Essential Tips to Cut Your Forklift Travel Time
It’s no secret that warehouses are busy, fast-paced places with a multitude of tasks employes must complete in the average workday. From unloading, stocking, reloading, and ultimately shipping, these facilities handle the core responsibilities of getting products to consumers on time. Because of how many steps to the process there are, warehouse employees often find themselves running between stations to see what they need—especially forklift operators. As the most-used piece of equipment in the warehousing industry, the average fleet of forklifts crosses the entire length of a warehouse several times in a given day. They must not only hold up to this level of use but also use travel time efficiently. Here are a few essential tips for cutting your forklift travel time and raising productivity levels as a result.
The Importance of Efficient Forklift Travel Time
Forklift travel time is defined as the average amount of time it takes for a particular forklift to get from one point to another. As such, when it comes to increasing the efficiency of the warehouse working environment, the average travel time of your forklift fleet is the key to success. Since these machines are responsible for doing most of the heavy lifting throughout the workday, the rate in which they can get around dramatically influences productivity. The less time it takes for your forklift fleet to navigate workplace obstacles, the more time the operator has to complete additional projects. For this reason, travel time is something that many warehousing managers seek to improve.
Factors That Influence Forklift Travel Time
However, before we can talk about how to reduce the travel time of your forklifts best, we must identify a few things that affect it. The following are a few factors to consider.
1. Forklift Condition and Operator Training
First and foremost, your forklift’s overall condition and way of operating can severely inhibit it from moving as quickly as it potentially could. If a forklift is behind on repairs or has suffered damage, you could find that it’s moving slower than it may have in the past. It’s also important to note that the forklift operator running the equipment could be contributing to its speed. Along with knowing standard warehouse operations, forklift drivers also need to be adequately trained in how to use their forklifts most effectively. Without this knowledge, they could end up misusing the machine and causing damage that could’ve been prevented.
2. Warehouse Layout and Design
The overall design and layout of your warehouse can also have an impact on travel time. Designated traffic flow, aisle layout, and even the total distance to travel can all add additional minutes onto trips and waste time. Depending on the environment, workers could struggle to maneuver their forklifts around certain obstacles, get stuck in congested areas, or even struggle to find where they’re going.
3. Space Available and Organization
The way items are stored and placed around the aisles can also be an extra hazard to navigate. Good organization practices for your inventory are crucial to both being able to find the right items as well as ensuring that the environment is safe. If your warehouse is a bit on the smaller side and you need to conserve space, its essential you keep your items stored and well organized. Since forklifts need the proper amount of space to move, finding ways to keep things off the floor is a great place to start.
4. Best-Selling Products
When selling products, it’s only natural that some will be in higher demand than others and therefore, will need to be moved more often throughout the warehouse. These items, dubbed “best sellers,” move incredibly fast through processing and are usually delivered in significant numbers to accommodate consumers. Unfortunately, though, their high demand also makes them more time-sensitive—and much more time could be wasted transporting them to and from inventory.
Effective Ways to Reduce Forklift Travel Time
Fortunately, although these speed-related factors pose a problem for warehouse management, they aren’t impossible to correct. Many of them can be resolved with a few changes to the working environment. Try these essential tips to cut your forklift travel time.
1. Create and Maintain Organization Standards
Since general organization plays such a key role in how workers, and their forklifts, move through a warehouse, making changes to this process should be the top priority. This involves not only drawing out a detailed plan for inventory management and transportation but also putting guidelines in place to ensure workers abide by it. Even simple changes, such as drawing arrows to mark the flow of traffic, can do a lot to maintain order during these processes. With the right organization method, you can even reduce the distance between vital areas of the warehouse and make trips significantly more efficient.
2. Increase the Size of Your Forklift Fleet
You can also cut travel time by obtaining additional forklifts to fill out your fleet and having more forklifts running at once. This way, an operator can grab one of their own to complete their work rather than wait for someone to drive by. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the more massive fleet you have, the higher your overall costs will be to care for this equipment. You’ll also need to put regulations in place for dealing with congested areas of the warehouse.
3. Increase the Quality of the Work Environment
The quality of the workplace has to do with the number of potential hazards a worker could come across during their shift. By limiting these dangers, there are fewer things for forklift operators to avoid, and less time is wasted trying to move around them. But the process of increasing workplace quality has more to do with just keeping inventory off the floor. It could also include installing better lighting to help workers see labels and shipping information, keeping the floor clean and spill-free, and even controlling traffic.
For more information on how to get the most use out of your forklifts, reach out to Toyota Material Handling Ohio. As a leading forklift dealer, we consider it our mission to provide you with top-quality forklift rentals in Ohio as well as the knowledge to care for them properly. With the resources to ensure your forklift’s performance, you’re sure to be able to cut travel time and get back to doing what you love.