The majority of warehouse managers in the supply chain, logistics, and material handling industry have yet to take advantage of one of the most effective tools to drive productivity improvements. We are talking about telematics and the ensuing ability to collect thousands of data points and translate them into actionable information.
Whether you’re seeking to right size your fleet, monitor driver activity, boost your safety record, reduce equipment damage, or move more pallets per hour, you need a wealth of detailed data to back up your decisions. Without the right tools to track the movements of your forklifts down to the square inch, you’re figuratively operating in the dark.
- How can you possibly improve routing if you have scanned data gaps between transactions during which time you have no idea what your drivers are doing?
- How can you expect to cut forklift impacts if you are not informed in real time of where it happened, the speed at the time of impact, and the identity of the driver?
- How can you achieve perfect inventory accuracy if you don’t know the whereabouts of every single pallets at all times?
The lack of real-time visibility is indeed the bane of many struggling warehouse operations. As the old adage goes, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. And looks alone are most certainly deceiving. Based on the buzz of activity in your facility, it may appear, for example, like your fleet is being used to its fullest extent. Real-time tracking, however, often reveals that is far from the case. Not only do some managers discover they have more trucks than they realized (yes, we’ve seen it happen), they also learn the fleet may be operating at only 50 percent of capacity.
If you know the precise location of each truck, how long it sits idle, when it’s in motion, and how much time it spends active with load, you can use that information to shift trucks around during busy periods or evaluate whether renting makes more sense during peak seasons.
Or take the example of excessive equipment and facility damage. When you lack a formal system to track the time, place, and cause of impacts, you might be relying on your drivers to report the information. Minor impacts consequently go undetected and the opportunity to make changes before a more serious event occurs is lost. With real-time tracking, you give yourself the opportunity to improve your stats by astounding numbers – and add thousands of dollars to your bottom line. One of our clients, for instance, reduced impacts from more than 1,000 to merely 4.
We can go on and on.
As you weigh the pros and cons of your next investment, keep the following line from a recent Accenture study in mind: “If you expect to surpass competitors in the race to keep up with change in the marketplace, you want analytics on your side.”