Avoid the Flu Like the Plague

https://www.psndealer.com/dealersite/images/brodietoyotalift/Flu.pngEach flu season in America, between 5% and 20% of American’s contract the flu. This leads to 111 million lost productive work days, which costs American business approximately 7 billion dollars! In addition, the direct costs (doctor’s visits, medication, hospitalization) cost individuals over 4.5 billion dollars a year! Source: CDC

Whether it’s in your accounting department or forklift operators, you want to limit an outbreak at your company and contain any outbreak that does occur.

The effects of lost productivity can have a great effect on your ability to deliver products and services and provide customer service, which can lead to a negative impact on your bottom line. But there are things you can do to lower the risk at the department level and facility level. It all starts with planning and communication.

  1. Developing a plan to combat influenza? Businesses plan for all sorts of calamities and naturally occurring disasters. Does your company have a preparedness plan to prevent a flu outbreak? A tremendous amount of information is available to help you plan for and combat an outbreak of the flu a http://www.flu.gov/planning-preparedness/business/
  2. Educate your employees and take steps to encourage vaccination. One study showed a decrease in over 71% in hospitalizations when a flu vaccination was administered to adults of all ages (source). Flu vaccines not only reduce the chances of contracting the flu, but it also reduces the effects of the flu if an employee contracts it, thus enabling them to get back to full productivity sooner.
  3. Use Resources. The CDC has a great Business Tool Kit to help you educate your employees about the flu, how to prevent it and what to do if you think you are coming down with it. Visit the CDC Business Tool Kit Webapge.
  4. Proper sanitary procedures are also essential during the flu season. Placing hand sanitizers throughout your facility and encouraging if not outright requiring their use will help contain the spread of the virus, should an employee become infected. There are additional steps you can take to prevent the spread of the flu, including increasing janitorial services or assigning teams to assist in the sanitization of routinely used and shared points, such as water fountains, door knobs/handles, bathrooms, and kitchens.
  5. Send them home! If an employee starts to show the signs of influenza, it’s important to remove them from the facility as soon as possible and require that they remain home until symptoms have subsided, particularly a fever.
  6. Seek immediate attention. If you or anyone around starts to feel fatigue, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever or any of the other first signs of the flu, get to a doctor and ask about anti-viral drugs. These drugs can cut your misery in half, as well as your time off work, and productivity.

The effects of flu season can be dramatic if left unaddressed. But developing a plan to deal with the flu and spreading education before the flu spreads itself around your facility will help you maintain your business productivity during this flu season.

Our focus is frequently on productivity, and this is not always about equipment and processes. Sometimes peripheral components can have an impact on our bottom lines, and it is important to us to serve as your partner in addressing all facts of productivity. We encourage you to visit the flu.gov site to learn more.

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Four Reasons to Consider Electric Forklifts

Slowly but surely, electric forklifts are carrying more of the daily material handling load. Some of the reasons are obvious, but it is clear to most that eventually we must do more than continue to burn fossil fuels in the transportation of our products.

We still have a ways to go before electric forklifts can perform all the tasks as well as their LP forklift counterparts. However, most forklift manufacturers are improving performance and outdoor durability with each passing year. It is only a matter of time before they catch up.  There a good reasons for this transfer of power, a few major reasons are:

  1. Reduced maintenance costs – Electric forklifts have fewer moving parts than their internal combustion counterparts. Fewer parts, means reduced maintenance, which results in a considerable reduction in maintenance.
  2. Greatly reduced environmental impact – Electric forklift do not burn fossil fuels, reducing carbon footprint. They also require no disposal of motor oils. The units stay cleaner as a result and so does your operation!
  3. Improved ergonomics and working environment – Electric forklifts are quieter with nearly no vibrations to deal with. This provides a more comfortable operating atmosphere for your forklift operators as well as the rest of the personnel that work around your lift trucks. Noise in your facility is reduced to almost zero when it comes to your lift trucks, making communications between employees easier.
  4. Supply chain trends to go green – Every year, more and more companies are encouraging if not outright requiring their suppliers to improve their impact on the environment and electric forklifts are one of the major steps that companies are taking to do so.

While we have some work to do, it’s pretty clear that electric forklifts are making great strides to become a mainstay in materials handling equipment. And right now with the introduction of Lithium Ion Batteries in our BYD Forklift line-up and Section 179 tax deductions, there has never been a better time to consider trading in your internal combustion forklifts for a smooth running, cost saving electric powered lift truck.

To learn more about electric lift trucks and what they can mean to your operation, please contact us at 800-322-LIFT.

Purchase Price vs. Total Ownership Cost

When you are purchasing a piece of equipment, you obtain competitive quotes, verify specifications and generate a purchase order. For that matter, just about anything we purchase goes through the same process. However, there is much more to purchasing forklifts and other material handling equipment. We have found, over the years, that often there are variables that can greatly affect the total cost of ownership of anything, be it an automobile, forklift or a giant cargo container.

The price you pay for your piece of equipment, by most accounts, reflects about 10% of the total ownership costs of that piece of equipment. This leaves 90% of your total costs up in the air. Depending on many variables, you could pay much more for the equipment than you needed to, or much less. These variables include:

Performance and Reliability of Equipment – Comparing cost per hour to operate can give you a good idea of what competing pieces of equipment will cost you over their useful life. When comparing cost per hour to operate, you should be sure you’re comparing similar models under similar circumstances. A lift truck operating 1500 hours a year for a light weight product manufacturer will cost far less over its lifetime than the same lift truck operating at a recycling facility.  This cost should reflect general maintenance requirements as well as fuel costs.

Fuel Consumption – While this is often a part of performance and cost per hour, knowing the fuel costs for each comparing brand and calculating total costs over the life of the equipment can sometimes be quite an eye-opener. In addition, what are your fuel alternatives? Can you use electric models? Thinking outside the box may result in lower costs to power your forklift and other lift equipment.

Specifications vs. Operations – It is rare that two 5,000-lb-capacity forklifts from competing brands will have similar specifications. Knowing what your facility will accommodate and comparing that with each model will give you insight into how each model will perform, given your operating parameters. Factors include: aisle width vs. turn radius, draw bar pull, suspension and ergonomics compared to your floor condition, indoor/outdoor use and ceiling height/rack height vs. max lift height. You will also want to compare features between brands to ensure that each lift truck model is equipped with the proper components to meet your operational requirements. For example: Can it operate properly inside your ice cream freezer?

Ergonomics – A comfortable and smooth-running piece of equipment will provide you with increased productivity. These are costs hidden in equipment that are quite real in daily operating conditions. How much time and research and development, does each brand put into the comfort and ease of use of their equipment? Happy, comfortable operators are simply more productive.

Safety – Never underestimate the safety features of your equipment. What equipment is being specified and what equipment is optional from each manufacturer is very important to know.  Reducing your accident costs or product/facility damage can make a big difference in your total fleet operational expenses.

Useful Life – Finally, how many hours can you expect from each piece of equipment until the cost to operate becomes cost-prohibitive? This can vary widely depending upon brand and model. But having some qualitative and quantitative information on hand, if possible, will help you make a better decision about the total cost of operating each unit/model.

There are many factors beyond price tag or lease rate that can help you make good decisions about the equipment you purchase. Having a partner that listens, evaluates and fulfills your needs is essential in building a fleet that is most productive and less costly in the long run. Contact us at 800-322-5438 to speak to one of our material handling professionals about the right material handling equipment for your operation.