There's An App For That!

How do you train today’s tech-savvy workforce? With an App on their smartphone, of course.

Let’s face it, the next generation of labor will have spent their entire lives with a connection to the Internet and a cell phone in their pocket. If you want to know how to Facetime, download an App, or send a text, all you have to do is ask the nearest teenager to show you. So how are companies reaching out to this next wave of workers to enter the labor pool … through their cell phones.

With more and more companies along the food supply chain embracing advancing technology to improve operations at every phase, it only makes sense to use the same cutting-edge technology to train lift truck operators for performance and safety. 

Toyota Material Handling Group is one of the first lift truck companies to embrace mobile technology and its possibilities, designing an interactive game called Forklift Challenge that allows fleet managers and warehouse managers to train workers on their phones. The mobile game is what Toyota calls a counterbalance lift truck racing game, where a player picks up and drops off cargo in a harbor and simulates actual forklift practices against a clock. The interactive app also teaches the basics of how to operate Toyota forklifts, allowing users to practice and improve tasks like speed reduction when cornering, mast tilt angle control, rear tilt angle control, fork leveling control and steering. 

Companies are also creating easy-to-use apps to handle daily and pre-shift OSHA safety inspections, another way technology is helping companies connect with today’s tech-savvy workforce. For as little as $4.99 you can download apps like Forklift Safety Pro that helps users perform pre-shift inspections electronically, sending the completed reports wirelessly to a supervisor’s email. The app is also designed to ask a daily safety questions and keep track of and alert users when they are due for re-certification.

“There are huge efficiencies that are gained,” said Dale Verseput, director of sales at Select Equipment Sales Inc., makers of Forklift Safety Pro. “Operators who drive the same unit each day can store their default specs in the app and speed up their inspection time even further. The report is time stamped, secure, and piles of illegible inspection forms and their folders and notebooks are eliminated.”