Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Why knowing exact forklift location paves way for productive change

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on May 5, 2016 4:00:00 AM

location.jpgIn the first installment on this topic, we discussed the definition and the variety of applications of “location” in the warehouse.

Today, we will explore how knowing the finite location of your Material Handling Vehicle (MHV) adds capabilities that, in turn, yield new analytic insights for you to act upon.

For years, the state of the art has been reactive in nature. You may have grown accustomed to waiting for alerts on impacts, checklist failures, or other non-conformances. The telematics system with its multitude of sensors has essentially told you about “bad things” or warnings that occurred in the last few minutes and it likely has produced cumulative reports on what happened in the past day, week, or month.

In a few cases, this could be done using present location technology. This technology uses signal strength measurement of WiFi access points and triangulating to locate the MHV in the warehouse. However, it does not pinpoint the exact location. Rather, the relative location accuracy is within a circle of 25 to 30 feet in circumference. So if you simply need to you what side or department your MHV is located, you are set.

But imagine if you could locate down to the foot level – and the possibilities that such detailed knowledge open up. All of a sudden the ability to use the existing features with location, and some new ones created by more precise location, presents opportunities for productive change:

  • Impact monitoring and prevention: Knowing precisely where and when an impact and associated warnings occurmeans you can take action to change routing, driver behavior, and other factors to avoid future impacts. The impacts can be accumulated and displayed in a scatter diagram within your warehouse.
  • MHV power resets: Likewise, if you see a pattern of repeated MHV power resets within a warehouse – again, represented in a location scatter diagram – it potentially tells a story of an operator or MHV issue you were not aware of. With your newfound knowledge, you can address the root cause of the resets.
  • Location details: How accurately does your Warehouse Management System (WMS) really reflect the actual time, duration, and location of inventory transactions? You may have achieved perfect inventory accuracy but what price did you pay in terms of time spent completing each task? With exact location information, you will know the pallet put down and pickup location by row/by – information that is extremely valuable to the WMS or labor Management System (LMS).
  • Forklift real-time location: If you equipped a WMS with the exact location of all forklifts, you can probably imagine how immensely more accurate interleaving and general tasking would become.
  • Geo-fencing: When you know the exact location of each forklift, you can effectively use geo-fencing in zones where you want forklifts to slow down or not be allowed such as pedestrian walkways and picking zones.

The list goes on. There are a number of other practical applications that precise location enables in the new world of predictive analytics. Please let us know how we can help you take advantage of the full scope of benefits of new location technology.





Topics: real-time visibility, forklift tracking, locationing