Here are basic steps to get started:

Step 1: Use telematic insight to identify which forklift(s) or operator(s) is performing poorly or recklessly. The right software can identify exactly where this is occurring, the frequency, and what you could do to address it. 

Ask yourself this:

  • Are your drivers using trucks they are not trained to operate?
  • Are safety checklists completed successfully?
  • Are there notable patterns in the impacts or near-misses occurring? Who was driving, where, and why did it happen?
  • Does it take some operators longer than others to complete certain tasks?

Some telematic platforms provide answers to these questions very easily, on one screen, letting you quickly identify the root cause and an efficient solution.

Step 2: Look at incidents of excessive idle time because of traffic delays, accidents, and near-misses with forklifts. Use real-time monitoring to determine if this is a reoccurring issue at certain locations or with certain operators, and then determine if fleet routing is allowing for optimal movement.

Ask yourself this:

  • Who or what is causing notable traffic issues?
  • Is visibility, narrow aisles, or inventory placement increasing idle time?

Step 3: Determine why orders are not filled on time or delays occur.

Ask yourself this:

  • Which vehicles are locked out due to maintenance issues or impact?
  • Are vehicle repairs completed in a timely manner?
  • Does excessive idle time occur with certain operators?
  • Is time lost searching for inventory?
  • Is inventory moved more than it needs to be?

There are numerous costs associated with downtime and delays, so your maintenance strategy should be monitored. Forklift monitoring and inventory tracking can eliminate time wasted searching for misplaced pallets by linking forklift movement with data on the pallets. 

These fundamental steps will require insight from real-time data to effectively determine the best preventative action. Based on this insight, adjustments can be made to fix the underlying cause of common problems, like operator behavior, lost inventory, or a maintenance issue, just for example. 

Telematics software can quickly reveal when your most common problems are forming, as well as where — and why — they are happening. This creates an opportunity for a solution to be deployed and common trouble spots eliminated.

Topics: forklift impacts, Routing checklists, safety improvements, value driven strategies, cost reduction, root cause, limit risks, accident reporting