Fixed Location Radios Added To Forklifts At Freight Terminal



Equipped with a portable radio and tablet computer, Chris, a loading dock manager for a trucking company located in the upper midwest has three and a half hours every morning to orchestrate a beehive of activity and load dozens of trucks with palletized freight. His concerns include ensuring the safety, accuracy, and efficiency of the 10 or so forklift operators buzzing around the hundreds of palettes of freight waiting to be loaded through the 36 doors on the dock.

In order to get the trucks filled and on their way every morning, reliable communication with the forklift operators is paramount. Unfortunately, the portable radios assigned to the forklifts often went missing, were dropped,or were damaged. No radio with the forklift operator presented a daily challenge!

Without reliable communication, Chris felt the pain in his feet (literally!) walking back and forth across the lengthy dock floor, ensuring instructions were properly conveyed to and understood by the forklift operators. Safety was compromised and precious time squandered when operators exited their forklift to search for freight, adding to the foot traffic and increasing risk.



Dick Keane of Bonsall’s in Dunlap, Iowa, had been consulting with Chris on another technology-related matter when he noticed the sheer amount of activity involved every morning to get the trucks loaded and on their way. While Dick accompanied Chris as he walked across the dock giving instructions to the forklift operators, he learned first hand the communication challenges he faced and started formulating a plan to help overcome them.

Dick recommended a fixed-location, always-on radio be mounted to every forklift. The location of the hard mounted bracket and radio is ideally situated on the forklift upright just in front of the operator, within easy reach to transmit and receive messages from the dock manager as well as from other forklift operators.

Dick stated, “I found the perfect radio for this application. The JBS base station intercom radio from Ritron requires no batteries, does not disappear, and wires directly to the 12 volt supply on the forklift. It’s perfect for forklifts.” Dick presented the solution to Chris, and not only was the solution adopted at this particular trucking terminal, but it was also adopted across the company’s six other terminals in the six-state service area.



Chris is ecstatic, to say the least. He now has direct, clear, reliable two-way communication with all his forklift operators. Dangerous foot traffic is now minimized since operators remain on the forklift to receive communication from the dock manager or from others. And, much to his relief, this new network of radios helps Chris reduce the number of miles he puts on his feet!

As an added benefit, this new reliable communications network of radio-equipped forklift operators provides Chris with a miniature search engine on the dock floor. When freight is not easily found, he makes a call over the radio and an operator can visually scan their area, invariably finding the missing pallet instantly. This eliminates delays and enables the trucks to get loaded and on their way more quickly.

With the fixed-location radios on every forklift, Chris is now a loading dock manager that has much safer area to work from, with less foot traffic, and he is able to locate freight more simply, helping to ensure his trucks are safely and efficiently loaded and on their way to their destination each and every morning.



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