Multi-shift DC improves battery management practices
When a large, multi-shift distribution center recognized battery replacement and maintenance costs had become a significant financial drain on its operations, it turned to a comprehensive battery monitoring system to gain a better understanding of its fleet usage.
Wanting to maintain lean post-recession operations, the company’s original aim was to get the most out of minimal equipment. Fleet optimization is crucial to efficient operations, but skipping routine maintenance is no way to optimize equipment utilization. Lack of battery equalization, under-watered batteries, and disregard for preventative maintenance caused over-worked batteries, high maintenance costs, shorter battery life and unnecessary lift truck downtime.
The new system tracks battery equalization and automatically equalizes batteries out of criteria, holds under-watered batteries at the battery rack after equalization, and automatically sends e-mail alerts indicating which batteries need to be equalized and/or watered.
Using a datalogger, the company was able to customize battery reports to determine overall usage of each battery, as well as critical battery performance data. They also implemented a Web-based charging and communication system designed to improve fleet productivity by collecting battery and charger data and converting it into actionable information. The distributor chose the Web-based service for its ability to manage entire fleets, analyze battery conditions, and diagnose problems before reaching a critical and more costly stage.
Following the improvements, the company reduced battery replacement costs and reduced battery maintenance.
Read more from the 2013 Casebook.