Aisle conditions, traffic, and inventory on the warehouse floor are ever-changing, so those stagnant warehouse routing plans should change as well. There are some basic strategies to stay one step ahead of the issues that potentially can slow down your fleet or increase the risk of impacts.
Begin by looking at the real-time movement of your fleet, current inventory and orders, and the actions required of all employees on the floor. It’s vital to understand how each moving part of your organization has the potential to impact others.
The goal is to remove the guesswork from your routing, basing the plan on facts to quickly determine the path of least resistance and risk. But, to fine-tune routing plans you need to know where and why routing challenges are most likely to occur.
Warehouse traffic management checklists are a basic tool to help identify and hopefully avoid the root cause of problems that impact smooth movement of your fleet and jeopardize employee safety.
Create a checklist
Start with gaining information from the people who know what the current routing problems are — your employees. Ask them for honest input to improve traffic management. Are you hearing common responses, such as an area where near-misses are occurring or traffic is often slowed?
Next, turn to your telematics platform to:
- Pinpoint the precise location of every fleet vehicle and then take time to monitor movement. Advanced locationing technology can show you patterns and predict traffic and operator behavior before issues occur.
- Deploy a module that offers GeoRules, which means you can create regulations governing vehicle and operator behavior within predefined areas.
- Set speed limits within specified areas and enforce them with telematics, mapping zones to establish and monitor compliance and access for operators and vehicles.
- Use telematic locationing capabilitiesthat are “context aware,” with locationing down to the square-inch for optimal routing through narrow aisles and to find the shortest path or a path with less congestion.
- Use configurable historical mapping of events (perhaps events are always happening at a specific location) to help determine where routing plans should be revised.
Consider changes to warehouse configuration
Sometimes the insight you gain from your checklist will help you clearly identify problems with the layout and signage on your warehouse floor.
For example, routing forklifts through congested areas of a warehouse or too close to pedestrians increases the risk of accidents and injuries, and it can significantly slow down productivity.
Sometimes, more defined separation of pedestrians and lift-truck traffic is the solution. It could be as simple as designating a separate area for equipment parking or as a recharge area with bollards or safety railings.
Why change routing?
Seven out of 10 forklift accidents are preventable with proper insight and action. Making changes to improve forklift routing will increase the ease and speed of inventory movement in your facility. This is most easily achieved through a fact-based routing checklist that considers both real-time telematic insight combined with valuable input from employees on the warehouse floor.