Application

Forklift and MHE Fleet Tracking with Smart Navigation and Safety Monitoring


Sectors

Warehousing & Logistics, FMCG, Steel, Automotive, Automotive Components, Electronics, Electronics Components, Electrical, White Goods & White Goods Components, Aerospace and Defense

Tags

Digital Supply Chain, Industry 4.0, Smart Warehousing, Industrial Tracking, Track and Trace, MHE Tracking, Forklift, EOT Crane, Warehouse Management System


Context

In a warehouse or distribution center or fulfillment center, thousands of inventory units in pallets or coils or bins, are brought in and shipped out. These handling operations are typically carried out by manually operated material handling equipment such as forklifts, lift-trucks, tow-tuggers, tow-carts or EOT Cranes. Whilst there are variations to the operations of a warehouse; if we consider the direct labor component only, then orders need to generally go through the following processes of receiving, put-away, storage, replenishment, picking, staging and dispatch of products to customers.
Travel time is the second most expensive operating cost in a warehouse or DC, labor being the first.Just as any supervisor wouldn’t want to see employees wandering around with nothing to do, MHE shouldn’t stay idle or unnecessarily travel corners of the warehouse yard to execute the pick and drop operations. It is important that warehouse managers consider factors such as distance, warehouse traffic congestions, and potential conflicts with other processes that involve traveling. Forklift accidents cost roughly $3.7 billion per year in the U.S. and are the cause of 20,000 serious injuries including 100 deaths.


Challenges
  • Lack of data driven insights to unlock latent warehouse throughput capacity and space utilization of the warehouse resulting in locked working capital
  • Lack of actual data on MHE fleet operating productivity and utilization levels – How much is the idle time, run-time, stop-time and down-time of my MHE fleet?
  • Lack of data on maximum potential productivity levels of MHE fleet and optimal operator headcount requirements – What is the optimal number of fleet and operators needed in my warehouse?
  • Inefficient manual routing by MHE operators during material put-away, replenishment and pick leads to a higher travel time and distance resulting in capacity under-utilization
  • Lack of means to capture safety compliance deviations by MHE and operators

Solution Approach
  • Secure biometric based access control system before vehicle starts moving for authorization with live alerts to the supervisor in case of unauthorized access
  • Pick-list or put-away list auto-updated on a screen interface mounted on MHE
  • Dynamic turn-by-turn smart routing instructions displaying the shortest paths considering the traffic for pick and drop of material on screen interface for MHE operator
  • Visible and siren warning alarms on the MHE mounted screen interface when it breaches the speed limit, approaches a corner, passes by another MHE or enters a restricted area
  • Real time 30cm ultra-precise location tracking of all MHE fleet like forklifts, EOT Cranes or AGCs with Clean Slate’s inLocate 6.0 RTLS and visualization on the supervisor web dashboard
  • Live display of process KPIs such as daily attendance, number of loading & unloading cycle trips on the supervisor dashboard
  • MHE utilization analysis like distance traveled, run & stop time, idle & down-time, average speed and % optimal routing on the supervisor dashboard
  • Centralized web communication portal for supervisor to dynamically instruct MHE operators via their screen interface during express or ad-hoc requirements
  • MHE location movement Heat-map and Spaghetti diagram analysis to visualize the flow, traffic density and bottlenecks at different times
  • Live process SOP and safety (pre-configured) deviation alerts on supervisor dashboard with root-cause analysis for continuous process improvement
  • Custom intelligence reporting frameworks integrable with existing ERP/MES/WMS and for auto-updating pick-list and put-away list

Benefits
  • Increase in MHE utilization by up to 20% by digital process validation, minimizing stop times and increase in number of cycle trips
  • Right-size the MHE fleet by tracking actual utilization and actual operating time
  • Decrease the distance traveled by MHE and pick-drop cycle times by up to 10% through dynamic intelligent turn-by-turn routing with the shortest paths
  • Increase in warehouse space utilization by up to 20% with underutilized space optimization through heat-map and spaghetti analysis
  • Increase in MHE operator productivity and efficiency
  • Increase in safety standards compliance through live traffic collision warnings and speed limit breach warnings
  • Higher system uptime and reliability than RFID or BLE Beacon based solutions