Forklift Fleet Optimization

TLI Forklift Fleet OptimizationPurchasing 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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Cal-Lift Earns Dealer of the Year, 2017 from BYD

BYD, (Building Your Dreams), the company has been revolutionizing the rechargeable battery since 1995 has announced that Cal-Lift Inc. has earned the Dealer of the Year Award for 2017.

Cal-Lift is honored to have received this award, having placed more lithium iron phosphate batteries (Le) forklifts in service than any other dealer in America. We are very pleased with the way that the Southern California materials handling, storage and distribution market has embraced lithium battery technology.

Our customers are seeing safer and more efficient electric forklift operations. No battery changing stations, one battery per truck and each battery is warrantied for ten years. And with a proven company like BYD standing by the product, it reduces fears of being “early adopters” of this technology.

We look forward to even more success with BYD products and their fleet offerings are expanded and more companies become aware of the savings and safety improvements of the BYD products.

To learn more about BYD forklifts, please visit their website. To see our line-up of BYD electric forklifts, please visit our BYD forklift showroom. Photos are below of the presentation.

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Mike Marrs, Vice President of Sales, Cal-Lift and Mark Maechling, President, Cal-Lift accepting the award from Brian Rippie and Macy Neshati of BYD.

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Maximizing Warehouse Space with Aislemaster

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The Aisle-Master VNA articulated forklift is the versatile lift truck that does it all. It works in narrow aisles to enable a dramatic reduction of working aisle widths in the warehouse.  This can increase the amount of storage space available by up to 50%. The Aisle-Master Very Narrow Aisle forklift is designed to work both inside and out, and can do the work of both reach and counterbalance forklifts for quicker operations. This reduces the number of trucks needed and cuts costs. AC electric and LPG powered models are available with lift capacities of up to 2.5t.

Easy Operation

The Aisle-Master couldn’t be easier to operate. The articulated design enables the operator to drive to the center of the pallet required, turn the steering, mast through 90 degrees and then drive directly into the pallet. The operator then simply reverses out while unwinding the steering wheel.

Indoors & Out

The Aisle-Master’s large super elastic tires and hydrostatic drive make light work of loading and off-loading in semi-rough yards, and ensure a smooth ride regardless of the terrain. Ramps or gradients are mastered effortlessly with the truck’s 67 horse power engine.

Safety & Comfort

Manufacturing standards at Aisle-Master have long been in accordance with the stringent USA regulations, with build quality and safety featuring uppermost on the company’s agenda. All the fundamental aspects of the Aisle-Master’s design, from the overhead guard for enhanced driver protection, the ergonomics of the controls, down to the high quality seating, guarantee the highest level of operator safety and comfort.

Low Maintenance

Aisle-Master’s hydrostatic drive system eliminates the problems associated with batteries and brake motors, further reducing maintenance and overall running costs.

Learn more about Aisle-Master at our website. Then contact us for more information or an Aisle-Master to fit your operation at 800-322-5438.

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Tomtop Inc., in City of Industry utilizes Aisle-Master forklifts from Cal-Lift to maximize warehouse space and decrease storage costs. Find out how you can save too by contacting us at 800-322-5438.

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.