Time flies, and age has a way of sneaking up on us. The same holds true for the equipment in your warehouse facility — especially your forklifts.
Think about it. Your fleet is in constant motion, logging countless hours on the warehouse floor. So, how old are your lift-trucks? Are they becoming increasingly more dangerous and less efficient?
Old forklifts and safety
As a forklift ages, it poses greater risk to its operator and those around it. This says a lot about safety, since the forklift is probably the most dangerous vehicle in a warehouse.
- Lift-truck-related injuries total more than 96,000 each year.
- Forklifts are the primary reason that the warehousing industry’s fatal-injury rate is higher than the national average for all other industries combined.
But risk is not the only thing that increases as a forklift ages. Hourly operational costs rise over time, occurring for a several reasons:
- Poor safety practices, such as not completing safety checklists before operation
- Improper maintenance, which takes its toll on a lift-truck by becoming less efficient and more prone to breakdowns, impacts or driver injury over time
- Improper battery care and charging
- Operating a vehicle when it should be locked down for repair, pushing a truck when it actually should be out of service
- Over-extending the lifespan of a forklift, not knowing it’s time for replacement
Time for forklift retirement?
How old is too old? First, determine how old your trucks are and factor in how well they have been cared for.
- 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.
- Vehicles that receive regular maintenance — checks and data-driven management — last longer.
- As forklifts age, the cost to maintain and repair it will exceed replacement costs.
Next, it is important to look at the efficiency of each vehicle and factor in the hidden costs of decreasing productivity caused by older forklifts.
Forklift telematics delivers longevity
Since proper use, maintenance and repair are what extends the life of fleet vehicles, how do you do a better job of making this happen? Advanced fleet telematics is the solution.
- Telematics ensures that the entire fleet receives regular preventative maintenance, with no guess work or skipping services.
- Telematics monitors battery care so that proper charging takes place exactly when and how it is needed.
- Telematics delivers notification about mechanical issues so the repair is completed before a vehicle is put back into operation.
- Telematics monitors drivers so they operate the vehicle with skill and caution.
- Telematics ensures safety checklists are completed before operation and locks vehicles if they fail.
Lean warehouse management means knowing when your fleet is functioning efficiently and when it is time to replace an old vehicle. With advanced telematics, forklifts will last longer if you and identify older vehicles costing you in downtime, repairs and safety.