Mobile, connected and critical to the movement of goods, the modern lift truck and picker are helping unlock the next level of productivity.
In our December issue’s lift truck story, Modern explored the growth of semi-autonomous technologies, from pallets jacks an operator can control at a distance to self-driving equipment fully integrated into warehouse systems. That story’s focus was how lift truck hardware is evolving to support safety and efficiency.
This time, we’ll focus on the picker, and how the connected nature of the modern warehouse supports productivity. In some ways, this is a drill-down that touches on components like mobile and wearable technology, lift truck telematics and battery management. However, the common theme of connectivity is the evolving role of the lift truck and its operator in the entire organization’s supply chain.
“Five years ago, nobody cared. A pallet jack is a pallet jack, and you drive it until it falls apart,” says Keith Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Voxware. “Now you have to think about how to make every device as effective as possible and tie them together to get a cohesive process, move products and manage your operations at the highest possible level of efficiency. All assets in the supply chain—pallet jack, trailer, handset, headset—are all worthless in today’s world without the technology to make them intelligent. If you don’t have that, then you can line up behind the Sports Authority stores of the world since you will quickly follow them.”