2020 was a year that forced us all to re-evaluate what we mean by efficiency. The challenges of navigating a global pandemic, with workplaces running at reduced capacity or with social distancing measures in place, meant that we were all embracing new technologies and different approaches to make us work smarter.
In recent years, automation and telematics have been shedding a stereotype that they are costly and cumbersome to integrate into materials handling operations. While their use in the industry was growing pre-pandemic, now is the perfect time for logistics operators to enhance their solutions.
Matt Hardy, Manager Fleet Management and Commercial Integration at Yale Europe Materials Handling, says, “There is a huge focus on telematics at the moment – those that have the data have the knowledge! Yale Vision offers remote insight into the use of materials handling equipment – no matter where in the world it is being used – and can provide diagnostic data with automated reporting on bespoke parameters, such as utilisation and efficiency.
“We’ve had great feedback from our customers,” he adds. “Yale Vision allows us to have the ability to see the operational trends of our customers remotely, and suggest the right fleet mix for them. We have noticed an increase in requirements to remotely oversee their fleets’ utilisation and operator behaviours to help our customers optimise continuous improvement.”
Yale Vision® allows the customer to configure asset access and prevent unauthorised truck operation through integration of existing site access rules and systems. “It provides a fully scalable solution designed for any business, from single site to multi country and global operations,” explains Matt.
Yale Fleet Management sits alongside Yale Vision, and offers a seamless experience for the customer. “Regardless of what country or location the fleet is in, the customer has one person at Yale® to talk to. We then use our extensive dealer partner network to carry out planned and unplanned maintenance. The customer can concentrate on running their business while we concentrate on taking care of their materials handling, making sure the right truck is available at all times and being utilised in the right way.”
Automation and robotics solutions are becoming increasingly affordable for warehouse operations. Ron Farr, Warehouse Solutions Manager at Yale explains, “As consumers, we are demanding more selection, delivered the next day and with the ability to return items. To support these trends, robotic lift trucks are capable of doing those repetitive, repeatable tasks, such as bringing goods to people, enabling businesses to reallocate people to the more value-added services whilst increasing the productivity and the pick accuracy.”
“The ability to affordably install a small fleet allows the distribution centres to be geographically positioned to provide a competitive edge for shorter deliveries, rather than centralising their operations which results in complex timely logistics for last mile deliveries.”
How does the Yale solution differ from others on the market? “Our robotics solutions use geo-navigation, which requires no infrastructure to be fitted in the building. Not only does this allow vehicles to be less susceptible to potential issues – for example with reflector line of sight access, but allows much quicker installation times. This makes our solution more affordable, particularly in applications that require only a few trucks, and capable of demonstrating a return on investment in under 18 months.”
Telematics and automation should no longer be considered optional add-ons, but important and fully-integrated aspects of any materials handling fleet. Yale is investing heavily in the future development and research to continue to bring new innovative solutions to the market – enabling all of us to continue delivering to our own customers.