Telematics as both a word and a technology has its origins in the 1970s where it came from a blend of telecommunication technology together with informatics and it was used to identify the discipline of long-distance transmission of so-called ‘computerised information’. Fast forward to the present day and telematics is now concerned with the sending, receiving and storing of information via telecommunications and the subsequent control of remote objects. The growth in mobile data networks and the different data protocols such as 3G and GPRS has been an important facilitator in the deployment of telematics.
In materials handling, telematics is the underlying technology that facilitates fleet management systems such as Toyota’s I_Site. Although, it’s important to note that it doesn’t matter whether your fleet consists of one truck or fifty, management systems can be incredibly useful and valuable. I_Site isn’t limited to just forklift trucks either, it can be added to other equipment such as powered pallet trucks.
It’s all about benefiting from the additional data that you can access about truck use and the added insight that the information gives to you. I_Site makes data easily accessible through a web portal or even via a mobile app which is perfect when you are on the move or even remote from the facility. The benefits of I_Site break down into four areas: reduced costs, improved health & safety, productivity and environmental.
Cost improvements come from increased visibility in areas like shock recording and the ability to identify problem areas on a site, identifying & reducing sources of damage and contract monitoring – ensuring maximum utilisation against contracted hours.
Improved health and safety. The ability to control access to ensure that only authorised and trained operators can use a truck is an important safety feature. Through shock monitoring, the system can record all details of an impact allowing for future analysis and it can also respond to high impacts by for example going into creep mode or showing a visual warning which can be reset by a supervisor when it is safe to do so. Finally, the ability to require a pre-operational check completion allows accurate records of safety checks to be easily kept.
An obvious productivity benefit is being able to accurately see the utilisation of your trucks, driver and contract – this allows areas for improvement to be identified. The additional insight also provides the information needed to make changes to fleet size or identify the right timing for maintenance schedules amongst other opportunities. Environmental benefits start with the reduction of waste by identifying bottlenecks and training needs which in turn reduce idling time. Truck and battery life can also be optimised through the effective monitoring of charging cycles.
Whilst more data and insight is always a good thing, it’s important not to be overwhelmed by too much data and end up with ‘paralysis by analysis’. By providing you with intuitive dashboards and alerts on important operational behaviour like shocks I_Site keeps your focus on the big picture but allows you to drill into the information when you need to. This means you can be informed but not overwhelmed by information.
The information available through telematics and I_Site is going to continue to grow and provide further opportunities to integrate with other systems you might already run. To help you see the possibilities our I_Site experts are available to work with you, demonstrate what I_Site can help you achieve.
To find out more, contact us on 0370 850 1409