Your company has a lot invested in its forklifts. If you have multiple forklifts in operation, you need to be strategic about keeping them safely running for as long as possible. To help you maintain your return on investment, we’ve put together several forklift fleet management strategies.
Performing planned maintenance (PMs) according to the manufacturer’s recommendation is essential. While some companies have staff who can do this work, many find it more efficient to set up a PM agreement with a forklift dealer. They have technicians on staff who can go to your facility to complete maintenance and repairs.
Preventive maintenance contracts ensure routine service is documented and conducted at suggested intervals. PMs help keep operational costs stable and reduce downtime and associated repair expenses by identifying minor issues before they become major problems.
Conduct daily inspections
OSHA mandates that before beginning each shift, you check your forklift for any issues or signs of damage. Operators need to be trained to recognize problems with the equipment, so they can immediately alert management if they suspect something is wrong. Conducting these inspections will also help keep your fleet costs lower, because you will catch issues early, before they turn into bigger, costlier problems.
Train your fleet operators
Adequately training your operators is also mandated by OSHA. Your operators need to know the forklifts they drive inside and out. They have to understand their machine’s limits, what normal operation sounds and feels like, and when something is not working as it is supposed to. Operator training also teaches them how to use their forklifts effectively, which can reduce fuel and repair costs.
Keep communication lines open
Communication between management and operators is a crucial piece to forklift fleet management. As the people who use the forklifts day in and day out, operators should feel comfortable sharing ideas for better utilizing the equipment or making the operation more efficient, in addition to reporting issues they spot. Management should also clearly communicate maintenance schedules and operation rules or expectations, so everyone is on the same page, and everything runs smoothly.
Maintain detailed records
With forklift fleet management software, like Toyota MyFleet, (MyToyota) you can keep reliable records for all your machines in one place. Good records help owners or managers accurately predict machine productivity and operational costs, such as working hours, fuel consumption, maintenance expenses, and more. Armed with that information, you can make better decisions when it’s time to decide whether to replace or repair your forklift. Plus, you can purchase parts and access warranty information within the MyFleet platform.
When to retire or trade in your old forklift
A typical forklift lasts about 10,000 hours, which works out to be six to seven years when operating it on a single shift during a 40 hour work week. Forklifts may last a longer or shorter period than that, depending on operating conditions and how well the machine was maintained. We recommend starting to think about retiring your forklift at that 10,000 hour mark or when the annual maintenance costs approach or exceed its resale value.
If you have questions about forklift fleet management strategies, then contact the JIT team today!