Fork truck monitoring technology which allows fleet owners to access all sorts of information on the operational activity of their assets has been around for some time. But as always, it’s the innovative application of clever tech that delivers the most exciting solutions and improvements.

According to TCM’s Dealerships Director Graham Jones, data collected from an integrated onboard monitoring device like the system offered by TCM’s dealer network, can build a detailed picture of each truck’s working day and offers a level of insight that can produce real business improvement.

“Collecting data at both truck and driver level to observe movements, behaviours and efficiency allows new thinking to emerge about how best to utilise the FLT fleet and effect other changes that lead to greater optimisation”, said Jones. “The data collected builds to give a complete overview and a clear line of sight to where improvements can be made”.

It can mean reviewing how stock is more efficiently located in a warehouse to reduce the time trucks are travelling without loads and to speed up vehicle loading. This can also save energy and improve truck utilisation.

One business starting to implement this technology is Leedsbased Walkers Transport. As a key member of the Palletways network, their large and impressive Leeds logistics centre and headquarters also plays an essential role as a core strategic partner to Palletways, whose 200+ members work collaboratively to deliver the most efficient and economical pallet network across the UK and Europe. Their operation based in Morley, Leeds facilitates the movement of around 4,500 pallets every 24 hours which inevitably involves peaks of high activity. In turn this necessitates immense concentration of resources and process control, ensuring that their complex logistical infrastructure responds precisely and at pace.

According to Commercial Director, Mark Fletcher, it all adds up to a business that is focused on excellence. “Our growth plans are ambitious which is why the business continues to invest in both its people and processes to increase not only our capacity but also our capability within a highly competitive sector”.

An important element in meeting this business strategy, is to ensure they work with the right partners in the supply of their materials handling assets. A business that is focused on managing the logistics of palletised goods is highly dependent on an efficient materials handling operation and its forklifts need to be reliable, economical and effective.

“CAM Forklifts is a key materials handling partner, who are working very closely with us to develop our fleet”, explained Mark. “We recently took delivery of several new generation TCM trucks that have the design and engineering strength to provide us with the level of reliability and operator comfort that meets both our current and future needs”.

New trucks have been fitted with the latest monitoring equipment designed to record both truck and operator performance. This will allow the truck to be monitored to provide information that can be used to design and optimise the materials handling operation.

“We are focusing on efficiency and effectiveness, rather than just cost reduction. This latest on-board monitoring system allows data to be collected at both truck and driver level to observe movements, behaviours and efficiency as well as the all-important health, safety and welfare of our warehouse teams”.

Crucially the ability to profile truck operations contributes to the opportunity of improved mapping and routing of trucks, stock location and process flows that will boost productivity and enhance the levels of service enjoyed by its customers. Walkers Transport have also introduced several new initiatives, including an aspirational target to get every driver loaded and on the road within 20 minutes of their arrival at the depot. This is further supported by their continued investment in equipment that includes 23 new trailers and motorised pallet trucks, making is much easier for drivers to offload at deliver points.

Mark goes on to say; ”To reach that 20 minute loading target means the complete infrastructure, including our materials handling equipment needs to be designed and ready to operate at its optimum every single day”.

“We are really pleased to have CAM working with us on this project to improve such a vital part of our operation’’ said Mark Fletcher.

“They have shown the level of commitment and understanding of our business that we need in a materials handling partner. For us reliability of the trucks is critical but in the event of a problem we need a highly responsive partner, which is why we like the personalised and single point of contact that CAM offers us”.

The geographic advantage of having a forklift partner so close means it can respond to every eventuality quickly. Engineers are regularly on site to offer proactive support and maintenance. This is assisted through their agreement to hold a critical spares inventory on site to ensure that parts are on-hand to provide an immediate solution.

The expectation is that by investing in their materials handling operation and supplier partnerships, Walkers will create a stable and repeatable platform to gain benefits in productivity, fuel efficiency, maintenance and safety. All of these factors combined will help the business deliver its ambitious business goals and ensure it is well positioned to keep pace with the anticipated growth over the coming years.