Tips To Cut Your Forklift Travel Time

Take a look at the below factors to help reduce your forklift’s travel time and gain greater efficiency within your operation.

Did you know that layout, floor conditions and forklift fleet size can all dramatically impact your operation’s productivity? 

Recognize these challenges?

  • Frequently handled product is separated due to size or storage handling requirements.
  • Stock-Keeping Units (SKUs) have multiplied due to increased business.
  • New product lines are stored wherever there is room.
  • Aisles are congested with equipment, people and product.
  • Poor maintenance and floor conditions force detours and slow forklifts down.
  • Your lift truck fleet is small, requiring more round trips on the same forklift.
  • Poor lighting reduces travel and order-picking/replenishment speeds.
  • Poor warehouse layout causes inefficient workflows or dead-end aisles.

Factors That Can Reduce Your Forklift Travel Time:

Design an efficient layout for receiving, storage and shipping.

  • Draw a series of arrows reflecting the way product flows in your operation. Maintain, single-direction flow from receiving to shipping to optimize lift truck travel time.
  • If your arrows go in different directions, double back or sometimes go opposite to the desired direction, you've identified your problem areas. Work to:
  • Minimize travel distances between source and destination
  • Reduce forklift and other congestion in high-travel areas
  • Improve access to product destinations
  • Reduce bottlenecks

Consider cross-docking.

  • What is cross docking? Cross docking is a process where products from a manufacturer or supplier are directly distributed to the customer or retail outlet with minimal handling and/or storage time.
  • Evaluate which cross-docking products move rapidly through your facility. The best products to cross-dock are generally bar coded with high inventory carrying costs and predictable demands.
  • For greater efficiency, consider moving cross-docked inventory from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping.

Use your space wisely.

  • Consider using vertical racks or converting to a narrow aisle strategy for better use of space. It may also help to add racks to side walls, over doors and above thoroughfares. Improved space utilization helps reduce forklift travel time for greater productivity.
  • Investigate different kinds of racks for high volume SKUs.

Position products for efficiency.

Notice your SKU’s activity. You may need to re-slot using these guidelines:

  • Place fast-moving items close to their destinations
  • Store fast-moving or heavy products close to ground level to minimize storage-retrieval time
  • Balance storage and order-picking locations to minimize congestion in certain aisles
  • Move inventory to meet seasonal or fluctuating demands

For more information or tips on reducing your forklift fleet’s travel time, contact your local forklift dealer here.

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