Even in the toughest of times, companies will still buy forklifts. Fifty-one percent of the 600 or so respondents to Crown Equipment Corp.'s proprietary Forklift User Survey said they had increased the size of their fleet over the past three years. Fewer than 10 percent reduced their fleet during the same period. As for the future, nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents plan to expand their forklift fleet during the next three years, while 50 percent expect their fleet will remain the same size. Less than 5 percent expect their fleets to shrink.
One of the more notable findings is that among forklift buyers, sustainability has moved beyond the buzzword stage. A remarkable 83 percent of respondents said environmental sustainability was an important consideration in their purchasing decisions. And nearly all of them—95 percent—indicated that energy efficiency was a factor in their decisions.
More than one-third (35 percent) of the respondents said they believe fuel cells will be important to material handling in the next five years. Meanwhile, 37 percent of survey takers use some form of fleet management software. However, 65 percent of those respondents use spreadsheets as a management tool.
"Spreadsheets can be very useful in managing and analyzing fleet costs, but they can't provide the real-time visibility required to optimize productivity," said Jim Gaskell, Crown's director of global Insite products, in announcing the survey results. He said he expects more companies to adop