If you’ve been charged with cutting costs and increasing productivity for material handling, you may be wondering how to possibly squeeze blood out of a stone. But here’s a secret — forklift power is one of the most overlooked areas in a plant. In fact, operators can save up to $4k per forklift by implementing an optimized forklift power system. And an effective power management assessment will help turn your forklifts into ATM machines.
In order to transition from passively managed power (i.e., a system not based on data) to actively managed power (i.e., a system based on your facility’s specific data), you’ll need to follow certain steps. The right power system increases uptime and productivity. That’s why a material handling operations assessment that gathers and analyzes your facility’s data is crucial to get the cash flowing.
A thorough and effective material handling operations assessment includes four initial steps plus a final proposal:
Step 1: Analysis
First, there needs to be an analysis of your company’s data, which ideally takes about one month to be effective. The study identifies ways to increase the productivity of your forklift fleet and lower operating costs. This is typically a collaborative effort between you and your power company to accurately assess current operations and determine what you might need in the future. Remember: teamwork makes the dream work. (Especially when you add in a lot of data!)
Step 2: Measurement
Here, the material handling assessment continues, but drills down to incorporate more detailed evaluations. This involves time studies and safety analyses, equipment inventory, truck hour usage and other processes where money management can be optimized. At this point, your company’s strengths and weaknesses are quantified to help determine a result that’s best for your needs.
Step 3: Math and Science
Remember all that facility-specific data gathered? In this step, your partner should use mathematical and scientific equations to help determine power system size, specific batteries and chargers among other items that will deliver a higher-uptime, lower-cost solution.
Your partner should walk you through the results so you can thoroughly examine the findings and ask relevant questions. Since you know your business better than anyone else, your feedback is important; your partner should welcome your input so you can collaborate to improve upon the final power system solution. At the end of this process, the result will be unique to you and your facility by application — your plant’s very own, unique thumbprint.
Step 4: A Custom Solution
Finally, your assessment has provided the insights needed to design and implement an engineered power solution that is right for you and your company. This should include up to three recommendations of technologies/options based on the analysis gathered. Once you’ve chosen which solution is right for you, you can begin to implement your plan!
In a nutshell, how you manage power, especially forklift battery power, is essential to your plant’s productivity. When it’s thought of as a complex process, as opposed to just one piece of a larger equation, you can streamline operations and anticipate needs that will ultimately save time and money. The optimal system isn’t about buying a battery and a charger and just using the battery for as long as you can make it last. But rather about choosing the smartest power for your facility based on your assessment, then active management to maintain optimization. Using data to inform these decisions delivers the biggest bang for your battery buck AND ensures you’re not buying too many, which can be costly and waste valuable warehouse space.
A proper power assessment can seem daunting and time-consuming at first, but investing upfront pays big dividends when you convert your power system from passive to active.
Concentric has a unique, data-driven approach to Material Handling Operations Assessments. We’d love the opportunity to create a customized, engineered solution that’s right for you, so you can concentrate on your core business and what you do best.