Having a business that deals with a lot of physical inventory is often very challenging. You have to think about things such as storage, transportation, shipping rights, and many other things that take time and effort. This is why many managers often forget about one simple fact – you have to think about transportation into your own storage premises, too.
The most widespread device for dealing with that is the forklift. A simple, yet practical machine, that increases in numbers with the increasing capacity of the storage. It requires a lot of attention when it comes to general costs; such as operators that drive them, materials needed for maintenance, and many other trivial things. This is why it is important to find ways to manage the forklift fleet efficiently, by finding the right ways for coordination, supply and rearrangement. Here are some tips in that regard that will allow you to improve the efficiency of your forklift fleet.
Think about performance
A great way to do that is to try and measure the output in some way – most people prefer by pallets or items as a whole, moved per hour. After that make a schedule for the different days – how many items you have to move that day, how far they are from transportation, how fast are the forklifts going. Then find the optimum way to make the schedule for the given period. For the different amounts of items, you will need a different number of forklifts, fuel, and people to maintain them and so on.
Think about maintenance
When you are negotiating with your supplier, try to sign a contract with a full-maintenance clause. There are two versions – either the maintenance will be free and performed each month, or the dealer will do maintenance checks and updates for a monthly fee. Either way, ensure that all the machines are in proper working condition, because all the plans you have done can be turned into turmoil if there are problems with the machines. Not only that, but by making a tighter relationship with your supplier, you can increase the quality of your machines. Don’t be afraid to sign for the long term, if it is a big and respected company, as this can bring a lot of leverage in the negotiations.
As in any other area nowadays, software plays a big role in fleet management. Having information is always the most important thing for planning. When planning about software, focus on tracking costs and invest in software that will envelop all your locations and will give you the control of each storage place you manage. This will allow you to identify key features, such as where are the highest costs, why is this so, are there problems with the machines’ performance and many other things. Based on that you will be able to form the right solutions and to react quickly to any changes in the schedule, as all you will need is going to be put on one monitor in front of you.
Think about employees
Here it is best to take ideas from successful organizations in the business. Analyze their training programs and take the best features. Of course, it is good to modify them for your specific needs, but it is always good to check what the competition is doing. As the people you train are going to be the hands behind the wheel, don’t undermine the importance of the training courses. This includes also safety programs and contingency plans – be sure to introduce the employees with the specific conditions in your company and in the storage rooms, so that surprises are brought to the minimum. By training your employees well, you will also ensure that the machines are looked after with care and proper expertise, which will reduce costs for maintenance and spare parts, apart from increased performance and more satisfaction.
Last but not least – don’t be afraid of innovation. Always monitor the market and your competitors for new ideas and see if they can help your specific needs. Of course, it is always good to encourage innovation in your own midst as well – listen to your employees. It will improve your relationship with them, their satisfaction, and productivity – it will reveal the path to finding the best working conditions.
This article is written by Richard Harry, with the assistance of medleycompany.com- forklift fleet management company. He describes here How to manage forklift fleet efficiently.