How often are lift trucks replaced? According to a recent survey, lift trucks are replaced on average every seven to eight years. But how do you know when to replace your forklift? There are many benefits to knowing the right time to upgrade your forklift and improve the quality of your fleet. Read on to learn 8 reasons to upgrade your forklift — and how.
1. YOUR FLEET HAS INTERNAL COMBUSTION FORKLIFTS.
Representing nearly 65% of the market and gaining in popularity, electric forklifts better support sustainability efforts by lowering carbon emissions. While electric forklifts can cost more upfront than propane lift trucks, they offer a lower total cost of ownership by saving you money on fuel, maintenance, and repairs over the life of the lift truck. With fewer moving parts, no spark plugs, and no required oil changes or tune-ups, electric lift trucks require less maintenance and repair than propane forklifts, cutting costs and keeping your fleet on the floor for superior productivity.
2. YOUR FORKLIFTS ARE 7 YEARS OLD OR OLDER.
Like hours, the age of the forklift can affect maintenance cost. Major components, such as motors, drive units and electronics, will need to be replaced, ultimately driving up downtime and increasing maintenance costs. However, no matter how vigilant your operation is about service, eventually you will start to experience downtime as the fleet ages. A recent Modern Materials Handling study conducted by Peerless Research Group shows that in the last seven years, lift trucks are being replaced on average about every seven to eight years. Track the hours, age, and maintenance costs to see if it is time to upgrade your forklift.
3. YOU HAVE HIGH MAINTENANCE COSTS.
Maintenance costs, which include parts and labor, will increase as the lift truck ages. You can expect major repairs when the lift truck reaches 10,000 hours. One suggestion is to give serious thought to retiring a lift truck when the average maintenance cost per month approaches or exceeds the monthly payment for a new lift truck or is greater than 10% price of new lift truck.
The below chart illustrates the trigger points operations should monitor over the life span of the lift truck. The more trigger points you hit, the more analysis you should do.
4. THE EQUIPMENT ISN’T PROPERLY UTILIZED.
To identify underutilization, analyze maintenance costs along with utilization to determine if the lift truck should be removed, replaced, retained, or relocated. The forklifts that have high cost per hour and high utilization should be replaced. Forklifts that have high cost per hour and low utilization should be removed. The lift trucks that have low cost per hour and are being utilized should be retained. Finally, the lift trucks that have low cost per hour but are not being utilized should be relocated to another part of the company or traded in.
5. YOU AREN’T USING UPDATED TECHNOLOGY.
Updated technology such as fleet management software can track usage, maintenance history, incidents, up-time, and productivity, collecting valuable data that can be used to optimize your fleet and ultimately reduce unnecessary costs. Regularly consulting with solutions providers to determine the necessary upgrades to your forklift fleet will provide you with the benefits of current technology, including advanced telematics systems and new energy storage technologies that will better match today’s need for increased productivity.
6. YOU NEED MORE SPACE.
Warehouse managers have indicated the need for more space has been a top concern for the last few years. One way to gain more space is to consider narrowing up the aisles. You can save 32% of the floor space by going from 12-foot aisles to 5-foot 6-inch aisles using Raymond Swing-Reach® trucks, meaning you can store 46% more pallets in the same floor space previously required for counterbalanced trucks.
7. YOU HAVE POWER ISSUES.
Long-lasting and fast-charging lithium power eliminates the need to buy or store spare batteries for dramatic cost savings. Robust and efficient, this technology can enhance efficiency and productivity in demanding applications, such as cold storage. Lithium power has increased power capacity and no traditional maintenance is required.
Opportunity and fast-charging applications can help replenish power to your truck during breaks, lunches and shift changes by floating the battery-state-of-charge between 60% and 90% of the battery’s rated capacity. This helps maintain adequate battery charge and increase throughput throughout a full six-day workweek. A power audit will identify the optimal solution for your operations.
8. YOUR DOWNTIME IS INCREASING.
74% of lift truck cost of operation is operator time, and when a lift truck is down, the operator is not working. By adding newer equipment to your fleet, your operators will be able to work more consistently, providing your operation with greater uptime.
There are many ways to gauge the right time to replace your forklift. Many of these tips work hand in hand in showcasing the importance of upgrading your old fleets and partnering with a forklift manufacturer that can provide quality trucks. By being alert to the signs, and measuring your equipment usage and maintenance costs, you can better understand when to replace your forklift, ultimately improving your operational efficiency.