Posted by Thelma Marshall, VP of Solutions, September 29, 2020.

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Now more than ever, your business needs to implement changes to boost efficiency and productivity. Time and budgets are tight, and with staffing shortages and COVID restrictions, it is daunting to think about one more challenge. But it pays to tackle the task, look at the data and determining what needs to be done differently.

There are a handful of key factors that impact a facility’s productivity and effeciency. How a business takes care of, and manages, its staff and equipment can play a huge role in cost reduction and output.

This is the time to take a look at your software system and how well it assists you in determining where improvements are possible and how to best achieve them.

It may be easier than your think. Here are five areas to focus on that will deliver measurable results.

Right sizing your fleet

Assume your fleet is working at capacity? Think again. Given the cost of lift-truck ownership, you need fact-based insights to right-size your fleet and reduce costs.

Instructions to right-sizing a fleet is within the fleet-monitoring data. It helps determine the correct number of lift-trucks required in a facility and determines where downsizing could reduce fleet operational costs. 

Look at things like idle time, if there is the right mix of trucks, and if of all of the trucks in operation are truly needed. Sometimes the solution may be as simple as changing routing or driver assignments to improve the utilization of forklifts on the floor. 

Cutting battery waste

Fleet batteries are one of the biggest expenses in your warehouse operation after labor costs. But there are proven strategies that could help each unit last longer and perform stronger. 

This includes the use of correct charging practices, like avoiding opportunity charging where the battery is charged based on convenience rather than protocol. Batteries should also not be partially charged and then put into action. For an optimum lifespan and run time, they must get fully recharged daily. 

It also reports on regular monthly cleaning to prevent corrosion, voltage tracking, and faster self-discharge, and proper care of water levels.

Using battery-monitoring technology can ensure adjustments are made to improve battery lifespan because you will see in real time a battery’s discharge, temperature, voltage and amperage. 

Reducing labor costs

One of the largest expenses in a typical warehouse is labor costs, accounting for as much as 50% of total operating expenses. Merging labor data with a warehouse management system can reduce labor expenses by up to 30 percent.

Partnering this information shows what is off target with workers and how it directly impacts productivity on the warehouse floor and labor costs.

Improving forklift maintenance

Cutting maintenance to save money will cost you more in the long run. Forklifts have

specific mechanical conditions or design features that increase the risk for forklift accidents and breakdowns especially without proper maintenance.

There are numerous costs associated with forklift downtime and inefficiency, so you should establish — and monitor — a maintenance strategy to prevent breakdowns and decreased productivity.  Overall, telematic monitoring can cut maintenance costs and increase productivity by 3% to 5%.

Avoiding losses

Driver error is one of the major causes of rising maintenance costs and loss of productivity. Use your software system for at-a-glance internal risk assessments, driver scoring, and feedback that helps everyone avoid complacency and costly mistakes.

Monitor each driver’s habits and where more training is needed to help prevent risky driving habits from forming and improve the skill level of operators.

The use of advanced telematics can help boost efficiency and productivity, reducing costly mistakes and wasted time.

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