Fleet optimization with AI – How artificial intelligence increases the efficiency of your entire forklift fleet.

Optimizing costs and increasing efficiency while at the same time increasing cost-effectiveness are important goals in intralogistics. In order to increase the efficiency of entire forklift fleets, the focus here is on fleet optimization with AI.

In this article, you will learn how exactly this works in practice and what immense advantages your logistics department can also have through fleet optimization with AI.

Artificial intelligence in logistics – what does that actually mean?

When it comes to the topic of “artificial intelligence”, or AI for short, most people think of human-like robots, self-driving cars and autonomously acting machines. This is not wrong, but it is a one-sided view of AI. Because in reality, it goes far beyond robotics and the like. This is particularly evident in the logistics industry, where the aim is to deploy forklift fleets as optimally and cost-effectively as possible. Fleet optimization with AI opens up great potential here. 

Three areas are particularly suitable for the use of AI: cost planning, optimal vehicle deployment and optimal loading behavior. They all play together when it comes to fleet optimization. With AI, they can be taken to a whole new level, ensuring that the profitability and efficiency of the entire company is increased. The following three points show exactly how this works:

1. Reliably process invoices and documents using OCR

Fleet optimization with AI can be applied particularly well in the area of finance. Whether it’s invoice capture, processing and issuing, cost planning and optimization, or transparency and traceability, AI can optimize all sub-areas of accounting. How does it work? The answer is: with OCR. 

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. Behind it is optical character or text recognition. Thanks to machine learning based on artificial intelligence, OCR makes it possible to automatically recognize all documents in a logistics department and prepare them for further processing. For example, scans, PDF files or digital images can be captured quickly and easily without the need for manual processing. The big advantage here is that once all the necessary data on incoming invoices has been automatically captured and quickly paid, the company can benefit from cash discounts and early payment rebates, and also doesn’t have to waste money on reminder fees that inevitably arise when invoices are left unprocessed. Wondering what fleet optimization with AI has to do with this? Quite a lot. 

Lower costs thanks to fast document processing

So, well-functioning intralogistics is based on speedy document processing. This is true not only with regard to invoices, but also to all other documents related to a company’s fleet of forklifts. This refers in particular to receipts and service reports. After all, these are absolutely essential in order to allocate all costs incurred for service to the correct forklift. Especially for logistics companies that have a large number of forklifts in operation, it is not so easy to keep track of everything. But this is precisely what is crucial for fleet optimization. With AI, however, document processing backlogs can be avoided quickly and easily. 

To process documents more reliably and increase the efficiency of the entire fleet, artificial intelligence offers a great opportunity. This is because it allows documents to be processed quickly, saving time, creating more efficient work processes and reducing unnecessary cost factors. Here, too, it is AI-based OCR that makes it possible to capture all data on costs and vehicles automatically as well as without any additional personnel effort. Once programmed, the data collection and processing runs completely independently. This not only saves costs through fleet optimization with AI, but also a lot of personnel costs. 

2. Making optimal use of vehicles by means of AI

For a well-functioning logistics department, it is also essential that all available forklifts are used as effectively as possible. In concrete terms, this means avoiding empty runs and warehouse peaks, reducing vehicle downtime, and utilizing all forklift potential. The problem for many logistics companies, however, is that they don’t even know how many forklifts they have in use or how many vehicles they even own – a clear case for fleet optimization with AI. 

Artificial intelligence makes it possible to record the entire forklift fleet using software. Fully automatically, it identifies the current state of the entire logistics department and defines the correct number of forklifts available. It records all vehicles and locates them in real time via the existing infrastructure of the warehouse. This is the necessary basis for optimally planning both the temporal (travel times) and the local (travel routes) deployment of the fleet. After all, fleet optimization with AI only works if the size of the forklift fleet is known. In addition, AI ensures that costs are recorded for the entire fleet and generates concrete recommendations for action – which closes the circle to cost minimization again. 

3. Optimal charging behavior through fleet optimization with AI

The batteries of the vehicles also play an important role in the optimal use of forklifts. Charging cycles and the availability of charging stations need to be well planned in order to avoid disruptions in the daily workflow. This can also be well realized using AI. This is because it helps to determine the current battery status of the forklift as well as the optimal time to charge the battery at the same time. This enables customized battery management, which in turn not only reduces vehicle downtime and bottlenecks at charging stations, but also increases overall battery life. Fleet optimization using AI therefore also helps ensure that companies can use each of their trucks according to their respective resources. This minimizes the overall cost of the forklift fleet and promotes much more efficient vehicle use. 

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