Forklift training tools enhance operators, operations

In order to capture, process and share more information in their warehouses, companies have been using rugged mobile devices on their forklifts. The following article explains how companies are improving the efficiency of forklift operators by training them online with the help of virtual reality.

Virtual reality, simulations and online training tools unlock fleet productivity and efficiency.

Forklift operator training has come a long way in a short time. Sitting in a classroom flipping through textbooks or PowerPoints or listening to a lecture have been replaced with on-demand, interactive digital content. Virtual reality (VR) and simulation tools can now give operators real experience in a controlled test environment.

The training practices of yesteryear always faced difficult constraints. You need trainers, and not everyone has enough staff to take the best operators out of service so trainees get the necessary attention. You need more equipment and not many have extra equipment sitting around. Aside from the benefits of the newest training tools for operators, operations are improved by taking fewer resources to provide that training.

“The newest technology, and VR specifically, eliminates that,” says Steven LaFevers, vice president of emerging technology for Hyster. “This allows them to take up less space, with just a headset and a laptop, and a supervisor can feel comfortable the company has provided adequate training before they put an operator into a pretty big piece of steel.”

When they’re ready for the real thing, an operator can see their own metrics on the dash, including their last impact and their latest productivity measurements so they can self-monitor and self-guide, LaFevers says. During their pre-shift checklist, they can also receive training reminders or a notice that a certification is soon to expire. In addition to providing real-time feedback to trainees, modern training tools also report problem areas to trainers, who can then reinforce specific skills with one-on-one coaching.

The result is more than merely teaching proper forklift usage. Modern operator training tools are now central to operational efficiency, providing visibility, control and safety while optimizing productivity. LaFevers says fleets can see as much as a 50% productivity improvement with a combination of training and telematics.

He says customers are also investing extensively in peripheral safety features like alarms, alerts and lights to illuminate the floor near a forklift.

“What you can see now about an operator and a unit versus what you could see five years ago is completely different,” says Gijo George, director of major accounts for Hyster. “There was very little insight, and as that insight becomes more available we’re seeing a direct correlation between training-thoughtful, technology-led training- and productivity.”

Supervisors appreciate effective training and data visibility, but these tools don’t seek to distance managers from their fleets. They offer an opportunity to become more engaged and more effectively communicate with operators.

“First and foremost, the tools enable consistency,” George says. “Each trainer is different and every student is unique in terms of how they consume information. In these two diverse communities, technology makes sure the content is delivered and absorbed as intended. You then have the ability to measure and evaluate your success.”

Josh Bond is Modern’s senior editor


This article was written by Josh Bond from Modern Materials Handling and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to