Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

The Three Big Reasons for Sluggish Warehouse Productivity

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on Nov 20, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Idle time is a common reason for sluggish warehouse productivity. But it includes more than just your forklifts, which is what managers typically think of when they hear the words “idle time.”  snail-189917_640

Slow productivity may be caused by operators who take longer than required to complete tasks or managers who lack information to direct operators into proactive action. Instead, managers react to the next challenge rather than thinking through ways to avoid it.

Here are 3 ways idle time can impact your warehouse productivity

1. Forklifts

When forklifts sit idle, it slows productivity and costs the business in fuel or battery life as well as labor costs. You are paying an operator to sit and wait, and batteries only last about 1,500 charge cycles, approximately five years of service. A chunk of that five years should not be wasted in unproductive idle time.

Examine why forklift idle time occurs and determine how to reduce it. For example, the design of your warehouse may cause idle time. Good visibility results in fewer accidents and smoother movement of lift trucks. Identify and address traffic issues, like narrow aisles, poor lighting, and intersections with pedestrians and material-handling equipment.

“Time is money.” ~  Benjamin Franklin

2. Operators

Aisle traffic isn’t the only reason an operator has idle time. It may be an unscheduled break. Monitoring operator behavior and task execution fosters improved driver behavior and accountability. Drivers who know they are being monitored are automatically less likely to make poor choices or take unscheduled breaks.

Telematic monitoring lets managers see when drivers are sitting idle, so the reason for that idle time can be determined and addressed.

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

3. Planning and preventative action

It’s challenging for managers to find time to decipher complicated data and take preventative action to address potential problems. But if managers fail to plan or take preventive measures, productivity suffers.

Telematics systems deliver data wirelessly to the server software where advanced reporting and analytics tools do the work for you. Managers have access to user-friendly data, broken down into actionable information that facilitates preventative action.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

The more data insight you have, the easier it is to identify and address sluggish productivity in your facility. Having the right data from advanced telematics at your fingertips can simplify the process, helping you instantly identify areas where time and productivity is lost.

Topics: forklift operators, operator behavior, safety versus productivity, value driven strategies, connected warehouse solutions

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