Posted by Thelma Marshall Director, Product, Jan. 30, 2020

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Your warehouse or distribution center probably operates with a mixed fleet of vehicles with their own system that speaks a specific language. What kind of obstacles does this create in your facility when an error code occurs and quick action is required?

Forklifts from different manufacturers communicate warnings and errors in different codes, so understanding these communications quickly and acting upon the warnings requires above average interpretation skills.  An easy solution is to intergrade a software platform that can understand all of your vehicles OEM messages for you, and improve fleet management at the same time.

The OEM challenge

In the past, the confines of fleet vehicle system requirements could not be managed by outside software. And the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) system in a vehicle could only provide fault code data for its specific truck — NOT for those made by another manufacturer.

But today you can bridge the language barrier with your telematics software platform. Software advances allow for one cohesive system that is capable of speaking the code language all of your fleet vehicles.

This solution means:

Managers no longer have to sort through several different data sources from different forklifts, trying to interpret the information effectively.

An entire fleet of vehicles with different OEM systems can be connected through an advanced telematics solution that encompasses all vehicles in the fleet, providing easy access to information.

Is advanced software difficult to use?

With the right advanced telematics platform, data is available on a single viewing portal. Only one API is required to push data into your business system, which increases efficiency. But, a third-party telematics provider can obtain a lot of the fault code data without access to the CAN bus. This lowers the cost of ownership of a mixed fleet, delivering an average of 50 to 90 percent reduction in damage costs and increases in productivity. 

Other benefits to the fleet

If you want to improve fleet management and maintenance in your warehouse, upgrading to an advanced software platform is the first step.

Here’s why.

Vehicle down time is the enemy of productivity and profits. Telematic software can monitor if preventive maintenance is regularly completed, and quickly respond to sudden repair and maintenance needs.

Communication about vehicle maintenance and lock out/tag out occurs seamlessly, keeping workers informed and safe from using dangerous equipment. With this feature, the lift truck won’t operate while in lock out, and everyone is kept informed about the vehicle’s current status.

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 fleets

As many as 80 to 90 percent of warehouses have mixed fleets. In other words, they are not made by a single, but rather two or more manufacturers. By leveraging a telematics solution from a third party, you have monitoring software that is non-specific to each OEM and works on all of your lift-trucks.

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