Manufacturing has experienced some good fortune in recent years. Of course, along with a thriving industry come price fluctuations – ones that both benefit and hinder industry professionals. For example, consumer spending increased the demand for material handling equipment, thereby driving up their prices. You’ve probably noticed this over the last few years, especially if you’ve had to purchase a forklift. With larger equipment like lift trucks, however, the increase also comes from the cost of steel. This price has been on a steady increase the last few years, and it’s looking to stay that way. If you need to replace your forklift, now is the best time to explore your other options. Here are 4 considerations:
- Find alternative equipment. You may be surprised how much of your lift truck usage is driving and not lifting. It would save you money on both the initial investment and the ongoing maintenance to get a different piece of equipment for horizontal movement. The most effective and widely-used substitute is an electric tug, or electric cart mover. These tugs lend to all kinds of push/pull tasks to get more moved in one load by just one person. It’s the safest, most efficient way to not only substitute forklifts, but also boost your productivity.
- For some companies, the need for the equipment doesn’t justify the cost. Alternatively, you might already have electric cart movers, but you occasionally need a lift truck for vertical movement. Renting one may be a cost-effective option for you, especially if you have someone who can drive the equipment.
- Buy used and be smart. If this is an option for you, make sure you know the true condition of the equipment before you buy it. Additionally, take good care of it once you own it. Ongoing maintenance is an expense, but in the end it can save you significant repair costs. For tips on taking care of your forklift, see #4.
- Be proactive about keeping your lift trucks as inexpensive as possible. Maintaining your lift trucks will spare you costs later – costs that can be devastating. Here are some important tips to keep your overall forklift costs at a minimum:
- Avoid damage by matching the charger to the correct battery. However many cells your battery has, twice that is the voltage. Make sure you match it with the same voltage charger.
- Industrial forklift batteries need to be watered every 5-10 charges depending on the battery age
- Properly train your forklift drivers – this will not only help prevent accidents but also teach operators what to look for in the case that everything is not running properly
Whatever option is best for you, be smart. Use the right tool for the job, meaning if your forklift is used more for driving than lifting, then it doesn’t make sense to waste that resource on that kind of task. For any forklifts you do own or buy, be diligent in your ongoing maintenance. If you need to explore how an electric tug could lower your costs and raise your productivity, talk to Load Mover Inc. Our experts have decades of experience in the field and know the capabilities and limitations associated with a tug versus a forklift. Contact us at 952-767-1720.