August 28, 2018 /

How to Save a Million Dollars with Forklift Telematics

By The Industrial Truck Management Team at I.D. Systems

Save a million dollars with forklift telematics? Does that sound unrealistic to you? Like pie in the sky? Or do you think savings like that could apply only to a huge global corporation? Well, we can show you how a good-sized company — but not a Fortune 500 giant — CAN save 7 figures using telematics for industrial trucks.

Save a Million Dollars with Forklift Telematics - pie in the sky

Basic Formula to Save a Million Dollars with Forklift Telematics

We’ve been making industrial truck management systems for over 20 years. So we’ve seen many different kinds of organizations use technology to manage lift trucks. And we’ve seen many different ways to use that technology to save money, improve processes, and increase productivity.

Forklift telematics have been especially useful in helping organizations improve material handling operations. The basic ingredients of this success are:

  • Access control (to track and report all lift truck use — and make drivers accountable)
  • Safety process controls (to avoid forklift accidents — and reduce associated damage costs)
  • Fleet utilization data (to judge how many lift trucks are actually needed — when and where)
  • Labor-related data (to improve efficiency — of both forklift drivers and their managers)

Folding these ingredients into your day-to-day operations takes a range of effort. There’s “low hanging fruit.” And then there’s data analysis and decision-making that take careful cultivation. But the rewards for these efforts grow exponentially.

Effort to Get Forklift Telematics to Bear Fruit

Access control (and driver accountability) is easy. You’ll be set the instant you turn on your telematics system. You’ll be able to tell who was on what forklift, when, and for how long they actively drove each truck. (And you’ll also see how long drivers sat on their trucks without moving!)

Save a Million Dollars with Forklift Telematics - forklift driver management

Adding new safety processes takes a little more effort. Like deciding how to integrate telematics into training compliance. And choosing what happens if a forklift operator fails to complete a safety checklist. Or drives too aggressively, resulting in too many minor impacts. Or gets into a serious accident. But these are mainly policy decisions. You can use the control and reporting mechanisms of forklift telematics — like electronic checklists and impact sensors — right away.

Analyzing fleet utilization takes a little more active brain power. But not necessarily too much. All telematics systems report useful data on lift truck activity. And some advanced systems, like PowerFleet®, report unique data points that identify specific ways to reduce fleet size. For example, PowerFleet charts simultaneous truck use, by work group, over time. The peaks and valleys of these graphs show you exactly which areas have too many lift trucks.

Save a Million Dollars with Forklift Telematics - fleet optimization

Labor, of course, is usually the biggest material handling cost. And the most sensitive to analyze, since jobs are at stake. But most companies need to do more with less, just to remain competitive. And that includes reallocating labor to where it can be used best. The tools of forklift telematics — including analytics — can help you find new ways to manage (and optimize) forklift operator labor.

How to Save a Million Dollars with Forklift Telematics: A Case Study

So let’s take a look at that good-sized company we mentioned. It’s a manufacturer with 10 plants in the U.S. And it had a fairly large fleet of about 300 industrial trucks. But could it really save a million dollars with forklift telematics?

No. We have to admit it.

The company actually saved well over $3 million!

By using telematics to manage its material handling equipment, this manufacturer:

  • Cut forklift damage costs by 90%.
  • Reduced forklift fleet size by over 15%, saving >$1.5 million.
  • Trimmed supervisory staff by over 50%, saving $450,000+ per year.
  • Decreased the need for seasonal forklift drivers, cutting labor costs >$900,000 per year.

For more details about how the company accomplished this, and the lessons it learned along the way, download the case study.