Things to Consider When Replacing Your Forklifts

It's easy to fall into the "replace them with the same equipment, same specs" trap. But things change, technology changes, and there are things to consider before to make a decision about your forklift fleet

There will come a point when your existing forklifts have reached the end of their economic life and need to be replaced.  Besides some of the obvious questions there are a few that could save you hundred, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars.

Our experience has been clients with consistent operations can follow those previous buying processes. This process typically includes:

Analyze current operations

  • Will anything be changing?
  • Is the company planning expansion?
  • What type of expansion is expected?
  • When will we expand?
  • Where will we be expanding?

Assess current equipment

  • Is the current brand equipment meeting needs?
  • What is the trending reputation of the brand in use?  (improving or declining quality)
  • Is the fleet mix and quantity appropriate for current and future operations? (type, capacity & quantity)

Competitive Evaluation

  • Entertain competitive quotes for comparable models
  • Compare/contrast features, advantages and benefits of each brand
  • Evaluate suppliers ability to properly maintain equipment or provide service when needed to maximize productivity
  • Evaluate contractual obligations for each supplier

Negotiation and Decision

  • Negotiate service/equipment combination 

Give or take a few exercises (facility visits, customer inquiries etc...) this is the typical buying process for most forklift fleet managers.  In complex organizations, or companies that are moving from a simple organization to a more complex environment (multiple facilities, processes and varying equipment needs), there are additional things to consider, questions to ask, and steps in the process. We have found that the following questions will help you make a better choice for equipment and supplier based on the following:

  • Is our current material handling operation efficient for current and changing business climate?
  • Do we need more space?
  • What options exist for space utilization?
  • Can we reduce through-put and duty cycles with a different equipment / Warehouse structure combination?
  • What is current cost per hour for operating equipment? (forklifts and warehouse equipment)
  • What are the operating costs per hour of competing brands? (Including service/fuel/parts etc...)
  • What was our equipment rental expense and why? This is often a hidden expense of sub-par equipment or equipment that was operated past its economic life.
  • How can we reduce costs by reducing equipment damage due to abuse? This cost is also an often hidden cost and can be reduced with proper training and accountability for equipment damage or abuse.
  • What equipment acquisitions methods are available from all suppliers (ie: leasing, purchasing, financing, long-term rentals etc…) 
  • Is the supplier I'm engaging one that can integrate all facets of my materials handling and suggest alternatives or better ways of processing and storing our materials? 

There are often times that asking the additional, critical questions can yield dramatic results for your materials handling operation. Let us be your partner in helping you select the right equipment for the right place and process. give us a call at 440-585-1542.