Fork Handler Category

Why is Process Optimization Important?

process optimization picture

Welcome back to the Arrow MHP blog! As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation outside of engineering quality products for your customers. For this edition, we want to dive into process optimization — why it is important and how to go about improving your processes and ultimately your customer experience.

What is Process Optimization

Process optimization is the practice of incrementally adjusting a business process towards its maximum potential without negatively affecting other parts of the process. The most common goals of process optimization are minimizing costs and maximizing efficiency, common and ongoing goals for almost any business.

Why is Process Optimization Important?

At first glance, it may seem like process optimization is a fancy way of saying “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” However, you could find ways to make small improvements that result in big rewards by examining your processes. Any function of your business can be explored as the “process” in question and evaluated step-by-step to identify areas that have room for improvement. Refreshing the approach can breathe new life into a business that is stuck in its own way or only thinks certain areas are improvement opportunities. Process optimization puts all options back on the table and can be treated like a return to the drawing board.

How should it work?

When embarking on process optimization, you should look at every step of your chosen process while asking questions from the following assessment list found here (or a similar one) to identify potential improvements:


  • Are we using antiquated methods that can be improved with new tools?
  • What repetitive steps can be consolidated?
  • Are some steps blocked by other processes?

Answering these questions and others that come up will get you much closer to having a cohesive process that moves as quickly and efficiently as possible, getting you out of the doing-things-the-way-they-have-always-been-done mentality.

Resource Management

  • Are we wasting money on things that we are not using?
  • Wasting product or resources that could be allocated elsewhere in the process?
  • Are we wasting time?

Identifying wasted money, product and time is critical in optimization because it is going to be the easiest area to see results. Sometimes it can go hand in hand with streamlining and you realize that you are already saving time, but other times it encourages you to be more resourceful and consider everything that you are spending money on as a resource. This mindset can open the door to drastic improvement.

Error Reduction

  • Are there mistakes that are made consistently in this process?
  • What steps carry the most risk for error?
  • Can these errors be corrected during the process or prevented by changing the process?

Correcting common errors in the process you are evaluating can be as simple a tweak that has not been thought of before. Understanding what steps or actions in the process carry the most risk also allows you to insulate those steps and make sure you keep the errors to a minimum. Without evaluation, common errors can just become another part of the process instead of being addressed correctly.


  • What are the common concerns with our products or services?
  • Do we have to send a lot of replacements or provide refunds for similar issues?
  • Can our products or services be better?

Assessing quality is something every business should do. The keys are to listen to both your customers and internal stakeholders and continuously review your product, services and processes. Identifying areas for improvement before a customer reports a quality issue can save valuable resources in the long run. Proactive improvement is vital to improving overall customer satisfaction.


  • Are we asking customers what they think?
  • Are more customers satisfied than not satisfied?
  • What do our customers like about us?
  • What can be done to address these concerns?

Customer satisfaction should be objective #1 for any business. If you cannot answer the above questions with insightful information from customers, that is where this step should begin. When you don’t offer a constant repository for feedback, you often only hear negative issues or complaints. By constantly soliciting feedback, you are offering customers a place to share the good, not just the needs improvement. You can use the feedback to replicate the positive experience for more customers or even adjust your target audience if you see trends in the types of customers that are satisfied with you.

What Does It Look Like?

Here is a brief example of what happened when we used process optimization in our daily procedures:

At our corporate manufacturing facility, we constantly handle forklift forks. Between selling and using them, forklift forks have a big footprint on our business. Through conversation and observation, it was realized that the way forks were being handled was not as efficient or safe as it could be. Some of the process optimization checklist items that applied in our case were:

  • Streamlining: Forks are being transported one at a time or having to be touched multiple times to be placed on pallets separately.
  • Resource Management: Pallets were being used unnecessarily; more time was being taken to transport forks; more people had to be involved in the transportation because there was no uniform way of handling forks.
  • Error Reduction: Handling forks different ways always left more room for forks to be dropped or mishandled.

To improve this process, our engineering, production and material handling teams worked together to create a new tool for internal use: “the fork handler”. This new tool transports multiple forks safely at once, and can be used to install forks on a forklift without ever needing to touch the forks by hand. This tool made a positive impact on efficiency and reduced the possibility for several OSHA recordable workplace injuries. Dealers and others who handle forks have shown extreme interest in the fork handler and we are now offering them as a new product – passing on the benefits of our process optimization to end users.

What do you think is the most important step above? Do you have any process optimization success stories to share? Questions about process optimization? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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