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Internet helps Barloworld Material Handling raise satisfaction levels for forklift truck service and maintenance

Barloworld Handling reports that it has reduced engineer response times and road miles, reduced the size of many customer fleets and outperformed competitors in independent surveys thanks, in part, to the internet.

"Every year Barloworld maintains nearly 25,000 forklift trucks in all types of industry across the UK and we are investing in the latest technologies and utilising the internet to help us work faster, smarter and more efficiently to meet customer needs" says Ian Roberts, National Service Manager.

The company monitors customer satisfaction through an independent survey and results show an improving picture with Barloworld providing one of the highest satisfaction levels in the industry. The company puts much of its success down to the technologies applied throughout its business processes and the people using them.

Service vehicle tracking
Vehicle tracking using global positioning (GPS) technology is now used to manage Barloworld’s 450 service vehicles throughout the UK with live tracking over the web. Service despatchers can see the exact location of service vans across the country and assign the best engineer according to location, availability, parts stock and skills required. Routes and schedules are optimised helping to reduce mileage and response time.

Live van stock reporting
Barloworld has combined vehicle tracking with real-time van stock reporting so that engineers despatched to a job are well equipped to facilitate a repair. "The aim is to provide the most effective response to resolving a truck breakdown" says Ian Roberts. Barloworld provides a maximum 4hour response time during normal working hours. However, average response times are only 2.5hours. Barloworld’s service vans are stocked with the most commonly needed parts required by local industry so the vast majority of repairs can be completed on first visit.

PDA parts ordering
If a repair requires any additional part, technicians will place an order through their PDA (Palmtop computer) to Barloworld’s National Parts Centre in Birmingham. The parts centre offers 97% off-the-shelf parts availability for all types and brands of lift truck. Any order received before 5.30pm is despatched overnight directly to the technician’s service van or customer’s own premises. Although Barloworld is the UK distribution partner for Hyster approximately 50% of the makes it maintains are competitive brands.

"Thanks to the parts ordering system, Barloworld engineers can start the day ready stocked with the parts needed to complete almost any repair," says Ian Roberts.

Web based forklift fleet management
Barloworld’s unique fleet management system also uses internet technology. The system incorporates a telemetry device fitted to fork trucks and other equipment which transmits performance data to Barloworld. Live performance reports are then made available 24/7 for customers to download through a dedicated web portal.

Uniquely, the system integrates with Barloworld’s SAP service management system which records running hours, service completions, costs and performance data alongside the service history and site specific information for every piece of equipment in a fleet. Access to this up-to-the-minute information enables Barloworld to optimise servicing according to customer application needs, helping to reduce fleet downtime and potential repair costs. Additionally, service personnel can react more intelligently to service requests and provide a more efficient response.

Driver efficiency and impact detection
Web based fleet management also enables Barloworld to provide a continuous analysis of driver efficiency and damage across customer fleets. PIN access control can be installed on each truck to prevent unauthorised use. Data is gathered including uptime, running hours and any impacts over a set level of severity and can then be used to review the performance of each driver, target damage reduction and identify further training needs.

"It is clear from customer research that our investment in people, technology and efficient processes is helping to deliver real value to our customers with the opportunity for continuous improvement" adds Ian Roberts.

Barloworld has an unmatched capability to support multi-site operations and meet the varied requirements of larger fleet operators. Barloworld’s range of services includes planned maintenance, battery management, short term hire, driver training, 3D warehouse simulation and other intelligent services to help customers get more performance, availability and cost efficiency from their materials handling fleets.

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