Forklift maintenance isn't just important: It is required by OSHA, and with good reason. Forklift maintenance catches problems before they become major accidents at the job site, thereby protecting both your inventory and your workers. Forklift maintenance can also be expensive. Paying a trained technician to come out and inspect your forklift regularly, in addition to carrying out your own inspections, will cost money.
However, there are ways to save money on forklift maintenance. If you can stay on top of issues like the cleanliness and repair of your floor, the training of your operators, and your maintenance contract, you can keep your forklifts in good working order with a minimum of expenditures.
Save money on forklift maintenance by keeping your floors clean and repaired.
Keeping dust and dirt off your forklifts is an important part of forklift maintenance. Dust and dirt can lead to fires, as well as create wear and tear on your machine. You can prevent problems caused by dust, dirt, and debris by cleaning your forklift regularly, and by making sure your floors are clean and in good repair.
For example, pieces of plastic, wood, or other debris on the floor can take chunks out of tires and speed up their wear and tear. Plastic can get wrapped around ball bearings. Dust and dirt can collect on the forklift. Cracked or potholed floors can lead to jolts that can damage the sensitive internal systems of the forklift. By maintaining your floors, you reduce the amount of damage the forklifts accrue day to day, thereby putting off even small repairs and their associated costs.
Save money on forklift maintenance by reducing collisions.
No one likes to admit it, but forklift collisions occur with some regularity. Forklifts might bump the corners of your racking systems, or the pallets that stored on your racking systems. An operator miscalculates where the door jamb is and bumps into it. While the vast majority of these accidents are minor, they do take a toll on your forklifts over time.
Prevent these accidents in order to preserve your forklifts (and to prevent bigger accidents, like pallet racking collapsing). For example, some forklifts come with alarms that warn you when the forklift is too close to an object or a person. Other alarms can tell you how often impacts are happening and help you track down the cause (an improperly trained operator? A truck that is too wide for the aisle?). Preventing impacts will also prevent forklift maintenance and repair costs over time.
Save money on forklift maintenance by training your operators.
Your forklift operators are on the front lines of forklift maintenance. Make sure they are equipped to do their jobs by providing them with comprehensive training. For example, every operator should be trained and qualified to drive the specific type of forklift they are given at the beginning of every shift. They should know what to look for in their daily inspections. They should know what the procedure is if they find a problem or have an accident. Properly trained operators can tell when a forklift's performance is off, spot problems early on, and more safely drive the forklift to prevent problems in the first place.
Save money on forklift maintenance by avoiding a mixed fleet.
Owning forklifts from multiple manufacturers can cause problems when it comes to forklift maintenance. For example, you may end up spending significant amounts of money on keeping several different types of parts (like air filters) on hand. In addition, you may end up spending more money to train your operators on each type of forklift. In order to save money on forklift maintenance, therefore, minimize the types of forklifts you own to one or two brands.
Save money on forklift maintenance by using the right equipment for every job.
Not all forklifts are created equal. Order pickers, narrow aisle trucks, reach trucks, and more all serve specific purposes on the job site. If you use the wrong truck for the job at hand, you may inadvertently increase your forklift maintenance expenses. Instead, try to match up the job with the appropriate equipment. While doing so may mean purchasing a new truck, in the long run, you may save money in efficiency and forklift maintenance expenses.
Save money on forklift maintenance by properly maintaining your batteries and chargers.
If you own an electric forklift, you can also save money on forklift maintenance by properly caring for your batteries and chargers. For example, watering the batteries regularly (every 5-10 charges or about once a week), not opportunity charging your batteries, and making sure you have the right charger for your batteries can all extend your battery life. As a result, you will pay less in forklift maintenance costs to repair batteries and chargers that could have lasted longer with a little more care.
Forklift maintenance can be less expensive than you anticipate. You simply need to take the right steps. Maintaining your floors, reducing collisions, training operators, standardizing your fleet, matching the job with the right equipment, and properly caring for your batteries and chargers are all ways to reduce forklift maintenance costs.
You can also reduce forklift maintenance costs by buying a comprehensive maintenance plan through a reliable dealer like Darr Equipment. We send a technician out on schedule to inspect and conduct maintenance on your machine. As a result, we help you save costs on major repairs, and do so for a price that is very affordable. Contact us today to learn more.