Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Telematics and Fleet Maintenance = The Perfect Marriage

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on Feb 18, 2016 4:00:00 AM

marriage.jpgGuesswork has no place in a modern warehouse or distribution environment. Even a regular maintenance schedule for your fleet does not really cut it. As responsible as it may seem to service every vehicle according to a pre-set plan, you may be overdoing it or not doing enough since you have no way of knowing exactly how much work each forklift performed during that particular period.

The key is basing maintenance upon real as opposed to “timed” need. In other words, a vehicle would be serviced by usage. This is where predictive maintenance comes in. And in order to leverage predictive maintenance, you need the right telematics solution.

Telematics will not only tell you when it’s time to service your fleet. By tracking each vehicle throughout the warehouse, relaying information on impacts in real time, and monitoring the performance of individual drivers, you also gain insights that will help you optimize fleet utilization – and, as a result, lower your fleet maintenance costs.

Let’s look at what the deployment of telematics can accomplish in greater detail:

  • Fleet insight and utilization:
    • Reduces time and effort to find vehicles in the facility.
    • Paves way for easy overview of the exact location of all vehicles in the operation.
    • Provides visibility of high-traffic areas.
    • Pinpoints how much time each vehicle spends active with load.
    • Lays groundwork for right-sizing the fleet.
  • Real-time impact detection:
    • Facilitates immediate corrective action.
    • Fosters driver accountability.
    • Identifies at-risk drivers and impact-prone locations.
    • Lowers overall maintenance costs as a result of a reduction in impacts.
  • Speed monitoring/control:
    • Improves driver awareness and behavior.
    • Reduces damages thus lowering overall maintenance costs.
    • Reveals vehicle and operator zone and rule violations.
  • Predictive fleet maintenance:
    • Reduces downtime and costs.
    • Ensures optimal performance of entire fleet.

 To zero in further, take a look at the data points that need to be collected to trigger a PM occurrence:

  • Distance traveled with or without pallets.
  • The number of pallets lifted – and ideally how high they were lifted.
  • Other tasks the pallet performed (as a picking device)
  • Battery monitoring detail – charges, temperature, state of charge, presently and over time.

Many of these factors depend on the location of the forklift in the warehouse (think distance traveled, for example). It is worth noting TotalTrax brings unparalleled accuracy and granularity down to as little as 1 foot compared to the current market best of 25 to 30 feet.

By using exception-based management and self-service ideas, TotalTrax provides a single pane of glass, a web-based screen that is the sole interface within our SX200 system. The intuitive screen with its color-coded dials enables maintenance personnel to quickly understand and take action on issues that arise whether it is a safety checklist failure or the battery charge.

Proactive battery maintenance, in turn, leads to reduced maintenance costs and longer battery life as you, the customer, can monitor and analyze data on SOC, amperage, temperature, voltage, and recharge. That data analysis can then help you determine, for instance, which trucks are causing amperage overloads and what operators are topping off.  

In summary, if you want to establish an effective fleet maintenance program, you need telematics on your side.

Topics: warehouse technology, maintenance tracking, predictive maintenance