Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

3 Steps to Optimize Forklift Operators’ Time and Skills

Posted by Thelma Marshall on May 29, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Does skill set, training, and work ethic play a role in how forklift operators get assigned a job or task? It should. Each has a different personality and a set of skills they bring to the table, so if it isn’t factored in at your facility, it’s probably costing you. game-characters-1744225_640

While right-sizing your fleet can cut the costs of operating several unnecessary lift-trucks, optimizing the drivers based on their level of skill and stand-out abilities can play a big role in improving efficiency.

This simply means that how each driver performs and their strengths should play a role in your decisions as you schedule job assignments. To do this you have to know your drivers, and your knowledge must be based on facts —  truthfully identifying exactly which operators will be best for the tasks at hand.

How to know a forklift operator’s abilities

Telematic monitoring of your fleet can include a handy tool called operator report cards, which identify areas where a driver may excel, as well as where challenges lie.

With that insight at your fingertips, it is easy to determine if an assignment is well suited to an operator or not. Some of your best operators can be under-utilized, so it is important to determine how to make the most of every minute they are clocked in.

Telematic operator report cards identify:

  • Skills each operator possesses and if they are basic or high-level skills
  • Challenges or skill deficits that hold the greatest potential for mishaps or delays
  • Operators that handle time-crunches the best
  • Drivers that always make the most efficient use of time, getting a task done quickly and without compromising safety

3 steps to identify and optimize forklift operator performance

  1. Look at each driver’s safety record while on the job, including recent impacts, near-misses, speed and completion of safety checklists. Those with less-than-stellar results should be assigned tasks of least importance and risk and be tagged for more driver training.
  2. Identify drivers who had the most productive activity, and the least idle time, and assign them to the most pressing tasks first. Operator performance and behavior can be monitored with telematics, so this is easily accessible. Operator report cards even let you compare one operator’s performance to other operators.
  3. Give assignments based upon skill. As you review driver performance, note when individuals excelled in difficult circumstances or tight schedules. Maybe routing obstacles arose for certain drivers, yet safety was not compromised, and tasks were completed on time.

Real-time visibility into the movement and performance of your operators and your fleet facilitates better scheduling and skill optimization. With the telematic monitoring and data, you can begin to make targeted changes to how drivers are assigned to a task and optimize everyone’s time on the job.

Topics: continuous improvement, warehouse management, teamwork, safety training, operator behavior, root cause, forklift operators

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