Considerations to keep in mind when refreshing your fleet

by Charlie Buelow | Thu, Jan 31, 2019

Lift trucks are critical assets to most supply chain and manufacturing operations. Being just one lift truck short can put significant strain on the other forklifts and your employees, plus cost your business time and money.

Chances are, the significance of your fleet is not lost on you. Of the 42 percent of logistics and materials handling professionals who told Logistics Management they planned to invest in their facilities in 2018, 56 percent said they would focus on forklifts. Adding new or replacing old forklifts can be a beneficial way to improve both productivity and safety at your facility.

However, as with any major investment, there are a few important considerations you may want to make before completing the purchase or lease agreement. It's not always as simple as re-upping on your previous fleet; it's possible that changing things up in your fleet replacement strategy can be advantageous to your workplace.

Review your data

When making a major decision like how to replace your fleet, data can provide immense value.

Review any data you have pertaining to the performance and maintenance requirements of your current fleet to get an idea of how well it worked for your operation. If there were significant numbers of maintenance requests, it may be a sign that a tweak in your forklift strategy could be helpful.

Then again, certain data may indicate that other areas of your facility are hard on your trucks. If there are a lot of tire-related issues, consider whether the problem lies in the tires or your concrete floor.

Fuel vs. electric

One choice you'll likely consider is whether to continue using fuel-powered forklifts or make the switch to electric. There are numerous benefits to choosing electric; they're quieter and expel fewer fumes into your workplace, to name a couple.

There are also challenges when moving from fuel to electric fork trucks, like creating safe and compliant charging stations and mobile power management processes. Though there are advantages to be realized from switching from fuel to electric trucks, it's also important to meticulously plan out the transition, or work with power partners trained in LP conversions.

Forklift class and load capacity

Before opting for the same style of fleet you had before, consider whether your forklifts truly worked for your operation at all times. If there was ever an instance where a different class or load capacity could have been helpful, you may want to adjust your forklift portfolio.

If you choose to invest in a new forklift class, remember that drivers must go through a refresher training when they're assigned to drive a different type of truck, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. This means that, if you'll need workers to operate unfamiliar types of vehicles, you may need to arrange new training sessions ahead of time.

Let NMS provide a sound recommendation

You already know that you need a functional forklift fleet for your operation. But if you're unsure of whether you're investing in the right type or amount of vehicles, getting a second opinion can help you make an informed decision.

Technicians at National Maintenance Services can give you an expert recommendation for fleet replacement based on your unique situation. Further, they can help you make sure your battery charging station is safe, your forklifts are being maintained properly and more. To learn more about working with an embedded technician, contact NMS today.

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