When you are purchasing a new forklift or aerial lift, 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 888-530-1832 to speak to one of our material handling professionals about the right forklift for your operation.
Each day, your forklift bears the brunt of your material handling operation. It works hard for you day after day, rarely complaining about the workload or its surroundings. Occasionally it tells you something is wrong, by breaking down. But waiting for a breakdown is expensive. Repairs are more costly once a breakdown occurs and breakdowns can create dangerous situations at your facility. Have you ever wondered what a forklift might tell you, if it could talk? We did, and came up with the following:
- “I’m not getting inspected frequently enough.” Although OSHA requires pre-shift inspections, few companies require them. Pre-shift inspections ensure that if I get sick, you catch it quickly, before it becomes a dangerous and costly situation. You can find forms to help my operators inspect me on Apex Material Handling’s forklift safety training page.
- “I think my operators need more training.” They jerk me from forward to reverse, to forward again, putting a strain on my transmission. They don’t slow down at intersections or use my safety features as frequently as they should. My horn is rarely used, I don’t have any strobe lights and I’m afraid I might end up in an accident. I don’t want to get hurt and I sure don’t want to hurt anyone else. I think we need some additional operator training.
- “My co-workers need more attention.” You put all of us on the same service cycles. The other guys work harder, lift more weight, more frequently and need to be seen by Apex’s forklift service pros more often. Give them a call.
- “My feet hurt.” These tires are old, they have chunks missing, they’re worn and at the end of the day, I can’t wait to stop and give them a break. Worn and damaged tires use more fuel, make my operator more fatigued and create a dangerous work environment. When’s the last time you inspected my tires carefully?
- “I’m shocked at how my electric friends are being treated.” I run on gas, but my electric friends are always complaining about their batteries, that the water levels aren’t inspected enough and they get hot all too often. They also complain about how they get charged at weird times and it doesn’t feel good. Maybe you should talk to their operators about how they use their electric forklifts. I’m told batteries are really expensive and making them last as long as possible is best for everyone.
Have you ever wondered what else your forklifts might tell you, if they could talk? Our team of service professionals can share their experience with you to determine the best plan to keep all your forklifts operating at peak efficiency and productivity. Happy and healthy forklifts are more productive and safer for those on them, and around them. Contact us to speak to a service professional today. Next time you talk to your forklift, you’ll get nothing but “thank you’s” and compliments.
When it comes to servicing your forklift or any product related to your forklift in Peoria, one call to Apex is all it takes. We service all makes and models forklifts. From the forks on the front, to the counterweight in the back, and everything in between, we are here to make sure your forklift fleet’s productivity is operating at peak performance. You can count on us for prompt professional and courteous for:
- 24 Hour On-Call Forklift Service
- Factory Trained Technicians
- Radio Dispatched Service Vehicles
- Advanced GPS Dispatching Program
- Portable Welding
- NO Hourly Travel Charge
- NO Environmental Surcharges
- NO Fuel Surcharge
- NO Consumable Materials Charge
- Carbon Monoxide Testing
- Scrap Pickup – FREE!
- In-House Maintenance
- Battery Reconditioning
- Battery Load Testing
- Battery Planned Maintenance
- Charger Planned Maintenance
- Comprehensive Inspections
- Complete Repair Capabilities
- See our Service Guarantee
Additional Forklift and Fleet Services Available in Peoria
- Learn about our forklift Planned Maintenance Programs can save you money and improve your productivity and bottom line performance.
- Want to get out of the forklift fleet management business? Let us do it for you with one of our ForkliftFleet Management Programs tailored to your needs.
- Don’t forget your forklift batteries and chargers. Our Power Factor Service maximizes useful life, improves performance and reduces your forklift battery and charger costs.
Want to talk to us about service for your materials handling equipment? Complete our Service Request Form and we’ll get right back to you.
Apex Material Handling
5701 W. Smithville Road
Peoria, IL 61607
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In recent articles about forklift fleet service, we have discussed the benefits of properly maintaining your equipment. There is no doubt that companies that engage in robust and comprehensive equipment maintenance save money in the long run and improve the efficiency of their forklift fleets.
Establishing a program that proactively maintains your equipment to maximize productivity takes just a bit of work. But with the right partner by your side, the process can be much easier to set up and manage. Following are three tips we suggest in order to establish programs that maximize productivity and reduce your overall costs.
We observe, most of the time, that all equipment in your facility are not utilized the same way or under the same conditions. Some equipment might sit idle for a few hours each day and lift/transport far less overall weight. We suggest not only analyzing the hours each piece of equipment is used, but also how it is used. A piece of equipment used outdoors will required more attention than the same piece of equipment used indoors in a warehouse setting. Using both quantitative and qualitative information will help you develop a service plan that treats each piece of equipment uniquely and provides for the proper level of maintenance.
