Fork Truck Free Manufacturing Plants in 2016: Labor Optimization and the Bottom Line

January 15, 2016 Fork Truck Free Info 5173 Views

More than 1000 manufacturing plants are going fork truck free in 2016. This FTF (fork truck free) initiative reduces operational costs of running fork trucks producing a short four to six month payback or return-on-investment (ROI) schedule.

Calculating bottom-line FTF benefits can be traced to several areas from savings on fork truck maintenance, warehousing, and economically more efficient material handling. The single largest cost for manufacturers is labor.

Payscale Human Capital reported that average wages for fork truck drivers are nearing $18 per hour nationally. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage for warehouse forklift drivers in 2015 was $38,800. States with the highest employment levels of forklift drivers include California, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, and Ohio. The District of Columbia is included with the top paying states for forklift drivers — Hawaii, North Dakota, Alaska, and Washington — with average annual wages between $47,000 and almost $50,000.

Forklifts are heavy and dangerous machines that can cause catastrophic damage to property and people when not operated in a safe manner. The Chicago forklift accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have noticed that poorly educated or trained operators are a common denominator in many accidents and that education and safety training can greatly reduce the risk of an accident. Loading docks and warehouses are busy places and there are many hazards and distractions that can quickly cause things to go bad if a driver is not aware of his or her surroundings, or acts in an irresponsible or reckless manner.

Rosenfeld injury attorneys recently cited contributing factors to fork truck accidents, noting some of the most common factors to consider when evaluating the cause of forklift injuries. These factors contribute to the overall safety of warehouses and loading docks can help prevent accidents by making drivers more vigilant when encountering these conditions and pitfalls.

Often aisles are not wide enough for safe forklift operation. When drivers are forced to make maneuvers in tight spaces, it greatly increases the likelihood of an accident. Heavy traffic and proximity to other forklifts and people on the ground create a frequent danger.

One of the most frequent situations occur when there are multiple drivers operating in range of one another which can create a chaotic environment. The addition of people on the ground makes it even more difficult for a driver to keep tabs on where everyone is located while also focusing on his or her task at hand. Obstructed paths and intersections generate attempts to avoid obstacles which can result in collisions with other vehicles or injuries to workers who are occupying the aisle.

These challenges can be completely eliminate in a FTF environment. For union shops or employees concerned with job retention, FTF manufacturing plants often move displaced fork truck drivers to tugger driving positions or new value-added positions which can assuage the concern about lost jobs. The shear efficiency of the FTF environment typically reduces 20+ passes per day to just 5 passes per day using planned tugger schedules.


Topper Industrial

Topper brings companies considering a Fork Truck Free operation to various customer sites for benchmarking; to arrange an on-site benchmarking session call 800-529-0909.

By Thomas R. Cutler, Manufacturing Journalist for Topper Industrial – Material Handling Solutions


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