When you think of the way commerce and business has changed over the past couple of decades with increasing globalisation and the rise of internet shopping and same-day delivery, it makes perfect sense that things would have changed as much behind the scenes as they have at a customer-facing level.

That means warehouses are also necessarily different than they used to be several years ago, to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the marketplace.

With those changes to warehouses come changes to jobs, not least that of the forklift truck driver. These vital pieces of the retail jigsaw are operating in faster paced conditions than ever before, with less space and a round-the-clock demand for goods.

So how is the humble forklift changing to cope?

Far from turning to entirely automated ways of stacking and retrieving warehouse items, forklifts are being designed to serve their human operators as much as possible, putting drivers even more firmly in control.

Faster refueling

Where forklifts used to require frequent refueling, there are now forklifts on the market with rechargeable batteries which warn their drivers when they are due to run out of charge – giving them plenty of notice. A quick change of battery – leaving the empty one on charge – and you’re good to go without any stop in service.

Better maneuverability

More demand, more people in the warehouses means less space to move around and do the job forklifts need to do. New models can beat the larger, older and slower versions hands down, moving smoothly through tight spaces and reaching high racks with stability without needing to reach as far. Their turning circles are smaller and they move faster, so no getting stuck just because there’s less space than there used to be.

Data analytics

The forklifts of the future – and the most cutting edge models of today – can track their movements and deliver reports so that warehouse managers can look at where they’ve been and when. This allows warehouses to adjust little things about the environment that will help drivers to do their jobs even better.

Artificial intelligence

And on top of making forklifts even more efficient, this kind of technology can also help to make them safer by tracking their movements and the movements of other forklifts nearby. The result is far less risk of a collision, with safety features stopping accidents from happening in plenty of time.

Take your seat

If you want to get qualified in time to drive some of these incredible machines, training need only take a few days. Companies like Specialised HGV Training, with Forklift training course can teach you everything you need to know to get straight into the warehouse, and there are always plenty of jobs on offer for skilled and enthusiastic drivers.