Quantitative Information – This would include the number of hours used each year, the average weight of each load hauled, service history, equipment age and any other quantitative information available through any type of fleet management software you may use.
Qualitative Information – This information is usually observation-oriented and includes the type of conditions under which each forklift operates, and the training or experience level of the operator. This observation would also include the types of loads each piece of equipment hauls. Hauling seafood off the dock versus processing retail-ready seafood, for example, will result in two very different wear-and-tear scenarios.
Although they are required by OSHA, we have found that most companies do not perform pre-shift inspections. And we can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten a call from a customer who has had to lock out a unit as a result of a pre-shift inspection because the unit is not fit for operation.
Pre-shift inspections will results in catching small maintenance issues before they blossom into giant repair headaches and dangerous scenarios. Performing inspections also reduces your liability should an accident occur during a shift. Being able to provide a recent and thorough inspection prior to operating the equipment will help your cause dramatically, should litigation occur.
You can find pre-shift inspection forms on our website HERE.
Having a service partner who has the experience, skills and trained repair staff to work with you is a major key to a successful program. Not all service providers are created equal; selecting one based on price could result in spending more without reaping the benefits. Instead, select a partner that has demonstrated to you that they understand your equipment, your operation and have the trained staff to execute your service plan. Doing so will give you the desired outcome for your operation. To help ascertain the ability of your potential service partner, inquire about the following:
- Training that the service technicians receive (formal and informal)
- Experience level of service staff (including technicians)
- Level of experience in servicing your type of equipment
- References from other clients that utilized similar equipment under similar operating conditions
- Visit their facility to see how it operates. You can pick up pretty quickly whether the facility is organized and professionally represented.
Taking the time to establish a comprehensive service program takes a bit more work up-front, but in the long run it pays for itself many times over. To discuss your service program with our trained staff of service professionals, please contact us, or call us at 888-530-1832.
Like anything else in life, whether it’s your car, your home or even your body, planning and conducting preventive maintenance creates long-term benefits that are well worth the investment. Why would your forklift and other materials handling equipment be any different?
There are many benefits of properly maintaining your forklift fleet and other equipment. We however have seen five major benefits that our customers have enjoyed. Planned Maintenance will:
Lower Your Maintenance Costs
Proactive and preventive maintenance has proven to lower costs by catching small
service issues before they blossom into giant repair headaches.
Improve Useful Equipment Life
Equipment that serviced regularly doesn’t have to be “turned over” as frequently. This lowers your
equipment costs over time.
Equipment that is well maintained, doesn’t break down. This improves productivity as well as your
bottom line performance.
Increase Residual Values
When you trade-in your equipment, or sell it to purchase new equipment, well maintained equipment
has proven to have higher values than equipment serviced on an “as needed” basis.
Enhance Facility Safety
Equipment failures can have catastrophic consequences. Properly maintaining your
equipment will improve operator safety, as well as those that work around your equipment.
Having the right partner in maintaining your equipment is as important as selecting the right doctor for your physical. Our trained, experienced technicians perform thousands of Planned Maintenance service calls each year. Learn more about Planned Maintenance, then Contact Us or give us a call at 888-530-1832 for a tailored plan for your equipment and operation.
Although OSHA requires a pre-shift operational inspection of each piece of forklift equipment, we have found that many companies do not perform them. This practice exposes companies to fines should an OSHA inspection take place. It also puts your company at risk of liability should an accident take place due to a faulty piece of equipment. These two reasons alone should cause most to re-think their pre-shift inspection policy. We suggest a third, very important reason to conduct pre-shift inspections. Catching small maintenance issues is far more cost effective than letting them blossom into giant repair headaches.
Now, don’t get us wrong. We won’t turn down big shop jobs that cost thousands of dollars and were more than ready to perform them for anyone that contacts us. The facts are we have heard many times form clients who conduct regular inspections about damaged hydraulic hoses, tires about to come apart, loose fan belts…and other things that are not reported until a failure occurs. As it often can be when these major failures occur we end up picking your truck up and bringing it back to your shop instead of making the smaller repair at your facility that led to a much more expensive failure.
Like any preventative measures, inspections take a little time, but can pay off big in the long run. For more information on pre-shift inspections please visit the OSHA Powered Industrial Truck website. If you need a pre-shift inspection form you can get it free. Click here for Electric Truck Pre-Shift Inspection Form and here for IC Truck Pre-Shift Inspection Form. And remember, if you find anything not operating properly follow OSHA’s requirement by locking the truck out of service and reporting it to maintenance or call us for service at 888-530-1832.