The term “connectivity” describes a coming era in which industrial trucks, employees and warehousing systems will all interact with each other using electronic solutions. This digital-age trend is becoming more evident in the area of intraglogistics as well. But what does that mean in practice? Here’s an example.

Pre-op check

Linde Material Handling presented a new application at WoMH that will soon be available to vehicle operators. Called the pre-operational check – or, more informally, the pre-op check– it allows drivers to use an Android smartphone to carry out the required assessment of the vehicle’s condition before starting work. The driver connects to the truck using Bluetooth and NFC and then fills out a questionnaire provided by the fleet operator. The questionnaire can be configured as needed. The driver’s access to the vehicle is verified and the vehicle is checked to ensure it is safe to use before it is started – all in accordance with the company’s operational standards and legal guidelines.

WOHM 2016 - Pre Shift Checkin

Step 1: The app connects with and identifies the vehicle using NFC.

WOMH 2016 - pre-shift-checkin App

Step 2: The driver answers questions about the vehicle’s condition using the app. If the vehicle is damaged, they can send information about the damage, including a picture.

If damage is found during the checking procedure, the relevant information is sent via email, which can also be individually configured, to the fleet manager, warehouse supervisor or service technician. In addition, the driver can snap a “selfie” of the vehicle and attach it to the email. Instagram for forklift trucks? In a way, yes. It ensures that the proper manager is immediately informed if there is a problem.

One feature that is a big help for companies with extensive premises is GPS tagging, which allows precise coordinates to be sent along with the picture. That means the service technician and fleet manager know exactly where the vehicle can be found.

These days, it’s as easy as that! Modern technology can help keep the fleet in top condition. Customers in the UK in particular are looking forward to the solution, which will be available shortly after WoMH closes, since they must meet special legal requirements and doing so is much more efficient using a smartphone.

But the app is capable of even more. It can be used to send individualised notifications to drivers – a message from the fleet manager, for example, that the operator’s driving licence must be renewed or that it’s time for a first-aid refresher course. And if the vehicle runs on lithium-ion technology, the app can display the battery’s current power level. Very practical!

Outlook

After speaking with the responsible colleagues it became clear that the app is not just a technological gimmick, but that the developers focused on creating an easy-to-use system that has practical features geared toward everyday situations. All of that makes life simpler for both fleet managers and drivers. I have the feeling this is not the app’s final iteration. Usually what happens is that people come up with additional ideas and suggestions once they realise a solution is worth using. That means Linde Material Handling should get ready now for the app’s next development wave.