Improving Efficiency and Cost in Forklift Fleet Management
When it comes to forklift fleet management and a hunt for greater efficiency, issues like aging equipment, equipment abuse, and underutilizing assets are often considered part of unanticipated maintenance costs. But, in a business dealing with heavy machinery, do breakdowns and aged out equipment really count as unanticipated?
A key way to improve efficiency within the fleet is to be proactive in regards to anticipating and being prepared to prevent inadvertent costs. Thinking or suspecting a problem won’t cut it – fleet managers need to be prepared and show forward thinking in regards to a long-term picture and not short, immediate fixes.
This can be tricky because the shipping industry is built upon the concept of moving the product as quickly as possible. “Downtime” is a dirty word and is often dealt with by having money thrown at it. This reactive tendency is one of the highest contributors to cost.
Ignore Assumptions, Take Action
Don’t base how your warehouse operates on a business model – base your operation upon the actuality of your business. Some warehouses have been known only to use up to 80% of their trucks at a given time, leaving them with approximately $30,000 per unused truck in costs.
Another easy way to be proactive is to monitor and be aware of possible hazards within the warehouse. If there’s a ramp that is causing premature tire wear, instead of quickly replacing the tire – an immediate fix –fix the ramp so that this will no longer be a problem moving forward. Abuse can make up 30% of a fleet’s cost, and it doesn’t have to be egregious to be problematic. Abuse can include a bad ramp, not coming to a complete stop before shifting gears, or cracks in the floor.
If Possible, Avoid Overlap
Shift overlap is a necessary evil of the shipping industry, but it comes with a potentially unseen cost. If a warehouse operates with two shifts of 30 workers and has an overlap of 15 (equating to 45 on site at a time), that means 45 trucks must be in use. Cutting that overlap can result in an eventual cost savings of 10-40% over the year.
Shipping and fleet management is a fast-paced business that requires precision and a smooth operation. Being willing to plan and slow down decision making once in awhile can actually be the most efficient way to cut costs and increase profits.