Warehouse management tools are experiencing a value-driven evolution. More and more companies are moving beyond a warehouse management system (WMS) and labor management system (LMS) to optimize the quality, speed, and value of data collected. Telematics is helping to achieve this next step with some impressive results.
One example, cited in Inbound Logistics, was of a national service provider that implemented telematics to reduce driver risk and cut fuel consumption. The results were that fuel expense dropped by almost $3 million over the following 12 months, and there was an 8 percent reduction in driver accidents.
In another case, a specialty chemical company had escalating repair costs because of forklift impacts. In order to monitor impact detection and access control, the company installed the TotalTrax EquipManager and EquipCommand monitoring system. Six months later, the number of impacts was reduced by 73 percent, while maintenance costs decreased by $32K.
Let’s examine what telematics can do versus your typical WMS.
Warehouse management systems versus telematics
Compare and contrast what a WMS can do versus telematics — in terms of fast, accurate, detailed analysis.
WMS records and maintains information on:
- Inventory levels and location
- Inventory — receiving and shipping
- Transactions and inventory moves (picks/puts, pallet moves)
- Orders picked, shipped
- Transactions by operator — including quantity and transaction records; but the operator’s keying or scanning to record transactions by the WMS may not be accurate or record at the actual time the event occurred
- Operator login/logout times
Telematics improves insight because it:
- Facilitates scalable improvement plans and improved driver behavior, which is key for return on investment (ROI) and productivity. For example, TotalTrax SX/VX goes beyond the WMS by measuring forklift travel times, load on/off times, idle times, and job tracking.
- Increases fuel savings through by real-time, efficient vehicle tracking and insights to optimize fleet routing
- Targets upcoming maintenance or repairs before they occur, cutting downtime and repair costs through proactive — rather than reactive — measures. Smart fleet data analyzes maintenance costs to show where changes are needed.
- Allows you to set a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. The platform essentially measures transactions, productivity, and utilization within the perimeter that the WMS can’t see.
- Records employees’ activity data, and reports on productivity levels and driver safety
- Calculates the cost of labor per customer order through job-tracking data — linking vehicle and activity management data to what is going on elsewhere within the business
- Captures event/impact data to provide insight into cost of damage and downtime due to lock out/tag out time
- Provides an equipment monitoring device, which eliminates visibility gaps and provides insights to right-size your fleet
A high-level WMS can record and maintain basic information, but it relies on operators inputting data accurately and in a timely manner. Implementing the right telematics platform can take warehouse management to the next level — cutting operating costs and improving safety measures while boosting productivity.