Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

2017: A Year of LEAN Thinking for Warehouse & Manufacturing

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on Jan 4, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Many warehouse and manufacturing enterprises began 2017 striving to create measurable improvement in organization and product flow and to increase their ability to meet the demands of customers. LEAN initiatives were often part of this process, and telematic data facilitated a clear path to achieving these goals. But there were challenges. warehouse plan.jpg

Obstacles were plentiful in 2017 — from severe weather impacting shipment schedules and anticipating customer demand to controlling the flow of product within the facility and managing the flow of information throughout the supply chain.

Many businesses deployed advanced telematics to help achieve better control, as managers strived to keep up with more big data and a growing global economy.

The right software platform was key to:

  • Quickly meeting the demand of a growing customer base and custom orders (pick-and-choose orders)
  • Anticipating customer demand to ensure stock was readily available
  • Transparency and the ability to track inventory from the time it arrived at the warehouse to the time it reached its destination
  • Proper maintenance of forklifts, equipment, and the facility to protect assets and goods

2017’s challenges included:

  • Poor layout and routing of forklifts created idle time and wasted minutes moving an order from point A to point B; traffic issues on the warehouse or manufacturing floor; and near-misses or accidents
  • Ineffective placement of fast-moving product created delays in order fulfilment
  • Ineffective processes and lost or misplaced inventory when tracking was not in place
  • Unanticipated delays or slow periods in the supply chain where orders could not be filled because product was not restocked yet

A year of solutions and goals

Many warehousing facilities spent 2017 working toward a 5S workplace organizational methodology. The goal was to create a 5S system with data from advanced telematics to facilitate continuous improvement or leaner manufacturing processes.

Fact is, the right data from advanced telematics at your fingertips simplifies the process, helping you to instantly identify areas of risk or where value is lost.

For example:

Operator and truck usage 

Provides insight on operator and vehicle utilization, resulting in right-sizing the fleet and the better scheduling of operators.

Advanced location

Analysis determines better warehouse traffic patterns, reduces pedestrian injuries, and facilitates more productive work schedules. Managers learn real-time vehicle location with proximity to product.

Battery monitoring

Battery monitoring analyzes the health of batteries, the state of charge, opportunity charging, fluid levels, and temperature.

Impact data

Records impact information combined with advanced location and determines where impacts happen historically. Root cause can be determined to avoid future damage and injuries.

Monitoring and checklists

Forklift monitoring alerts managers to equipment issues, repairs, or required maintenance before they pose any risk. Required safety checklists must be completed before forklifts will operate.

In 2017, advances in telematics allowed more companies to implement leaner work processes, cut costs and improve efficiency. Advanced telematics quickly analyzed all warehouse conditions to deliver real-time answers and solutions.

Topics: lean, Lean 5S, connected warehouse solutions, Change management, manufacturing, cost reduction, best practices

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