Purchasing a new forklift or other material handling equipment can be expensive, but that’s just a fraction of what it costs to operate it efficiently, or inefficiently. Getting the most bang for your forklift buck means understanding the products you move and establishing baseline costs as a start. Here are 10 tips for optimizing your forklift fleet.
- Assess your fleet’s total cost. The cost of your forklift or material handling equipment is typically only about 20% of your total long-term cost. Find out what service is costing, parts, labor, break-downs, rentals, additional equipment kept on hand for break-downs, overtime resulting from down time etc… This can be a real eye opener.
- Optimize your forklift fleet by material flow. Determining what each piece of equipment is moving, where, when and how often can help you determine productivity and equipment choices. This way you can determine a lift truck’s cost per pallet move, rather than cost per operating hour.
- Find an integrated dealer that understands all facets of your business. Work with a company that not only sells equipment but understands all facets of material handling. These types of dealers can provide you with total solutions which encompass all the areas of your material handling operation.
- Get out of the service business. Get information and quotes for full maintenance leases from your dealer. You dealer knows your equipment better than you, and can maintain it to be more productive. Full maintenance takes the guess work out of total equipment operational costs by eliminating “surprise” repairs that often occur over time.
- If you perform your own service, look into parts programs. Parts availability is key to maintaining uptime, so an effective parts distribution network facilitated through a lift truck manufacturer and its local dealer is essential to keep your fleet running. Some dealers can provide parts for multiple brands and types of trucks. In addition, dealers will sometime consign parts to your facility, further improving your parts availability and uptime.
- Stay on top of equipment advancements. Like most facets of business, material handling advancements can improve your operation and productivity. Attend ProMat, stay connected with industry resources and work with a dealer that is on top of providing the latest in material handling products including forklifts, storage and retrieval and material moving equipment.
- Look into fleet management. Knowing the cost of operating equipment, where and how it is being utilized is key to allocation efficiency and productivity. Software programs are available that can provide you with this information. Work with a dealer that can provide these solutions to your operation.
- Invest in training early and often. Build a robust and active training program. Safety and productivity go hand in hand. Well trained operators and employees are proven to be more productive and safe. Training reduces your product and equipment damage costs, injury, insurance and many other latent costs of fleet and equipment operation.
Optimizing your materials handling operation takes a bit of work. However, working with an integrated materials handling partner will take a lot of the load off your shoulders and help you operate a more efficient and effective materials handling operation.
Give us a call at 800-322-LIFT to speak to one of our material handling professionals.