Toyota, Sprint Team Up to Create Wireless Forklift Networks

Photo courtesy of  Forklift Kiralama

Photo courtesy of Forklift Kiralama

A manufacturing company with multiple facilities has a fleet of forklifts that are rotated from site to site. Managers need information on where, how and when each individual vehicle is being used.

Until now, collecting this information was a cumbersome process that involved a series of phone calls, taking endless notes, and spending hours — if not days — compiling data into a format that could be used to make decisions about how best to utilize the fleet.

Today, thanks to a new wireless vehicle management system created by Toyota Industrial Equipment and the wireless carrier Sprint, all of this can be done instantly using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile devices.

Instant Decision Making

Toyota and Sprint spent two years developing its new T-Matics vehicle management system, which was recently introduced into the marketplace and is now available as both embedded and aftermarket technology on many of its industrial vehicles.

The T-Matics MOBILE network uses cellular signals to create monitoring and analytic capabilities that allow fleet managers to instantly and continually access information about both individual forklifts and entire fleets, said Jewell Brown, Toyota’s national manager of fleet management, in a news release.

“T-Matics  MOBILE works on a cellular signal for companies that rotate forklift fleets between facilities,” Brown said. “Sprint is the perfect partner to help T-Matics MOBILE customers instantly gather data across multiple facilities to make decisions to increase forklift fleet efficiency, uptime, and overall safety.”

Data Managers Can Use

Wireless data collection enables the vehicle maintenance system to compile reports that fleet managers can use to:

  • Track forklifts for better operational visibility
  • Gain and analyze unique data
  • Facilitate data-driven decisions regarding the forklift fleet

The result is that forklifts become more than simply tools that can be used to move materials from one place to another. Instead, they become intelligent communications centers that provide managers the information they need to streamline efficiency, improve productivity, and enhance profits, according to Mohamad Nasser, Sprint’s senior director for product, platforms and marketing.

Working with Toyota is just one way the wireless company is seeking innovative uses for its products and technology, he said.

“At Sprint, our vision goes beyond connecting millions of smartphones and tablets,” Nasser said.

Multiple vs Fixed Locations

T-Matics is actually made up of two separate products: T-Matics MOBILE and T-Matics COMMAND.

T-Matics MOBILE uses cellular signals to communicate with fleets that may rotate facilities while T-Matics COMMAND is for fleets in fixed locations. Both systems track current usages and long-term operating trends.

The system is the result of strong research and collaboration between Toyota, its partners, and its dealers. It is expected to strengthen the company’s fleet management offerings and greatly increase the level of customer support the company provides, according to Terry Rains, Toyota’s vice president of aftermarket sales.



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