With maintenance and operation costs per year, forklifts are not inexpensive to own. That is one reason that delaying (or avoiding) routine forklift maintenance is so tempting for many businesses. Can't that money be better spent elsewhere?
The reality, however, is that improper forklift maintenance has a financial impact that is far greater than the cost of adopting a comprehensive forklift maintenance plan. Here is a look at the financial consequences that could come from neglecting the proper care of your lift trucks.
Improper forklift maintenance can lead to frequent, expensive repairs.
Small problems caught by routine forklift maintenance can feel annoying. After all, replacing a bent fork or installing a new tire takes time and money. However, the goal of identifying problems early on is to keep them from becoming larger issues that cost more time and money later.
For example, a bent fork might lead to a broken fork, a dropped load, and an injured employee. A leaky tire might lead to a flat tire and a broken axle. A leaking coolant hose can lead to a cracked engine. All of these major problems will have major costs associated with them, costs that will far exceed the much smaller expense of catching and fixing the problem early on.
Improper forklift maintenance can lead to increased downtime.
The cost of a major repair is not the only expense incurred by improper forklift maintenance, however. Major repairs also mean that your machine is out of commission for a certain period of time. You might face days or weeks of lost productivity as a result.
For example, three days of downtime means three days that you are moving less product, using fewer employees (whom you probably have to pay anyway) and falling behind on contracts. Or, it is three days that you must budget for the rental of a forklift so you can keep up productivity. Longer downtime can even mean missing out on jobs you could have taken on if your forklift was in working order.
Compare those costs to the cost of spending a few hours repairing a small problem caught by proper forklift maintenance, and you can see how a comprehensive forklift maintenance plan can actually save you money in the long run.
Improper forklift maintenance can result in fines.
Not all forklift maintenance is at the discretion of the machine's owner. In order to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the operation of the machine, some regulations regarding forklift maintenance have been established by OSHA. For example, OSHA requires forklifts to be inspected daily. Regulations also establish some specifics when it comes to forklift maintenance. For example, machines that have pieces of rubber missing from their tires must be removed from operation until the problem has been fixed.
Choosing to ignore these regulations not only leads to expensive repairs and longer downtime but could also lead to fines for ignoring industry regulations. On top of the other expenses associated with a broken forklift, these fines can pose a financial burden that is easily avoided by taking care of your lift truck.
Improper forklift maintenance could lead to employee injuries.
Workplace injuries are terrible and potentially life-changing. Avoiding employee injury should be a top priority for every business, and not just because of the cost. However, they do come with financial costs that can pose a burden to the business. Workers' compensation can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending upon the extent of the injury.
Improper forklift maintenance increases the risk of workplace injuries. For example, soft brakes could give out while an employee is carrying a load across the warehouse. A bent fork could break and drop a load, injuring others. Avoid these potentially catastrophic scenarios by pursuing proper forklift maintenance that allows you to catch issues before they result in major breakdowns and injuries.
Improper forklift maintenance could lead to damaged property.
The same type of catastrophic incidents that lead to employee injury can also lead to damaged property or products. Broken crates, for example, can mean lost product that you have to pay to replace. Proper forklift maintenance that prevents these kinds of major incidents can save you from needing to pay for these types of damages.
Improper forklift maintenance could lead to shorter machine life.
Finally, improper forklift maintenance can shorten the life of your machine. A machine that is neglected, however, will degrade much quicker than a machine that has regular maintenance, as small problems become big problems that affect the machine's ability to be used. Some issues, such as fires fueled by dirt and dust on a machine that has not been cleaned, might destroy the forklift entirely. And that means that you could be spending many thousands of dollars on a new lift truck well before it should be necessary.
Avoiding forklift maintenance might seem like a cost saving option. However, in the long run, it is likely to cost you significantly more than keeping up with the machine's maintenance schedule. Thanks to major (and costly) repairs, downtime that leads to lost productivity, industry fines, injured employees and workers' comp claims, damaged property that must be replaced, and a shorter machine life, the expenses of putting off maintenance tasks will eventually outweigh the savings. To minimize your costs and maximize safety at your workplace, the best option is to select a comprehensive forklift maintenance plan, such as the ones available through Darr, to ensure the proper upkeep of your lift truck.