Recently a customer inquired whether his forklift could be fitted with a monitor that records impact and shuts down the machine, so that he could hold operators accountable. That device exists, and we can get you one (call us!); it’s generally known as a Shock Switch. There is, however, a larger movement towards forklift monitoring systems that aspires to reach far beyond just collisions. Manufacturers have been researching and developing ways to better monitor forklift productivity and maintenance requirements as well as safety concerns. Investment in this type of data will lead to huge savings across the board via better utilization of industrial equipment. Toyota’s forthcoming T-Matics will be a new height for this technology. We’ll continue to post updates concerning its release as the date approaches. Here’s what you can expect:
Fleet management systems like T-Matics will be able to inform an operations manager (OM) how much time a forklift is in operation, and exactly what it’s doing. If there’s too much downtime associated with a particular truck, the OM can reallocate the resource. In another case, if the truck is in operation, but not handling a load for a large enough portion of time, a company can assess why and make the appropriate changes.
Clearly there’s savings associated with increased productivity. Smarter fleet management will also lead to savings on maintenance. These systems have the capacity to alert operators to emerging problems with the truck. Additionally, planned maintenance (PM) will become a more intuitive process, as the program will monitor hour meters and sense the approaching need for maintenance, replacing appointments based upon best guesses or breakdowns. Using data collected about machine usage and downtime, PMs can be performed when it makes the most sense.
Those familiar with Toyota forklift features such as the System of Active Stability (SAS) know that these trucks are the safest on the market. So it’s not exactly a shock that Toyota’s fleet management system has a safety focus. T-Matics can sense impact and collision, allowing OMs to determine when damage is occurring and how it occurs. One can then take steps to solve the problem, whether it be better operator training or a change in procedure, permanently reducing the costs of equipment damage.
The best part about these fleet management systems is that they unify the major running concerns we all share about materials handling. Safety and efficiency don’t exist in a vacuum, but until now, it’s been very difficult to get to the heart of these issues. We can’t follow every truck around all day for a month to calculate how much time it’s handling a load, not to mention how this changes seasonally. We’ve always known that maintenance, safety and productivity are essentially linked, and workplaces have always strived to maximize each aspect. This data monitoring system brings that interplay to new heights, as Modern Materials Handling associate editor Josh Bond writes, “The closer inspection of fleet costs and processes is painting an increasingly comprehensive picture of the impact a well-managed fleet can have on not just pallet moves per hour, but the efficiency of the entire business.”
Summit Handling Systems, Inc. (SHS) is an exclusive Toyota Forklift dealer in Connecticut and areas of New York and Massachusetts. In business over 50 years, SHS employs experienced personnel eager to provide solutions for your material handling operation. Whether we’re providing quality new, used, rental equipment or fleet maintenance, customer satisfaction is the key to our success. Keep an eye out for future posts about T-Matics, look out for our monthly newsletter or better yet, Contact us today!