Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Loss Avoidance Basics for a Warehouse or Distribution Center

Posted by Thelma Marshall on May 28, 2019 4:00:00 AM

There are four common issues that deeply impact a warehouse or distribution center’s bottom line. The question is, how smart is your facility when it comes to identifying these problems and executing a loss-avoidance solution? calculation-1889005_640

Here are four basic things that may be feeding your waste stream and costing revenue.

1. Failure to maintain forklifts

This seems obvious, yet many facilities let maintenance get sidelined because of increased demand to get product out the door. But this will cost you.

Look at it this way, multi-shift class I and II forklifts cost an estimated $20,000 to maintain and operate annually. Class III forklifts cost just under $13,000 per year.  They are an investment, so a smart facility will leverage a telematics platform that can identify any issues that threaten to increase forklift downtime.

The platform helps ensure preventative maintenance is completed and that mandatory safety checklists are completed, identifying maintenance issues at the beginning of each shift. Overall, telematic monitoring can cut maintenance costs and increase productivity by 3% to 5%.

2. Failure to correctly charge and care for batteries

Forklift batteries cost between $2,000 and $6,000, depending on specs and size. So, how well your enterprise cares for its forklift batteries affects profitability. Like the forklifts they fuel, batteries require specific scheduled maintenance to ensure safety and a long lifecycle.  

A smart facility knows that telematic battery monitoring can be instrumental in reducing expenses and getting top performance out of this investment. It can be used to monitor critical battery status (e.g., state of charge, voltage, temperature, amperage) while powering a forklift, delivering real-time information about each battery’s discharge.

The rule of thumb is to charge a forklift's battery once it falls below 30% charge, and make certain it gets fully charged to 100 percent.

3. Failure to identify and address reckless or poor driver behavior and mishaps

Smart facilities use monitoring to identify forklift operators’ skill level, habits (good and bad), and ideal routing paths within the facility. Fact is, driver error may be costing you. Using the right telematics platform could save 20% or more in maintenance and repair cost reductions. 

4. Failure to right-size the fleet


Right-sizing your warehouse fleet can cut the cost significantly, by reducing the number of lift-trucks in operation to reducing the number of drivers on payroll. But, it’s important that right-sizing your fleet is done based upon the evaluation of facts, not guesses or gut instinct.  

It is a costly error to assume your fleet is operating at full capacity. In fact, there's a 50% chance that it is not. Smart facilities monitor for ways to get more done with fewer trucks. Fleet management software provides the data, determining exactly how many vehicles are under-performing. 

Forklift trucks and drivers account for 80 percent of operating expenses. Having software that delivers real-time visibility  into the movement and performance of your fleet, your operators, and ongoing maintenance protocol is a highly effective loss-avoidance strategy.

Topics: injuries, warehousing industry incidents & violations, Lean 5S, value driven strategies, waste stream reduction, lean, cost reduction, limit risks, lockout/tagout function