According to a recent Modern Materials Handling survey, the average U.S. forklift fleet has 29 trucks. That’s up from an average of 22 just two years ago. Of course, this reflects who chooses to respond to the survey. Clearly, more large companies responded to the current survey than previous surveys. This year, 12% of respondents had fleets of 100+ trucks, up from just 5% in prior years. And the share of respondents with less than 10 trucks went from 51% down to 39%. But no matter how you slice it, when it comes to managing industrial trucks, forklift fleet size matters.
(TIP: for a detailed guide on what to look for in lift truck management technology, see our series on Choosing Forklift Telematics.)
For Lift Truck Management Technology, Forklift Fleet Size Matters
As with many products and services, industrial truck management technology comes in three “flavors”: good, better, best. And fleet size is one of the main factors in deciding which flavor is right for you.
If you manage lift trucks for a large enterprise, like a Fortune 1000 company, the “best” fleet management technology is almost certain to give you a big ROI.
For example, for any organization with hundreds of lift trucks across dozens of sites, advanced telematics can pay for itself many times over. And not with overly complex number crunching — just through basic safety improvements and forklift damage reduction. (To see how, download this case study on using forklift telematics in distribution centers.)
But that’s not to say that complex number crunching has no value. In fact, quite the opposite. The larger your fleet, the more value data analytics can have. For instance, analyzing forklift data across multiple systems gave one company new metrics on material velocity, damage, and driver productivity. And that helped the company, a major food & beverage maker, save over $2 million per year. (For details, download the case study.)
Medium Size Companies Can Also Benefit Big
For medium to large companies, a “good” forklift fleet management system is most likely to hit the “sweet spot.” A range of devices and systems are available to solve the most common forklift problems. And you can choose from a variety of options and price points.
In fact, if your fleet has 100 or so lift trucks across several sites, forklift telematics can probably give you most of the benefits that large enterprises enjoy. And that includes better fleet efficiency and labor productivity, as well as improved safety. Take, for example, one U.S. manufacturer who used forklift telematics to drive down capital costs by $1.5 million. And reduce labor costs by about $1.4 million annually. On top of cutting forklift damage costs by 90%. (For the full story, download the case study.)
Good Options for Small Forklift Fleets, Too
Even if you have a relatively small number of industrial trucks, you should consider management and control technology. Increasingly, you have many good options — at price points that make sense. For example, access control alone can ensure safer driving and fewer forklift accidents. Not to mention prevent the theft of equipment. And standalone impact sensors, speed controllers, and other devices have value as well.
Best of all, a new generation of integrated forklift telematics is being designed just for small to medium size fleets. To learn more, read our press release. Or read this article in Modern Materials Handling.
At the end of the day, no matter what kind of material handling operations you have, forklift fleet size matters. Especially for choosing the right forklift fleet management technology.
In the 20+ years we’ve tracked lift trucks, we’ve heard many good stories and seen a lot of interesting data. And we want to share it all with you on our blog. We also want to hear your own stories. So please email your stories and factoids to us at ForkliftFunFacts@id-systems.com!)