Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Time to Update Old Lift-Trucks? Telematics Can Help

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Jul 3, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Thinking of replacing some of the forklifts in your fleet? You are not alone.

Forklift sales rose 9.5% in 2017, dwarfing 2016 sales and achieving a benchmark of 253,146 units sold in a calendar year. And the statistics are not surprising given the safety advances in newer models and the fact that working with outdated equipment impacts efficiency. Forklift-Truck_sm

But, beyond efficiency issues and down-time for repairs, old trucks can be a safety liability. Lift-trucks, in general, are probably the most dangerous vehicle in your warehouse. And, the older they get, the greater the risk they pose to your operators and warehouse pedestrians.

Consider this:

  • Forklifts are the primary reason that the warehousing industry’s fatal-injury rate is higher than the national average for all other industries combined.
  • The average useful lifespan is about 10,000 to 12,000 hours, or approximately 6 years.
  • Forklifts typically are functional for 10 years or more, but often are not operating economically or optimally for safety.

New forklifts are safer

Great strides have been made in forklift safety over the last decade. Fleet vehicle-monitoring systems are instrumental in improving safety and driving efficient operation of forklifts while putting actionable insight into the hands of operators and managers.

Today’s telematics deliver the exact location of each vehicle in real-time and monitor speed and historic data about why past accidents occurred. Whether it’s high traffic flow in a particular aisle or poor visibility, hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to understanding and avoiding injuries.

Benefits to buying used forklifts

Shaving a few years off the age of your fleet vehicles by updating forklifts can be beneficial to operational efficiency and safety. Forklifts are a huge investment, and, naturally, you can save thousands of dollars by purchasing a used truck versus a new one.

For example, purchasing a brand-new electric warehouse forklift with standard capacity will run you about $15,000-$25,000 in today's market. On the other hand, a well-refurbished, used electric forklift with a 3,000-pound capacity will cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

But it must be a well-maintained vehicle for it to be worth the purchase. When shopping for a used forklift, ask if a telematics system was used throughout its lifecycle and ask to see it.

Telematic data can provide a history and information in the following areas:

  • Utilization Reports – data on the number of hours the forklift has been used
  • Maintenance Report Cards – data on safety checklists, severe impacts, speed infractions, and total activity
  • Battery Monitoring – data on the forklift battery usage and patterns

Consider buying a used forklift if it was well maintained and it will be used only for a single shift, no more than five days per week, and the operation is not a high-throughput, nonstop type.

At some point, the cost to maintain an old forklift, for example, one that is frequently down for repairs, exceeds the cost to replace it. Always consider the hidden cost of decreasing productivity caused by older forklifts and remember that advanced telematics can provide the history and facts about a forklift before you buy it.

Topics: maintenance tracking, sx200 software, forklift costs, telematic fleet management, telematics diagnostics, time management, connected warehouse solutions, telematic data