Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Evaluating Your Warehouse Operation – Planning for a LEAN 2019

Posted by Brian Quigley, Director of Client Services on Nov 13, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Most warehouse, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities start each year with a set of goals for improvement. Managers review challenges and achievements and then look for new ways to cut costs and streamline operations.  pdsabasic

Often these goals are similar to those set last year. They may focus on achieving measurable improvement in organization and product flow, or improving speed and accuracy in customer order fulfillment. These LEAN initiatives continue to evolve because customer demands, expectations, and competition is always increasing.

Ready to evaluate your operation? Here’s how.

It pays to take a step back and evaluate the successes and challenges of 2018. Identifying strengths and weakness lets you create a LEAN plan for the coming year and better address the specific areas of your business that need improvement. Here are three pieces of information to review as you plan for 2019:

Impacts and injuries that cost money

What was the root cause of each incident and how could it have been prevented? Were all operator certifications up to date and in compliance with OSHA training requirements? Is it obvious now that more training was needed?

This may sound time consuming, but your telematic software should provide historical insight about driver behavior, training that was completed, and all incidents in your facility over the past year. You can’t work to prevent a problem unless you identify its underlying cause.


The smooth movement of your fleet is a priority. Were there issues with routing that slowed down productivity? Were there enough operators on the floor to move the inventory and meet demand? Did operators sit idle when they should have been working?

A telematic system with operator report cards and documented vehicle monitoring identifies where movement slowed and why. Telematic insight facilitates a more complete picture of forklift utilization in your facility, including trends and patterns in forklift and operator usage. More specifically, it provides:

  • Improved accountability with less unproductive time
  • Increased drive time and pallet moves per hour
  • Decreased drive distance and drive times with optimized routing
  • Reduced variability between drivers and increased average shift performance
  • Centralized traffic control for mixed flee

Maintenance issues that cost unexpected time and money

Vehicle down time is the enemy of productivity and profits. Telematic software can monitor preventive maintenance so you can determine whether it is regularly completed. It can also help you respond quickly to sudden repair and maintenance needs.

Rising maintenance costs may be caused by poor operator behavior. A recent case study revealed that up to 75 percent of forklift maintenance expenses can be caused by operator error, so improving operator behavior drastically reduces these expenses. For example, track an operator’s performance and productivity using your telematic reports and then address any driver complacency issues, safety infractions, or the need for more training.

It’s easy to evaluate the past year and plan a LEAN strategy for 2019 using insight from a telematics system. It can identify KPI benchmarks that were achieved and show exactly where changes are needed to meet next year’s goals.

Topics: SX/VX Advanced Telematics, process improvement, automatic data capture, data analytics, telematic fleet management, cloud-hosting, warehousing, value driven strategies, connected warehouse solutions, IoT

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