Cloud-connected forklift safety systems help managers make sense of driver behavior and vehicle efficiency to enable management decisions that improve driver safety, well-being, and productivity.
The Tip of the Iceberg
Solving the point problem of directly improving driver safety by detecting behavior and changing environments is just the tip of the iceberg for forklift safety systems that include cloud-connected benefits. The moment-to-moment situations drivers encounter can now be digitized and shared to the cloud as data, where they can be analyzed at scale for a bigger picture of workplace performance. A simple dashboard of the broader data-driven picture makes management decisions regarding individual driver performance and vehicle usage possible to help determine more effective workplace policies and procedures.
While managers are certainly aware of the anecdotal evidence and costs of post-accident or vehicle breakdowns, a data-driven ‘bigger picture’ view of daily performance can also help them predict, and thus prevent, critical failures of staff and equipment.
Getting Connected to the Cloud
A forklift safety solution that includes outward-facing cameras for people detection discerns potential safety threats and, together with AI software capability and computational hardware horsepower, converts those events into identifiable data points.
For instance, a person detected by the people detection camera and AI system three meters to the rear of the forklift is then passed on as a data point to a display system, which initiates an audio or visual cue to the driver who can make an informed decision about whether to take corrective action such as slowing or stopping their vehicle to avoid a collision.
A cloud-connected forklift safety solution then takes that same data point and shares it to the cloud via a network connection. The VIA Mobile360 Forklift Safety System for example supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a SIM card slot with antennae connectors for cellular networks.
In the case of the VIA Mobile360 Forklift Safety System, the cloud is the AWS-powered VIA WorkX Connect Cloud Management Service. This solution is a dashboard and viewport that presents and makes sense of the treasure trove of data being collected by the forklift.
The Value of Vehicle Usage Data
Depending on the data collected by your forklift safety solution, understanding in more detail how much, how often and in what manner forklifts are actually being used on the warehouse floor can give management teams insightful and actionable data that they’re currently unaware of.
Company A might know that employee Joe works an 8-hour shift driving his forklift. The cloud-connected Company B knows that Joe works an 8-hour shift, he actually drives vehicle X for 6.5 hours during that shift, and he covers 32km (22km driving forward and 10km driving in reverse). During this period he encounters people in his path 7 times per hour and receives 11 driver behavior alerts per shift, 8 of those in the last hour of it.
If we dive deeper into this simplified example, Company B has a better idea about how much time their employee actually spends driving during the shift. It’s an 8-hour shift for Joe but only 6.5 hours for that specific vehicle. Is Joe one of your most productive operators? Is he wasting time every shift for 1.5hrs doing tasks unrelated to the core skill you’ve hired and trained him for? Perhaps a different skills/performance-based staff setup is needed.
Noticing that Joe encounters a large uptick in driver behavior alerts in the last hour of his shift might be an indicator that shorter shifts, adjustments to designated break times, or the 1.5 hours of the other tasks he’s doing should be moved to the end of it.
Understanding how many times a shift Joe encounters people detection alerts during his route might lead to schedule changes for when and where workers on foot operate in the warehouse to let drivers operate more safely and efficiently.
If you know how many km each specific vehicle is being used for and for how many hours in operation, in terms of real uptime (and thus also downtime), you can plan vehicle maintenance, rotation and scheduling in general much more efficiently.
You might also discover that Joe always favors the use of vehicle X while working over vehicle Y and learn about equipment handling preferences or capabilities. If vehicle X is getting used daily but Y not so often, why are they both being maintained every three months? How can you more deeply understand Joe’s equipment needs and preferences to show him you care about making his job safer and more productive?
Maintenance and Inspection
While carrying out such an analysis may appear to be a time-consuming chore, giving your staff the right tools in the right working conditions for the right work situations goes a long way toward improving employee satisfaction, safety, and productivity. Applying AI-assisted solutions to these operations can make these duties easier, more effective, and less time-consuming.