As service invoices stack up for your used forklift, it may be time to consider forklift replacement. To determine if the service costs are reasonable and easily explained, follow these best practices.
Forklift Cost Per Hour
Many companies struggle to justify the purchase of a new forklift because the current one is paid in full. However, when a repair is needed, it can often drive the cost per hour well above industry averages. Your best indicator of forklift replacement is the utilization and cost per hour according to the unit’s maintenance history. It’s best to have at least 12 months of maintenance history; however, using several years of data is beneficial to ensure accuracy (i.e. production may peak during a specific season or your company had a short-term project affecting forklift usage).
Typically, an internal combustion (IC) forklift with over 10,000 hours or an electric forklift with over 12,000 hours is due for replacement. Forklifts with high hours will experience failures with major components such as mast chains, carriage and mast rollers, shimming and transmission or drive train work. Electric forklifts will also need battery replacement.
Hidden Production Costs
There are hidden costs of keeping dated equipment as related to safety, ergonomics, emissions and efficiency. An aging truck lags in efficiency, making it harder for you to keep the same production pace. Newer equipment will have technology improvements. For example, forklifts built prior to 2006 protect your warehouse from harmful emissions.
If your company experiences a significant change in product or application, using the wrong forklift can result in additional costs. Examples of poorly applied equipment would be: operating electric forklifts outside, utilizing reach trucks for unloading trailers, using non-freezer package forklifts in a freezer or lifting loads heavier than the capacity of the forklift.
Forklift Cost of Ownership
To stay aware of your forklift’s maintenance history, create a separate expense category for forklift maintenance. The most effective forklift maintenance tracking systems also include categories for expenses. Examples might include: tires, planned maintenance, damage and breakdown. This can be accomplished in-house or by contracting with a company for fleet management services. Create a check and balance system for hitting expenses against the right asset. On the completed invoice, capture whether the repair was due to abuse. Hour meter readings are also critical input.
If you would like more information on ProLift and its fleet management services, contact us to speak to an equipment specialist.