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5 hidden operating expenses you can eliminate today

The purchase price of a lift truck versus the cost of ownership of a forklift is not the same.  Ask anyone who purchases materials handling equipment for a facility how much each lift truck costs and most often they will be able to tell the purchase price. However, the same individual might not be able to tell you the total cost of ownership for each of those forklifts.

Fuel, electricity, maintenance, labor, and using the equipment incorrectly, are all factors that increase the cost of ownership of materials handling equipment.

If you feel that your costs have been running high, Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation has developed this list on how to lower warehouse operating costs: 5 money saving tips.

  1. Pay attention to your forklift batteries and chargers

forklift technician checking the lift truck battery during regular maintenance and repairIf your warehouse runs on electric forklifts it is important to take care of your batteries. Improper battery handling can result in damage to the battery, to the forklift, or can result in injury.

A common mistake in warehouses is mismatching the voltage size of the charger to the battery. If you’re unsure of what voltage the battery in the forklift is, here’s little trick: Count the cells and multiply that number by two. For example, if your battery has 12 cells, it is a 24-volt battery. Mismatch batteries and chargers can cause major damage to the battery and the forklift.

Also, industrial forklift batteries require watering. Under-watering will cause your battery to short. It is recommended to water industrial batteries after five to ten charges depending on the age of the battery.  But, make sure you water your battery only after it is fully charged to prevent a boil over and acid spill on the warehouse floor.

  1. Focus on training – under-trained lift truck operators will cost you more than training them

forklift operator training kit and lift truck licenceA forklift can do a lot of damage to a building, warehouse racking, the operator, and/or pedestrians, if the forklift driver is not fully competent on how to operate materials handling equipment.

For this reason, it is crucial to properly train all warehouse employees that operator forklifts. Each employee should go through the training on each piece of equipment they are set to control.

Operator training will not only familiarize the driver with the equipment, it will also teach them what to look for when the truck is not in prime condition to do the work. It is an OSHA requirement that every operator perform a checklist prior to their shift to make sure everything is working properly before they begin their work. It is also a requirement for operators to have his or her operator safety training renewed every three years.

  1. Factor in the price of fuel when purchasing a forklift

When making a purchase of materials handling equipment, many warehouse managers and purchasers might make their purchase decision based only on the initial purchase price only.  But on further analysis, money saved on fuel might net your operation much more in the long run.

Here is a fun fact: The typical cost of operating a propane lift truck can be $20 to $30 per shift, just based on the price of fuel.  However, the price to fill up a battery with electricity can be as low as $5 to $7 dollars per charge.

When you factor in a savings of $15 to $23 per shift, electric powered forklifts can save your operations thousands of dollars every month.

  1. Prevent expensive repairs with regular lift truck maintenance

best lift truck service and repair - forklift maintenance mechanicJust like going to the dentist twice a year or taking your car in for regular oil changes, it’s important to take care of your forklift for optimal performance, shift after shift.

If your warehouse tends to be a little dusty, change the filters periodically. Likewise, if your operators notice fluids leaking, get these fixed as soon as possible.  Little problems become big problems quickly.

One option is to consider adding a scheduled maintenance agreement to your forklift or lift truck fleet. A forklift mechanic visit your warehouses regularly to ensure your forklifts are in prime working condition. In the long run, preventative maintenance will save you from costly major repairs and downtime.

  1. Right-size and right-spec your materials handling equipment

A right-sized lift truck fleet means that the correct equipment is being used for the task at hand.  But how do you measure this?  To make excellent decisions, don’t you need excellent data?

Start here.  Turn on your lift truck and look at the hour meters.  If the drive motors has significantly more hours than the lift motor, it means your lift truck is not being used as it is designed and should be called a travel truck.  That being said, there is a materials handling truck that is perfect for horizontal transportation.  It is called an end-rider pallet truck – better known as a rider pallet jack.  By identifying the work that this less expensive equipment can perform in the place of the more expensive lift trucks, you will save you labor, time and money.

Here is another good tip: every RAYMOND sales rep has received over 16 weeks of intense materials handling knowledge training at the factory to be a real resource to you with best practices such as these.  At Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation, sales reps continue their training for a further 2 years in our exclusive Black Belt Materials Handling training course.

We invite you to give us a call if you think we can help on these or any other questions you might have for operation.  You can reach Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation at 800-675-2500 or you can email us at .