Fleet management systems have been used to optimise forklift truck operations since the 1990s and have seen many adaptations and improvements since then. Transmon Engineering is an early pioneer of such systems, and Bob Warner, Sales Manager for Transmon, explains what to consider when selecting a fleet management system.
How is your warranty affected?
When choosing an aftermarket, 'add-on' system, it is just like buying an accessory such as a Satellite Navigation System for a car. It does not affect the warranty on the vehicle, in this case, the forklift truck. An integrated system, however, may affect your warranty as it is considered a component of the vehicle. A separate aftermarket fleet management system is simply connected to the vehicle's ignition power via a relay, which can be activated with the original key switch, or may be switched on permanently, depending on the operation requirements.
Can the system be transferred to another forklift?
If the fleet management system is integrated into the forklift by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), you may be locked in to using that brand, as the system may not be transferable to a competitor truck. This means that when the truck needs to be replaced, the fleet management system will too. An aftermarket add-on system from Transmon, for instance, can be fitted to any make and model of forklift truck, reducing the cost when replacing equipment or changing forklift supplier. It can also be repaired more easily, due to its modular design, and independency from the truck's systems.
Are there 'hidden' costs?
A fleet management system provided by the OEM may include a monthly cost for reports and data management, incorporated into the monthly price. When the lease expires and the equipment is purchased, the cost of the data may still be incurred throughout the truck's lifetime. Transmon's Fleet Management systems, for example, have no ongoing costs and the data is easily accessible, as it is simply stored on your company network.
What support is available?
With an OEM, the monitoring system is not the main purchase; it is an added expenditure, secondary to the forklift truck. A company that manufactures aftermarket systems focuses only on the monitoring system, so are able to provide more specific services and support to customers.
What about call costs for customer support?
Many OEM systems are supported via internet and telephone from distant places, with considerable associated costs. With a Transmon system you deal directly with in-house experts from UK-based offices. On-line training and telephone support is often free for life.
What customisation options are there?
An aftermarket fleet management system can often be personalised with your company logo and a customised message on the login screen, for consistency and branding. This can be changed easily and automatically across the entire fleet.
Are there any special technical needs?
Some OEM systems rely on a permanent internet connection or the availability of the back-end system. An aftermarket system from Transmon allows users to manually make changes to the settings of the device, without the need for a wireless connection, and can also record events and work autonomously until a connection is available. Operators can also view recently logged events in chronological order on the keypad itself. This is useful for keeping up to date with the status of your forklift truck fleet at all times.
Does it speak your language?
When selecting a fleet management system, check the language options available. The TDS601 fleet management system can be programmed into any Latin-based language. This is vital for a multi-lingual business.
Check out the products in our Management range to find one to suit your requirements and budget, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Article Date: January 2015
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