Service and Fleet Management of your Forklifts – Reducing Service Costs

Reducing costs begins with tracking and analyzing data on the maintenance of your forklifts. While data alone will not resolve problems, it is the map that directs your managers to the areas of opportunity to reduce operating costs and improve uptime.

The costs of forklift service and maintenance today continue to rise as forklift fleets age and hours of use increase. Some areas where forklift maintenance can be costly are:

  • Forklift tire damage caused by rough floors, running over debris on floor
  • Floors, ramps or docks in need of repair
  • Fluid levels not checked daily
  • Poor battery maintenance for electric forklifts such as improper checking and filling to proper levels
  • Damage caused by operators

Traditionally, tracking maintenance costs required placing work orders for each forklift or piece of equipment in an electronic or hard copy file and/or creating the data in a spreadsheet. These methods work if someone reviews the data over a period of time. But these methods are labor intensive and often will keep management from analyzing the data and identifying opportunities to reduce costs.

How To Reduce Costs

  • Planned maintenance performed at the proper hour intervals based on working environment
  • Fluids and filters changed as recommended by the manufacturer of the forklift
  • Safety inspections
  • Using a reputable forklift service company providing online maintenance data

When selecting a service company, ask what services will be provided. For example:

  • Does the maintenance company track response time and how long it takes them from your call to arriving on your site?
  • Does the maintenance supplier track first service call completion– meaning are they able to come out, troubleshoot the problem, find the problem, and make repairs while on site? (The savings can be substantial if you have a provider who measures this and continues to improve in this area.)
  • Does the maintenance supplier have the technical ability and tools on the service vehicle which will reduce costs and down time?
  • Does the maintenance supplier track the maintenance history of the equipment and provide you with the data?
  • Is the data easy to use?
  • Is the data accessible when you need to review?
  • Does it tell the story and guide you where to look for cost reduction?
  • Is the maintenance data online or do you need to wait on a report?
  •  Can you sort the data by time frame?
  •  Does the data show cost per hour?
  • Can you determine when there is damage to the unit?
  • Does someone from the maintenance company help you analyze the data?

There are many things to investigate with your current forklift service provider to help you run your fleet at the lowest possible cost. If you are considering a new service supplier, look beyond the hourly labor rate and planned maintenance costs. It is important to know what data is selected by provider to analyze maintenance costs.

Picture this: Your service provider’s technician comes in to perform a repair on unit 30 which will not start.  You feel like they were just there and repaired the same problem. What if you could go online immediately, look at the data on unit 30 and see if that was the same repair problem? You could then take appropriate action with the service company. What if the data revealed over time that unit 30 consistently had repairs caused by operator damage to the unit? Now you can investigate what may be the cause. Is it how the operator is using the forklift or the conditions in the facility where the forklift is being used?   With the correct data you can take action to reduce the costs caused by damage.

Picking A Service Provider

The right forklift service company is one who can provide maintenance data to you online at no additional cost. Look beyond the hourly rate when comparing a service company’s costs.  For example, the hourly rates of company “A” may be 25% higher than company “B”, but company “A” could save you money in the overall service if it is providing online maintenance history and analyzing that data.

Ask us for a demonstration on our online fleet management system to see how it will reduce your costs of operation.