Make your life a little easier with a forklift fleet management system. This software can help you optimize the maintenance, service and use of your lift trucks by gathering transactional data into one location so you understand what your fleet actually needs — allowing for better usage of your entire organization’s budget.
Creating a dialog with your decision makers and influencers by getting their feedback and responding to the data at their fingertips goes a long way toward successfully integrating fleet management technology. To get the most return on investment (ROI) from a fleet management system, we’ve put together five tips for successful technology integration.
What Is Fleet Management Software?
Fleet management refers to the tools used to manage the performance of commercial vehicles. Fleet management may take the form of vehicle maintenance, alerts, spend tracking and analysis. When these tasks are done manually, your organization can be vulnerable to human error and lose valuable time to tedious filing and recordkeeping. This is where fleet management software (FMS) comes in.
FMS refers to a cloud-centralized technology solution that enables companies to manage and monitor all forklift drivers, technicians and vehicles with a single application. FMS makes necessary tasks simpler, faster and more precise and addresses issues like lack of automation and poor task management. With FMS, you can keep up with vehicle maintenance and better analyze employee performance.
Forklift monitoring systems may include some of the following features:
- Location tracking
- Vehicle diagnostics
- Safety management
- Vehicle maintenance
- Management of driver performance
The two types of FMS are online and offline fleet management systems:
- Online FMS: An online system helps you improve how you manage a large fleet by increasing the efficiency of your duties and processes.
- Offline FMS: An offline system involves the inclusion of recording units in vehicles that collect data you can then process and analyze.
Online FMS offers more advantages than an offline system, as the vehicles connect to a server via the internet and give you real-time data.
How Forklift Management Technology Works
Forklift management technology enables business owners to directly track operational and ownership metrics from warehouse forklifts and vehicles, including:
- Part orders
- Maintenance logs
- Service work orders
Smart Fleet leverages data from sophisticated analytic, notification and reporting systems intended to improve productivity and lower costs. This cloud-based platform compiles and reports information via detailed dashboards, giving you information on performance metrics, functional insights and annual costs. Data can be pulled from your existing systems, such as your accounting, maintenance and service order systems.
The features, fields and scalability of the technology can be customized to your unique business challenges and models. With a fleet management portal, you can access all of the information related to your fleet with a few clicks, so you can make quick, effective business decisions.
5 Tricks to Introduce a Forklift Monitoring System to Your Team
Below, we cover tips for introducing a forklift monitoring system to your team — identify the best fit, communicate goals, create a plan, act for success and plan for enhancements.
1. Identify the Best Fit
The most important aspect of bringing new tools to your business is finding the options that best fit your needs. Whether you use one or multiple available products will depend on your company’s specific requirements.
For a fleet management system, you will face several decisions in identifying the best fit for your operations. Don’t make these choices alone. Get feedback from those most affected by the final choice of a management system. For example, create a team to consult with workers and champion the project.
This group can help make choosing the right program for everyone easier. Listen to everyone throughout the process. By getting input at all stages, from choosing to adopting to integrating the forklift management and lift truck safety technology, you’ll have greater success in finding the right product and getting everyone to support its use.
The first focus of your team should be identifying what you want the management system to do. Do you need to minimize maintenance costs, track rental fees or improve safety? Get feedback from those most likely to use the management system to see what they’d like to see covered. The goals for the introduced technology will help you in choosing the best fit for your company.
2. Communicate Goals
The goals set by the consultation group are key points you’ll use when bringing the technology to your workers. They need to know why you chose to update the existing system beyond basic benefits. When you show them how the management system can be a tool for reaching your goals, your workers will be more likely to accept the change.
Communicating your goals also aids in increasing the willingness of workers to learn new processes to integrate the software into their daily jobs. These goals give the integration a focus and purpose. By knowing exactly what improvements you need from the new fleet management software, you can track your progress toward those goals.
Results appear quickly through tracking goal progress after integration.
As much as your team needs to know why you want to integrate the technology into their operations, they also need to know the perks they’ll see. Therefore, you should show how each sector will see advantages from the new fleet management system.
For example, maintenance teams will need to know that the system will optimize the scheduling of service to prevent unneeded procedures. Accounting should know about the benefits to the bottom line you can achieve through improved lift truck fleet management.
3. Create a Plan
Make a clear plan for the introduction of the technology. Develop a timeline for replacing or integrating the software with current management systems. Within your plan, consider potential problems or delays that could arise and how to solve those issues. Consider making the final change to the new management system during a slower period.
When you’re ready to implement fleet management software, follow the steps below:
- Know your goals and what metrics you want to improve.
- Audit your current system.
- Consider what key features you want.
- Select whether you want a custom or Software as a Service (SaaS) developer.
- Perform a quality assurance check.
- Release the software.
- Keep up with post-implementation maintenance.
Leverage the Data
Part of the plan should include how you’ll use the data. For example, the plan should include implementing an optimal truck replacement strategy. Rather than wait for a vehicle to go out of commission before you replace it, a forklift monitoring system can help you maintain a balanced fleet aging cycle. Vehicles past their optimal condition can lead to downtime and excess fuel spend, ultimately impacting your bottom line.
