October 2015 | How-To | Ten Tips

Analyzing Lift Truck Fleet Data 

Tags: Forklifts, Materials Handling, Technology

Collecting and analyzing lift truck data is critical to optimizing materials handling equipment (MHE) fleet utilization and maximizing cost savings. Good data helps fleet managers budget short- and long-term costs, determine correct fleet size, and evaluate whether to lease or buy new equipment. Allen Polk, director of business development for Kenco Fleet Services, offers the following advice to get the most out of lift truck fleet data.

1. Collect data. Companies that don't collect data are missing out on potential savings. Data collection can be as simple as recording information from a maintenance work order or using telemetric devices for a more detailed look.

2. Create accurate maintenance budgets. Good data makes it easier to determine how much you spend per hour on repairs and routine maintenance. You can also forecast production peaks so you can schedule maintenance downtime around them. This will improve uptime and productivity.

3. Utilize complete data. Collecting and inputting complete data ensures useful output. Collecting only one part, such as the total repair cost, does not paint the entire picture. What parts were consumed? How much did the parts cost?

4. Decide what data to use. Once you determine your goals, make sure you analyze the correct data to help meet them. Also decide which metrics will aid in decision-making.

5. Calculate true cost of ownership. Use data to determine how much it costs per hour to operate each piece of equipment. You need to know how much you spend to identify savings.

6. Be proactive. Don't wait until there is a problem or rely on the data to make decisions for you. Use data to track areas of concern so you can project potential issues and make adjustments to your fleet ahead of time. Foster a proactive culture where employees are encouraged to review the data collected and make suggestions.

7. Streamline your fleet. Most companies have too many pieces of equipment. Use data to determine which pieces of equipment you can take out of a fleet to reduce maintenance spend on that particular unit and the labor associated with operating it.

8. Maintain an accurate parts inventory. Fleet data helps reduce downtime by having the right part available at the right time, and allows you to stock what you use.

9. Determine purchases. Analyzing utilization data can help determine if you should lease or purchase MHE, and target the right time to acquire new equipment. If using capital to purchase MHE, utilization data can help determine useful life. Solid data can reduce last-minute emergency expenditures and eliminate mass fleet failures or replacements.

10. Put data to use. Most importantly, use the data. If you don't use it, data is just numbers.

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