Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Fleet Management Software Optimizes Forklift Routing

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Jun 19, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Sometimes the shortest path is not the optimal one to take. At quick glance it may not be obvious, but the path of least resistance is often a much safer and faster option when it comes to smart forklift routing. And fleet management software can determine which paths are risky.traffic-lights-193658_640

Routing is either good or bad. It can either save money and frustration, or it can cost you. How is poor routing costing your enterprise? Here are just a few possibilities:

  • Routing a vehicle through a congested area in the warehouse or too close to pedestrians increases the risk of accidents and impacts — as well as lost time and productivity.
  • Dealing with congested aisles or obstacles can amp up driver frustration (which may incite speeding and poor decision-making).
  • Time spent idle and waiting for a path to clear from other traffic increases fuel use or wastes battery life. This adds up to lost revenue, patience, and safety.

How can you determine whether you have the fastest and safest route for product movement? Think like an air traffic controller — it is like a game of high-stakes choreography. Traffic controllers use real-time technology to guide them and so should you.

This is where telematic fleet monitoring and historical data can help determine the shortest path with the least resistance.

How to use historic data in your routing plans

There are probably areas in your warehouse that have a history of impacts. Identify them.

Some rows or areas may be prone to more accidents due to visual limitations or turns/corners, for example. Historical data on impacts or lost inventory might have you labeling this area the Bermuda Triangle of your warehouse. Smart routing means identifying and avoiding such known areas that seem to facilitate incidents and accidents.

Use telematic vehicle monitoring to improve routing

Are all available trucks being put to their best use? Is the path they take near pedestrians? Optimized routing requires knowing when and where all fleet vehicles are being used, if some are only doing half the job of others, and if this path presents obstacles that increases risk and slows down movement.

  • Right-sizing your fleet often means you able to reduce the number of lift-trucks it takes to get a job done.
  • Routing a vehicle through a congested aisle in the warehouse or near pedestrians (even if it is the shortest path) increases the risk of injuries and the time required to move product safely through the traffic.
  • Not all drivers are created equal. Take a close look at driver behavior, advanced training and operating habits, and note when there are certain drivers better suited to certain tasks and routing challenges. It’s essential to know how to assign your most skilled operators to leverage their training to your advantage.

Use telematic insight to quickly determine the quickest path with the least risk or traffic resistance. Plan like an air traffic controller does. Knowing where your biggest routing challenges occur and addressing them will save valuable time, money, injuries and potential damage to inventory.

Topics: safety improvements, historical data, safety versus productivity, limit risks, forklift operators, accident reporting

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