Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Managing Staff & Forklift Utilization with Increasing Demands

Posted by Brian Quigley, Director of Client Services on Oct 25, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Each year, there is an increased demand to move inventory faster. To do so, warehouses and distribution centers need information that will help optimize staff and forklift utilization. dilbert

This insight can be found in telematic data gathered from SMART trucks, equipment, and the company’s Labor Management System (LMS). The question is, are you using it? Today’s telematics doesn’t just focus on tracking product movement. All the moving parts in your warehouse are connected, so a part of improving efficiency and utilization of your resources lies in identifying how they could work together better.

Warehouse and forklift ocnnectivity generate data on operator performance, forklift utilization, and the status of equipment. If merged with LMS data, it identifies how behaviors, skill level, and poor work habits can have a direct correlation to deficiencies in forklift utilization, traffic management, and productivity.  

Merge data to identify utilization challenges

A comprehensive telematics platform merges data from all three elements that make up a warehouse operation — inventory, people, and hard assets. Today’s software programs share information and create comprehensive insights into your operations.

The benefit is immediate. Telematics identifies where labor and equipment are well-utilized and where they are not. It also predicts what changes are needed as demands increase.

Insight facilitates a more complete picture of forklift utilization in your facility, including trends and patterns in forklift and operator usage. More specifically, it provides:

  • Improved accountability with less unproductive time
  • Increased drive time and pallet moves per hour
  • Decreased drive distance and drive times with optimized routing
  • Reduced variability between drivers and increased average shift performance
  • Centralized traffic control for mixed fleets

How can telematics improve fleet utilization?

When you know the real-time movement of each truck, driver, and load with accuracy, you can target a real productivity killer in your facility — the frequency that materials handling vehicles travel without a load (interleaving).

If you identify interleaving opportunities for empty inbound vehicles to pick up loads, you may discover you have more vehicles than you really need. This allows you to optimize each forklift and operator on the warehouse floor.

The takeaway

One of the largest expenses in a typical warehouse is labor costs, which account for as much as 50% of the facility’s total operating expenses. Fleet vehicles are often the next biggest expense. For example, a $10,000 forklift truck can cost $145,000 a year to operate.

As demands to move product faster and with greater efficiency increase, telematic data can improve utilization of labor and equipment. Real-time insight identifies exactly where time and productivity are lost and what you can do to fix it.


Topics: forklift operators, operator report card, waste stream reduction, expanding business, proactive warehouse management, forklift drivers, job-tracking, telematic fleet management, driver behavior and productivity

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