Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

How One Company Reduced Operator Error, Forklift Costs, Impacts & Costly Repairs

Posted by Dick Sorenson on Jan 9, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Take a close look at the costs associated with your company’s forklift maintenance. If that figure is excessive, do you know why? For many enterprises, the reason is operator error.  buried_by_money.jpg

Fact is, your forklift management system may not be providing the preventative knowledge and guidance needed to take control of forklift costs, maintenance and repair issues or to help operators avoid accidents.

Operators need reminders. They need to be retrained and have best practices reinforced on an ongoing basis. A system that provides this support helps prevent operator complacency, a common reason behind operator errors, impacts and associated repairs.

Your forklift management system should:

  • Target operator errors and determine the root cause of incidents
  • Record details on all impacts using the 5W approach, the who, what, where, when and why the impact happened
  • Identify what is slowing productivity or movement within the facility
  • Enforce safety protocol, such as sounding alarms for excessive speed and requiring successful completion of safety checklists for a forklift to operate
  • Identify the best routing for moving product in and out of your facility
  • Monitor operator behavior and certifications

Ok. This sounds ideal. But could changing your forklift management software really make a measurable difference? Yes, it can.

Take, for example, the case study of DW Distribution Inc., a two-step wholesale distributor of building materials and millwork products located in Texas. DW's forklift maintenance costs were excessive at the Desoto branch, and, upon close examination, management determined that 75% of these expenses were caused by operator error.

The company decided that a new forklift maintenance system had to be put to the test. Watch the video:



Fast results from TotalTrax’s forklift management platform

DW Distribution Inc.’s Desoto branch is a 425,000-square-foot campus that stocks an array of millwork products and manufacturer door units. At this facility, 32 material-handling trucks were in operation, and 80 semi-trucks — 40 of them belonging to DW Distribution — came and left daily.

The company chose to install the TotalTrax system in 18 of its forklifts. Results were quickly realized. Within a month the company saw a sizable reduction in impacts and associated costs. Here’s a breakdown:

  • The system reeducated operators to best practices and safety protocol.
  • Within 30 days impacts and repairs had dramatically been reduced.
  • After 3 months goals were reached with a 20% reduction in maintenance costs year over year.
  • The trucks with the TotalTrax software had 20% reduction in maintenance costs, while maintenance costs associated with trucks without the TotalTrax system remained unchanged.
  • The system also identified better routing through entrances and exits in the facility and revealed ways to improve efficiencies.

Given the impressive results from just 18 fleet vehicles equipped with the system, DW ordered the TotalTrax system for the rest of the company’s fleet.

What could a 20% or more reduction in maintenance costs save you? What would ongoing monitoring of driver behavior and training save in impacts, injuries and repairs? Installing the right forklift management system could drastically reduce that expense line of your budget, saving you thousands, or tens of thousands, over the next year.

Topics: Forklift safety, fleet maintenance, human error, forklift impacts, operator behavior, operator report card

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