Lift Truck Tip: Avoid analysis paralysis

Good alignment across the full length of a company’s org chart is more important than any fleet management technology.

  By ·

The promise of telematics and fleet management tools is exciting, but it’s important to temper that enthusiasm with some pragmatism.

“Fleet managers sometimes want to boil the ocean and do everything at once,” says Mark Stanton, vice president and general manager of industrial truck management systems for ID Systems. “I would advise them to really concentrate on their top three or five objectives, instead of a dozen goals.”

First, establish primary business objectives and measure against them for the first year or two. Once they are under control, dedicate the next two years to the next two or three objectives. Also, be prepared for objectives to change as you uncover data.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and that information can lead the fleet manager down a path he or she didn’t foresee as they uncover areas of the business and operations they never measured,” Stanton says.

Impacts, for example, have a monetary value, but Stanton says many can’t quantify it. Getting impacts and compliance under control could expose whether you have the right type of lift truck. The fleet mix may be incorrect, Stanton says, or you might find that old equipment is costing more than you thought, and it could be cheaper to bring in new equipment.

As organizations gradually improve fleet operations, it is critical to manage cultural change. No technology will change everything, Stanton says, without the operator, team leader, supervisor and even management on board.

“Whatever system is implemented, you need alignment across the organization to make the best use of the data,” he says. “There’s no right or wrong way. It depends on the fleet and the people, but align around business objectives, monetary benefit and a higher likelihood for operator success.”

Alignment can also prevent complacency or a lost focus on fleet improvement over time. Operators, supervisors and even executives can measure themselves and ensure continuous improvement by using established objectives and key performance indicators. Modern telematics tools streamline this process.

“Analysis paralysis happens when you bombard the operator, team leader or executive with 50 notifications a week or a massive spreadsheet. Those days are over,” Stanton says. “They want to see the data that’s relevant to their roles and drill into it easily.”

With such a system, it’s possible to tell at a glance on Monday whether the fleet is all green and ready to go. If it’s red, Stanton says, you can take meaningful action at that time instead of spending hours getting to the bottom of things. On a longer timeline, the same tools can ensure preparedness for seasonal peaks and changes in business.

“It’s hard to say exactly what a fleet will be doing in two years,” Stanton says, “but between now and then you can develop data to understand where you are and where you want to go and gather insights to help you achieve those goals.”

What's Related in Telematics

Lift Truck Tip: Avoid analysis paralysis
Good alignment across the full length of a company’s org chart is more important than any fleet management technology.

New forklifts and telematics streamline operations
Updated fleet improves safety and reliability while cutting maintenance costs.

I.D. Systems and Jungheinrich AG sign global technology agreement
Companies team on multi-year fleet management technology partnership.

Low-cost telematics solutions brings visibility to small fleets
Initially geared toward large fleets, detailed data capture and analysis tools are now more accessible than ever.

The role of mobile computers in the warehouse data web
The spread of technology throughout the warehouse has created abundant and valuable information—if only you can find it.

More Telematics

Related Topics

Fleet Management   ID Systems   Telematics   All topics

About the Author
Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.
Latest products
MezzCAD mezzanine design software
Design mezzanines with software.

LEVPRO suspended shelving system
Integrate small parts storage with pallet racking.

Shelf Track carton flow system
Drop carton flow system into existing racks, shelves.

Button-On cantilever storage rack
Store pipe, tubes, lumber on cantilever rack.

This Week in Materials Handling

MHPN - Materials Handling 24/7 - Readers’ Choice Products of the Year 2018 winners announced
Nearly 3,000 readers voted in 12 categories for the best innovations in materials handling equipment to help you decide the best products for you warehouse and distribution center operations.


Featured Products

Subscribe to MHPN Magazine Today

Material Handling Product News is the market’s only executive format publication reporting on the entire range of material handling products — from the loading dock, to the manufacturing process, to storage and distribution. Don’t miss a single product, claim your free subscription today.