Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

If KPIs Are Off Track in Your Warehouse, This May Be Why

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on Jun 26, 2018 4:00:00 AM

You can’t resolve an issue with a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) unless you determine its root cause. Until you do, everything you try will be a Band-Aid fix to the problem. And bandaged improvement efforts rarely succeed in the long term.  Slide2-1

Identifying the basis of a particular problem often isn’t the most popular approach with managers. But a root-cause analysis is crucial in ascertaining how to resolve a KPI issue. 

Here is how to look at a challenge and determine how to fix it at its root. 

Identify the issues

This means knowing what’s going well, and what is going wrong. Your telematics system’s dashboard should compile real-time data from all relevant systems and drill down to exactly what is on target with full traceability. Today’s software issues a report card on all KPIs, available on one screen, with problem areas highlighted and successful areas checked off.  

Digest the data 

It’s not enough to have data; you need to use it. KPIs typically require pulling data together from numerous sources. Often, data exists in silos across the enterprise, and it must be retrieved from multiple systems. Ideally, your software platform will merge seamlessly with all warehouse management systems, providing one-screen access that delivers the insight and answers you need.  

Dig down to the cause

Think about your KPIs serving like instruments that measure barometric pressure or temperature. While it’s interesting to know conditions have changed, it's cruicial to know why and if a storm is imminent. 

Use the 5 Whys, a technique used to analyze within the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology. For example, movement in your facility has slowed, productivity levels have dropped.  

Ask the 5 whys: 

  1. Why have productivity levels dropped?
    – Because two fork lifts are tagged out and cannot be used.
  2. Why are they tagged out?
    – Because one forklift has been experiencing mechanical issues, the other battery issues.
  3. Why are the mechanical and battery issues occurring?
    In one, the battery is not powering correctly, and the other forklift needs a part that wasn’t ordered when the repair issue was first identified.
  4. Why is the battery failing and why wasn’t a part ordered when the repair issue was identified?
    – Because the battery was left uncharged for several days — proper charging has been neglected. The mechanical part wasn’t ordered because the task wasn’t documented as pending.
  5. Why is productivity lower?
    – Because maintenance issues like proper battery charging and care are ignored and there is no system for follow-through in ordering replacement parts for repairs. 

Your telematics platform should quickly identify contributing factors and the root cause of the surface-level KPI problem. The right software can simplify your day and allow time to focus attention on what matters — addressing KPI problems by resolving the root cause.  

Topics: time management, KPIs, continuous improvement, connected warehouse solutions, root cause, accident reporting

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