How to optimize warehouse fleet operations by using IT solutions?
Machinery fleet management at the large retail network is a difficult task: hundreds and even thousands of warehouse equipment units can be involved at retailer`s warehouses and hypermarkets.
Machine access controls, maintenance term monitoring, inevitable minor repairs, turning to major ones in case of accidents, cost and downtime analysis are just a brief list of tasks that practically lead to creation of paper “log books” and service sheet archives. Despite the seeming archaism for digital age, this situation is familiar to almost every retailer. How can innovative technologies help in making these processes more effective? Specialists of retail network Globus (Giperglobus LLC) logistics center share their experience of implementing the Jungheinrich ISM online fleet management system.
Machine access control automation
“What usually happens when the operator start to work at his work shift: He signs the log book and gets the machine keys. Just imagine: 100 people sign the log book. And then they hand over the keys at the work shift end. It’s about 1 hour of wasted work time. It means averagely 2 hours per day or about 60 hours per month”, says Stepan Virkovskiy, the Chief Engineer of Globus Logistics Center.
Moreover, it is impossible to control who operate a specific machine. In fact, this, for example, means that it is far from always possible to define the circumstances under which the machinery breakdown or damage occurred.
Tasks of machinery access automation and fleet management have become essential for several efficiency improvement measures of warehouse processes at “Giperglobus” central distribution warehouse in Moscow region, which uses more than 130 Jungheinrich warehouse equipment units and employs about 350 operators.
Solution was implementation of Jungheinrich ISM Online − fleet management system enabling to collect and analyze technical and financial data for equipment operation in automatic mode and has access to them from anywhere, anytime and from any device using convenient web application.
How to manage automatic access control?
According to the task set in 2015, Jungheinrich specialists implemented the first two ISM Online modules − Basis and Safety, creating environment for simple and effective Machine Access Control and the Emergancy Data Consolidation.
“Each warehouse operator has issued transponder card, which is tied to his name and profile. This card becomes his signature. As the operator starts the machine, the system records the machine turning on by certain card. It goes identification”, says Stepan Virkovskiy. This enables to personalize access, and further on makes available to track the history and necessary data for each operator, if necessary.
Besides, the system enables to set up individual access conditions: which machines can be operated by each driver, which warehouse sector works. To start the loader, reach truck or stacker, simply attach the card to the special reader on the machine control panel and press the “Start” button.
Stepan Virkovskiy about the Basis and Safety module implementation results: “We were able to minimize the equipment receipt time, as well as to inspect the machines after they were handed over and before being released to the line − and were able to comply with all regulations and legislative rules. So, all processes being usually processed by the Chief Engineer for enormous amount of time are now consolidated within the electronic system, and the workflow organized in the most efficient manner. All peaks at the work shift beginning and end are now distributed evenly throughout the work shift. This enabled to reduce the personnel engaged in these processes: now is one person engaged instead of three.”
Monitoring and analysis of emergencies
Another task, implemented using the Safety module, is access to information about all emergency situations during the reporting period of the equipment operation. These data can be consolidately available throughout the fleet, separately for each machine and individually for each operator − depending on the display filter settings. The information enters the system using impact sensors installed on each equipment unit.
Modules for cost accounting and productivity evaluation
Access control and data acquisition about accidents is only one of available ISM Online functions that “Giperglobus” company began to apply within the system structure. A year after this company decided to expand functionality and implement other available system modules − productivity and operating costs.
Basis Module enables to overview the warehouse equipment at all company`s warehouse sites. It displays information about the total equipment number in particular warehouse, age of loaders and the equipment total cost on the day of request.
Productivity Module enables to assess the fleet efficiency as a whole and each machine separately. For example, you can track by serial number how effective each equipment unit was used during the work shift or specified time period: how long was turned on, how long was in motion, how long was downtime period, etc. This information can be monitored for any time interval: during the work shift, week, month, season, etc. This enables to make decisions about resource redistributing and process optimizing.
Operating Costs Module shows the necessary financial information and enables to analyze the machine maintenance costs.
How it Works
ISM Online program was developed by Jungheinrich in 2011 and by the company estimates is currently used on more than 45,000 forklifts around the world. The necessary system components can be integrated practically at any stage, regardless of the equipment brand.
Data Access: Data access is done remotely and is possible from anywhere globally, regardless of the request place and time. To do this, you only need device that has Internet access. The user just goes to the appropriate site, enter login and password – and this application is ready for use.
Data Displaying: The most important statistic data are accumulated on the start page. Data displaying supports any language, wide range of settings and filters are available for data output.
Information is stored for 3 years and at any time can be uploaded by the user in the required format.
Data Acquisition and Transfer to the Server: Radio module is installed on the machines for data exchange with the system. One or several data transmitters communicating with the management portal (system) are placed in the warehouse.
During the work shift, each equipment unit accumulates data about performance, operating time, emergency and abnormal situations. The machine automatically flushes them as far as it falls within the transmitter range. Information is consolidated on the server, processed and transmitted in convenient form to the management portal, where it becomes available to the user.
Results and Conclusions
Stepan Virkovskiy evaluates the results: “Thanks to ISM Online, we were able today to achieve that the equipment mean usage rate in the round-the-clock mode reaches 85%. This is a high level.
We received a powerful statistical and analytical tool. We carefully collect information, starting with how the battery is used, and ending with the financial costs for all equipment units. We can track what each decision has led to and evaluate its effectiveness.
Each company with more or less large machinery fleet is familiar with the situation when 50 requests for repairs in paper form accumulate during the day. It may take several days to analyze them. We know what difficulties this creates for large companies. Implementation of ISM Online is not only advisable, but also necessary for fleet numbering from 20 to 25 machines.”