For the best results, your organization should create a customized vehicle replacement strategy that factors in the type of vehicle, the type of usage, the amount of usage and vehicle applications. Calculations for an ideal fleet replacement schedule include predictions, assumptions, analysis and forecasts of the available data.
By optimizing your vehicles’ lifecycles, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- Fuel savings: Because newer vehicles typically offer more miles per gallon, you can significantly reduce your fleet’s fuel expenditures over the long term. A newer vehicle may also provide an alternative fuel option.
- Employee satisfaction: Drivers appreciate a solid vehicle replacement strategy because it gives them a newer, more comfortable, more efficient vehicle to operate.
- Maximized resale values: You can maximize resale value by taking a strategic approach and planning when you’ll dispose of vehicles.
- Improved safety features: Typically, more advanced safety technologies are included in newer vehicles, such as automatic emergency braking and forward collision warnings that can reduce risk and protect drivers.
- Lower maintenance and repair costs: With a predictable, reliable cycle, you can anticipate when preventive maintenance costs may occur and replace older vehicles before costly breakdowns occur.
At Fairchild Equipment, we offer replacement parts for forklifts and industrial vehicles. Our parts department can ensure your industrial vehicles continue running through any breakdown, so you don’t have to wait. We offer many forklift parts, such as:
- Mast rollers
- Engine parts
- Electrical parts
When you’re unable to bring your equipment to our shop, our road technicians will come to you.
4. Act for Success
Finally, act for success by getting feedback, acting on feedback, planning for enhancements and highlighting successes.
Some of the most important feedback will come from information collected and analyzed by the fleet management software. This information will guide your team on where to eliminate unnecessary costs, allowing your entire fleet to run more efficiently with maximized throughput and reduced downtime from scheduled maintenance.
For example, fleet management software collects data on lift trucks to provide you with the cost to use over a year, month or day. Compare this information for your fleet trucks in the weeks after introducing the product to see how well you improve the operation costs.
Act on Feedback
Feedback from the software is also important to act on. The data collected by the fleet management system can only improve your operations if you act on the information. See where you waste money on needless repairs or maintaining aging lift trucks. Make cuts where possible to reduce your spending.
Seeing savings and improved efficiency encourages everyone to continue to use the technology and find other ways to optimize its application in your business.
5. Plan for Enhancements
With our Smart Fleet software, you get an intuitive dashboard that allows you to remotely and easily monitor ownership and operational metrics. You can use these metrics to identify opportunities for both improvement and cost savings.
Some of the metrics our dashboard can present include:
- Notifications and alerts
- Hourly costs per unit
- Planned maintenance intervals
Every step of the way, highlight successes that occur. These successes may include:
- Realizing tangible energy savings.
- Making improvements based on data.
- Connecting your forklift fleets across your company.
- Implementing an optimal truck replacement strategy.
You should also share the successes of the fleet management system with your teams. Use the output of notifications and metrics to illustrate your successes. Your team will be more satisfied with the new system if they see changes in how they do their jobs. For example, using data to determine when to make updates to your fleet can help you avoid costly repairs and reduce downtime. At the same time, you can also improve productivity by offering your forklift operators the latest technology and ergonomics the industry has to offer.
Keep showing the successes of the technology in the months after the final introduction to your entire fleet. Regular reminders of the benefits of the fleet management software will keep the acceptance of the technology high.
Make Managing Your Forklift Fleet Easier — Ask Us How!
Forklift fleet management companies with multiple lift trucks can use technology to better handle their vehicles. We have created a solution for you at Fairchild Equipment. Our Smart Fleet software helps you to get the most from your fleet by:
- Tracking forklift costs and activity: Our software allows you to track hourly running costs, maintenance and repair expenses, rental fees and use for every forklift. By being able to determine the location of your truck operators and fleet, you gain the ability to monitor and track productivity.
- Optimizing workflow: Optimize your company’s workflow and boost productivity by using the information you gather from this technology related to productivity and efficiency.
- Regulating fleet size: Having the right fleet size that includes both new and used forklifts is essential. By monitoring real-time fleet utilization, you can regulate your fleet size. This way, you can determine which forklifts are being used and which are sitting idle so you can maintain the most efficient number of forklifts and vehicles.
- Protecting equipment: You can utilize this technology to provide real-time protection with safety alerts. Send messages to operators and enable instant follow-up.
- Diagnosing equipment functions: Monitor the transmissions, engines and hydraulic and electronic functions to identify potential issues. By monitoring your equipment, you can maximize operation time.
- Comparing operational expenses: Easy-to-read visuals help you compare the operational expenses of trucks at once. Use this information to quickly spot areas where you can make cuts to save money and improve safety.
- Optimizing the service schedule: The software also perfects the service schedule for each lift truck based on specific maintenance requirements. This smart scheduling reduces truck shortages and saves money on unnecessary repairs and services. Protect your feet by tracking and scheduling preventive forklift maintenance.
- Utilizing feedback: Feedback from the fleet management software can be paired with forklift telematics to guide you further in making your fleet safer and more efficient. For example, telematics can help you predict the best times for service and repairs of vehicles based on usage.
Drop us a message and learn about how our Smart Fleet management system can help you to get more from your fleet. If your company is located in the Midwest, stop by your closest Fairchild Equipment dealership to meet with a representative to get customized technology solutions for your business.