Businesses are constantly looking to do more with less. When operations are looking for a solution, they should perfect their fleet management strategy. Better observation and usage of data will increase efficiency and productivity, while cost of equipment ownership and maintenance costs will be lower. When businesses invest in pricey equipment, they expect to be getting the highest return on the equipment. Proper fleet management will give them control of how to prolong equipment’s life cycle and other significant cost savings.
Questions to Ask
When revising how your fleet is managed, there are several questions to ask. These questions give operators a better understanding of how the equipment is being used and what changes should be made to the fleet.
- Is the correct forklift or equipment being used?
- Do you have the correct number of forklifts?
- Is the forklift being operated properly and safely?
- Why is downtime occurring?
- Does the forklift need maintenance or need to be replaced?
What is a Vehicle Management System?
When managing a forklift fleet, it can be difficult to answer tough questions and make improvements with limited information. A Vehicle Management System can take the guesswork out of compiling data and how to use that data. Vehicle Management Systems, also known as VMS, help operations worker smarter, do more for less, and keep expenses predictable or lower. It provides key performance indicators that help determine strategic decisions regarding forklift fleets.
The Benefits of a Vehicle Management System:
- Lowering Labor Costs
The technology used in a VMS tracks the movements of the forklift to give you a better understanding of how often the machine is used. Comparing the forklift operator’s shift time, the required operation time, the time the forklift was in motion, and the operating with a load time can give the true production time. With this, businesses are able to redefine labor. Overtime costs and temporary employees could decrease, and productivity of those operating the trucks would increase with the right motivation and direction.
- Reducing Fleet Size
If you’re ever questioning the number of forklifts in your fleet, a VMS can determine the appropriate amount of trucks to have. Before deciding to acquire more forklifts, rely on the information about utilization and productivity trends. The system allows you to define and reallocate equipment, so everything is utilized and productive. It even explains when peak periods are, so you will be aware of when to acquire more forklifts.
- Reducing Maintenance Costs
With its planned or unplanned, maintenance on a forklift is essential. A VMS provides two ways to keep maintenance costs under control. First, planned maintenance is determined by motion hours. If it was under operating hours, the maintenance may be done too early with unneeded downtime. Second, forklifts are constantly inspected, daily and prior to use.
- Accentuating Safety
With OSHA compliance being a priority, businesses are able to apply the VMS to create a plan of health and safety. A VMS can include impact sensors, so alerts are sent when potential incidents occurs. Most systems offer daily safety inspection checklists to be stored on the cloud to prevent the unorganized chaos of paper checklists. While the system also increases operator accountability, it encourages a culture of safety and reduces the likelihood of an OSHA violation.
- Reducing Damage
With better awareness to safety, a VMS can also decrease the amount of damage done to the working environment and equipment. The impact sensors warn users when incidents occur and when there is a pattern of accidents. The carelessness of operators is significantly reduced when supervisors have access to their driving behavior. In some VMS’s, supervisors can customize impact severity alerts with automatic emails, text messages, or automatic forklift shutdowns. Speed limitations can also be added. The accountability of this tool can create a foundation for decreasing damage for the goal of increasing safety.
- Increasing Productivity
VMS’s provide data about the work performed, so productivity can be analyzed and improved. They are able to compare weekly production levels to give more accurate forecasts and identify areas in need of improvement and correction. They also reduce maintenance costs and downtime by identifying problems before they require major service. They also offer a tracking service, so forklift operators spend less time looking for a truck and reduce the risk of theft. This GPS also tracks the operation of the forklift, so it can suggest better operational procedures.