Kimberly Clark's battery fleet management

Kimberly-Clark in Beach Island South Carolina owns and leases a fleet of 250+ batteries and 130+ chargers. KCBI maintained their battery room with a standard charge and cool rotation. This process was first managed by their forklift operators and then a national battery service and equipment vendor. The former saw employees reactive to battery failures and lack a controlled battery watering process or maintenance program. The latter was hired as a full-time, on-site battery room maintenance crew. MCP was called in to perform a warranty repair and was asked by KCBI to perform a complete fleet evaluation. Under the national battery vendor’s watch, KCBI’s entire battery fleet was at near critical failure with many batteries providing 1 – 2 hours of run time at best. MCP was subsequently awarded the battery room management contract.

What were the challenges / alternatives?
The largest challenge was to rehabilitate as much of the existing equipment as possible to keep the fleet running. Some batteries were over 10 years old and were cycled at least twice per day. MCP established a watering program and developed performance and maintenance histories on all equipment. Understanding of usage and utilization by department was another challenge as some were light duty and others ran over 10 hours a day. Communication and training with the KCBI operators and staff were integral for immediate improvements.

What was the solution?
To properly analyze and track results, MCP devised a system of reporting which included time-studies for each department, truck-hours, battery usage, and battery change times. Direct lines of communication were established with the forklift operators for battery complaints and said battery was logged and evaluations were completed. Battery run-times and overall repairs were decreased significantly through a/an equalization program, watering program, and PM schedules. The battery changing process was also addressed and decreased the time spent by 50% which also decreased internal safety ratings by 85% and change out equipment repair costs.

How is the solution working?
MCP has been awarded a new contract and over $1 million in new and improved equipment is to be delivered to KCBI. This contract will see MCP on site for over seven years. We continually strive to identify new opportunities for cost savings and process improvements by implementing new programs and procedures like opportunity charging.