Guest Column | August 15, 2022

Telemetry Systems Upgrade Warehouse Vehicles Without Breaking The Bank


Telemetry systems for warehouse vehicles allow decision makers to collect data from operator behavior trends to fuel consumption. Many people are also surprised to learn they’re more affordable than expected. That’s primarily because people can have the technology installed on existing machines rather than buying new warehouse vehicles for their fleets.

Relatedly, facility managers can get information about trends that help them save money over time. For example, being proactive regarding evidence a person is not safely operating a forklift can help a fleet owner avoid litigation expenses. Here’s a closer look at why investing in telemetry solutions for warehouse fleets often makes good business sense.

Keep Warehouse Workers Safer

Warehouse roles include inherent dangers. Even well-trained, conscientious employees occasionally get distracted or make mistakes. However, telemetry platforms can remove some of the risks associated with working in a warehouse so injuries and fatalities are less likely.

Telemetry products can provide data about instances where workers use heavy equipment and engage in fast speeds, hard braking, sharp turns, and other dangerous behaviors. This evidence helps managers have constructive conversations with the offending parties, getting to the heart of what caused them to use the machinery that way. Did they feel pressed for time or otherwise under pressure due to an overly heavy workload? Is the person a newer machine operator who could benefit from increased training?

Warehouse equipment with telemetry tools also can facilitate other initiatives to increase safety, such as a collision warning system for forklifts. It has four near-range cameras and a control unit. Together, those components provide a complete view of the vehicle’s surroundings the driver can see on a monitor. Besides eliminating blind spots, this technology detects stationary or moving objects in the vehicle’s vicinity. People see those as colorful overlays on the monitor’s content.

It reportedly takes less than a half-hour to install the technology on forklifts. The speedy setup time is even possible when fleet owners have multiple makes and models of equipment. That means people can get a faster return on investment and start seeing the associated benefits sooner.

Some telemetry products even allow the creation of customized safety checklists. Those can help people remember to comply with specific regulations or sanitize parts of a lift truck to maintain COVID-19 protocols.

Maintain Oversight Of Upkeep With Warehouse Telemetry Systems

Knowing which maintenance measures equipment needs at what times are critical to keeping a warehouse running smoothly. Downtime can be prohibitively costly, as well as highly disruptive to productivity. A telemetry system can tell users which machines are available versus out for maintenance at any given time. Then, it’s easier for managers to plan workloads and ensure everything gets done on time.

Relatedly, a telemetry platform with GPS functionality can provide maintenance data so crucial actions don’t go overlooked until it’s too late. Some fleet owners have dozens of vehicles or more to oversee — it’s not practical to expect all that monitoring to happen manually without people making occasional mistakes.

However, fleet technology can remove the need to collect and analyze data by hand. Many such systems are cloud-based and can gather information in near real-time. People can then examine it to determine the best times to have equipment undergo maintenance without putting too much strain on workflows and scheduling.

If a company has 10 forklifts, it becomes impractical to schedule all of them to get serviced simultaneously. However, telemetry data can support decision makers in creating a staggered time frame. It also can help them realize when it may be time to retire specific warehouse vehicles in favor of newer models.

Keeping fleets well-maintained is an excellent way to help the associated equipment have long life spans. However, sticking to an appropriate maintenance schedule won’t be the best option forever. It’ll eventually become apparent that investing in newer vehicles is more cost-effective than continuing to repair the ones breaking down more often than they should.

Enact Theft-Deterrent Measures And Get Better Visibility

Vehicle tracking is helping many industries in myriad ways. This technology can help save lives, improve consumer satisfaction and reduce theft rates.

Emergency vehicle dispatchers use it to determine which first-responder crews are closest to people needing help. Such products are also valuable to representatives in the e-commerce industry. They know customers typically appreciate knowing where the products they ordered are and when they’ll arrive. A vehicle-tracking system can verify which driver has a parcel and its expected delivery time.

Such solutions support the bottom lines of warehouse facilities, too. Some criminals view forklifts and other heavy equipment as highly desirable items because they allow them to steal ATMs. However, telemetry systems make it harder to get away with such thefts.

Warehouse managers can define a vehicle’s authorized operating boundaries or time frames. Then, supervisors or other relevant parties will get alerts if anyone — even a warehouse employee — tries to use machinery at different places or times. Telemetry systems also can sync with worker badges to restrict untrained people from operating equipment.

Increase Workflow Preparedness With The Tracking Of External Vehicles

Telemetry systems also can extend to things occurring outside a warehouse’s walls and affect the people working in the facility. One recent example of what’s possible came from retail giant Walmart. Representatives from the brand installed telemetry-linked tablets in every vehicle within Walmart’s private fleet.

This approach allows for real-time tracking of all the brand’s assets as they travel through the supply chain. Such insights tell managers when to expect truck loads, letting them plan staffing around those arrivals.

More specifically, the technology connects incoming trucks and their destination stores. Employees in those locations receive push notifications to handheld devices, helping them prepare to assume their duties as quickly as possible once a truck gets to the area. Truck drivers then spend less time waiting after arrival, which translates to more productive time on the road.

Walmart representatives point to other benefits for truckers, too. They say the real-time tracking helps drivers clarify what they got done during work hours. That could extend to miles driven or any unplanned non-driving-related activities. Then, everyone’s more accountable across the board.

Will You Start Tracking Your Warehouse Fleet?

This overview highlights many benefits people can expect from using telemetry systems on warehouse vehicles. While reviewing the associated up-front costs, individuals should remember this technology can reap rewards for them in the long term.

About The Author

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. She regularly explores the impact technology has on the industrial sector.