On a normal day, it can often be challenging for supply chain managers to give the required amount of focus to ensure a safe working environment for forklift operators and those employees who work alongside them.
We have helped numerous customers build and maintain strong safety cultures, many featuring robust and engaging training programs and initiatives. But even the best safety cultures and programs need continual attention; especially as growing demand and market pressure require increased productivity.
This has never been truer than now, as we deal with and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential businesses and supply chains are struggling to keep up with demand while balancing the need to maintain safe working environments.
Fortunately, for the last few years, many of these businesses have been introducing greater connectivity and fleet management systems into their warehouses and distribution facilities. When properly implemented and utilized to its fullest potential, greater connectivity can significantly help managers maintain a strong safety culture and increase productivity.
Here are five significant examples of the value it can provide:
1. Improving utilization and efficiency
Greater connectivity provides data to measure and improve operator productivity, helping you understand why some operators are more productive than others. This data can also help identify best practices and pinpoint additional training that may be required. It enables you to easily understand how your forklifts are being used so you can better manage and optimize forklift utilization as demands shift.
2. Lower impact incidents
Greater connectivity provides visibility that helps create an accurate picture of how, when and where impacts are occurring. Using the gathered data, you can identify areas of the facility where impacts are occurring and the operators who are involved. You can even receive real-time alerts and lock-out equipment so the incident can be immediately investigated and addressed.
3. Reduce downtime
Introducing greater connectivity into your service and maintenance program enables you to reduce unplanned downtime and the mean time to repair (MTTR). Forklift performance and health data help you be more proactive about repairs and recognize symptoms before they become a larger issue. Service technicians can use the actionable information to ensure they come on-site prepared to address the issue with the right part, shortening MTTR and keeping your supply chain moving.
4. Operator coaching and training
Dynamic Coaching™ is a term Crown coined to refer to the delivery of real-time feedback to operators that reinforces correct behavior and recognizes incorrect behavior. This can be in the form of context-sensitive visual and audible alerts delivered through the forklift display module to promote safety awareness; for instance, an alert that informs operators to wait until the vehicle comes to a complete stop if they exit too soon.
5. Flexibility in times of crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging all of us to think outside the box and come up with solutions for issues that did not exist only a few months ago. New innovations, new processes and new safety protocols are changing the way we work and live. Some of these changes are temporary, but many will be around for the foreseeable future. Greater connectivity provides the flexibility to meet these challenges. For instance, questions can be added to the pre-shift safety inspection checklist on your fleet management system to remind operators to maintain social distancing or frequently wash their hands.
In the best of situations, it can often be challenging to maintain a strong safety culture while increasing productivity to meet customer and consumer demands. During this critical time as the world responds to COVID-19, it can be even more difficult to ensure that balance. Greater connectivity within your facility can be a vital tool as you look to maintain safety while increasing productivity.
For more information on creating a connected facility and the value it can provide to your supply chain, download Crown’s e-book: Achieving Material Handling Connectivity.