Nearing 2021’s halfway point, assessing materials handling equipment (MHE) fleet health should be a top priority for fleet managers looking to effectively manage fleet costs, optimize equipment utilization, and be positioned for success come peak season and the new year. To conduct an accurate and useful assessment of MHE fleet health, fleet managers must develop deep awareness of the current industry landscape, their fleet’s data, and any shortcomings in their resources and/or technology capabilities.
Know your environment
Fleet managers continue to grapple with unique challenges and disruptions stemming from the past 12+ months – an explosion of new warehouse construction from continued eCommerce adoption post-COVID, labor/talent shortages, MHE scarcity, etc. Understanding the impacts of these forces at play will allow fleet managers to make informed decisions to keep their equipment levels optimal and operations moving forward.
Additionally, MHE scarcity has been amplified by Toyota’s recent suspension from producing gasoline and propane equipment, including forklifts, due to failure to meet EPA compliance standards and obtain U.S. engine emissions certification. The suspension could last another 12 months and is already significantly impacting lead times on obtaining new equipment as Toyota owns around half of the market share. The inability to quickly purchase or lease new MHE means maximizing your current fleet’s capacity is imperative, and deep fleet awareness is the first step to solving for this equation.
Know your fleet’s data
Effectively managing costs and trying to secure equipment amidst an increasingly challenging MHE landscape requires fleet managers to identify accurate barometers of future disruptions. Given the combination of ongoing disruptions, the best way to achieve holistic fleet awareness to predict and prevent disruptions is through having comprehensive MHE fleet data. Having deep data-driven insights allows managers to extend their fleet’s life while controlling costs and remaining efficient.
Luckily, technology to analyze and track costs at a granular level is more commonplace, accessible, and affordable than ever before. In a world of IoT, it’s never been easier to capture information in real time. By investing in telematics and predictive analytics, managers can glean invaluable insights across their MHE fleets to determine if certain equipment is being overexerted or underutilized, how much MHE is needed, and more. Data collected can also inform preventative maintenance schedules, which tell fleet managers when to service vehicles and signal repairs before machines break down.
Know your limitations
Unless you have a team of dedicated experts collaboratively managing your fleet, tracking daily utilization and maintenance metrics through telematics and predictive analytics, and optimizing purchasing and/or leasing strategies, seeking out a 3PL partner like Kenco with proven fleet management experience is the best way to maximize MHE productivity and fleet health while minimizing costs.
Shippers often try to manage equipment and utilization costs from a profit-and-loss perspective, which lacks the ability to dive deeper into how it was spent. For example, your accounting records state you’ve spent $100k on maintenance expenses, but was 20% of that budget spent on two pieces of equipment? Was it mostly used on parts, actual repairs, or labor? Dedicated fleet management teams like Kenco’s has the resources and technology to quickly determine cost allocation down to individual pieces of equipment, revealing your top cost drivers and inefficiencies.
The best fleet managers have a strong sense of mechanical aptitude, financial acumen, and analytical prowess. At Kenco, we’ve built our dedicated fleet management team around these qualities. Combined with best in class technology and network relationships fortified over more than 70 years, we can optimize diverse MHE fleets for growth and cost efficiency to allow shippers to focus on keeping the products flowing. Visit our comprehensive MHE Fleet Services page to learn more or speak with a professional today.