Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Warehouse Labor Shortage: 4 Steps to Get Inventory Moving on Schedule

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Oct 2, 2018 4:00:00 AM

If your enterprise has periods of unprecedented high-demand, it may be challenging to find enough staff to meet your needs. This forces many businesses to reevaluate how they train and utilize employees to maximize potential output.  customer-1253483_640

Across the supply chain, there is a labor shortage underway, and warehouse and distributions centers are no exception. The question is, what can be done to ensure inventory is moving on schedule?

In response to this shortage, many universities have expanded the curriculum geared specifically to supply chain majors. Vocational high schools are offering hands-on experience by placing students within an actual warehouse environment to better prepare them for entry-level jobs after they graduate.

But what about today? These changes may ease the staffing shortage in the future, but for now, your enterprise probably needs to be more creative about how to improve the utilization of its workforce.

Work smarter and leverage what you have

There are ways everyone in the warehouse can work smarter and get more done in less time. Here are 4 ways you can use telematics to increase output without adding staff:

  1. Reduce idle time with better forklift routing

Sometimes the shortest path is not the optimum one to take. Forklift routing patterns can either save time or cost time. Dealing with congested aisles or obstacles can amplify driver frustration and time spent idle, waiting for a path to clear from other traffic can really add up. Think like an air traffic controller and use real-time technology to determine your forklift routing.

  1. Match employee skill to job assignments

Not all drivers are created equal. Always look at driver behavior, advanced training, and operating habits, and note when certain drivers are better suited to certain tasks or routing challenges. Operator report cards help determine which drivers need additional training or potential labor reallocation. It’s essential to know where to assign the most skilled operators to save time and increase efficiency.

  1. Focus on insights that provide solutions


You don’t just want data, you want a solution. Telematic data detects issues before they become problems and pinpoints steps you can take to address those issues. Instantly, on one screen, you gain fast facts, insight, and direction.


Real-time insight can show you:


  • Activity – movement of your fleet and fleet optimization
  • Impacts – where, when, why, and who was involved
  • Checklists – safety checklists completed successfully
  • Lockout – vehicles that are locked out due to maintenance issues or impacts
  • No Communication – lift trucks that lose contact with wireless communication


  1. Monitor maintenance

Telematic forklift monitoring can identify maintenance issues and inefficiencies. It can ensure forklift repairs are completed at the first sign of a problem, avoiding downtime.

The right platform will easily integrate with your existing SMART systems so you can make necessary changes to boost efficiency for every employee, accomplishing more in less time.


Topics: lean, teamwork, proactive warehouse solutions, routing, fleet right-sizing, inventory tracking, real-time monitoring

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