Friday, January 22, 2016

Vehicle Management Systems

The “new” economy is putting significant pressure on all businesses and management has to do more with less. Job reductions make the headlines, but thinner budgets, productivity pressure and an increased demand for action create just as much havoc as downsizing middle managers and supervisors.
In today’s economic environment, it is more critical than ever to shine a spotlight on your highest cost centers and evaluate readily achievable savings opportunities without sacrificing quality or productivity. Every day your business is paying significant amounts of money to own and operate your forklift fleet. The cost for each truck can be over $250,000 per year – inclusive of operator salaries, benefits, overtime, truck leases, maintenance, damage, and battery/fuel expense. For a 50 vehicle fleet, that multiplies to over $12.5 million per year!
Traditional fleet management solutions, like outsourcing maintenance and parts ordering, help make costs predictable, which is beneficial, but does not necessarily provide a meaningful way of reducing costs in real time. Achieving productivity and cost benefits through the deployment of technology is a well-established concept, but can it be applied to forklift fleet and operations management? Can behaviors and costs that have long been considered just “part of doing business” be changed? The answer is YES!
Common Industry Challenges
Although companies and industries differ, a number of commonalities exist:
Forklift drivers are typically the highest paid hourly employees in the supply chain. When you add in overtime, benefits, incentive pay and temporary staffing, the costs can exceed $70,000 per operator per year. If you run three shifts, that can translate to over $200,000 per year PER forklift.
• Capital costs for purchasing new vehicles is a significant budget line item. There are continual requests for new trucks, but when you walk the floor there always seem to be vehicles not in use.
• Facility damage caused by forklifts can exceed several hundred thousand dollars per year. Typically, it is extremely challenging to identify who caused the damage. Without accountability, it is very difficult to reduce damage in any meaningful way.
• The goal of a distribution center or manufacturing plant is to move material to the right place at the right time, as efficiently as possible. Detailed route, speed, and safety data is generally unavailable without extensive and continuous industrial engineering efforts.

The latest technology to increase efficiency and production while decreasing maintenance costs and overall cost of ownership, without compromising operations is available.
These products are effective for any size fleet and some are more comprehensive, offering solutions for companies with one location for all forklifts, and other companies that share forklifts between locations.  The technology provides real-time, actionable data to those who can make decisions and drive efficiency every day. Management can adapt and respond to a wide range of cost savings opportunities.

You can reduce costs in these areas:
labor cost, fleet size, planned and unplanned maintenance,  forklift damage, and insurance.

These products can be added to existing forklifts or ordered with new forklifts, so you can start realizing the benefits of the vehicle management systems right away.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Have it Your Way!
One of the fast food giants had a campaign slogan that offered a variety of options on your burger, allowing you to build the perfect burger by having it your way.  Forklifts and Fast Food, something in common?  Who would have thought it?
Forklifts have a variety of options that are meant to "customize" the equipment to the specific need for the application. We complete an application survey while visiting customers that helps us match the many options available to bring that "perfect" forklift to their operation.  The options are usually built around performance, cost savings, ergonomics, special attachments, and safety.  Sometimes, we get to have some fun with color options. Here is a recent picture of a customer delivery on new forklifts painted to match the customer need. Talk about the perfect forklift!
Not all option selections are quite so fun, and interesting. The option list is too exhaustive to list here and forklifts do specific functions in specific areas, and need to have specific options to offer the best return on investment. Here are just a few examples;
  • Special height, width, or turning radius.
  • Operation options - mini levers, speed control, hydraulic controls.
  • Attachments - side shifter, fork positioner, lateral clamp, etc.
  • Power - Electric, LPG, Diesel, special rating for hazardous areas.
  • Safety - Lights, Alarms, Impact sensors.
  • Cost savings - fuel, labor, parts, and rental.
When you are looking for the best forklift for your specific application, be sure to take the time to let ACT evaluate the application and offer the right options. You can "Have it your way" and customize the forklift to offer savings for year to come.