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Lift Truck Maintenance

One of the most important things warehouse or similar industry management can do in addition to buying a quality lift truck is to keep it maintained. This way, production remains high, employees stay safe, and costs are kept down.

When it comes to lift trucks, it is important that three things be monitored every month. These include the parts costs per truck, labor costs per truck, and meter reading. Unfortunately, many warehouse managers and fleet managers overlook this valuable information, which means they are probably losing money.

With more than one million, Class 1, 4, and 5 lifts trucks in the United States and Canada, that means than more than 50% have already exceeded their lifespan. On average, an electric lift truck is traded in at 26,000 hours and an internal combustion truck at 22,500 hours. However, top manufacturers recommend lift trucks be traded in between 10,000 and 12,000 hours, which means people are pushing the lifts trucks currently being used to twice the recommended life.

Another problem going back to the three factors of maintenance is that at least 89% of all lift truck users do not collect this data. Therefore, of the 500,000 trucks already exceeded their life, approximately one billion dollars in extra maintenance is being wasted. Even worse, since this pertinent data is not being collected, the companies are clueless that they are even losing money, let alone how much.

If you think about how much time a truck runs every day through every shift, it is no wonder they need to be maintained. With utilization being around 80%, that is a huge load. A real shame is that most companies stretch the hours their lift trucks work more often than not. Interestingly, companies will spend as much as $10,000 or more a year to fix a truck when they could be spending $18,000 for a brand new one. Again, the problem is that because the three main factors are not being taken, they have no idea this much money is being spent.

Therefore, it is important to understand that at some point, buying a new lift truck makes much more sense than to keep forking out tons of money for repairs. This is called the ‚economic break-even point‚ and to determine yours, add the total costs for labor and parts and then divide that number by the number of hours the truck is in operation. The lowest obtainable cost per hour is what signifies the break-even point.

If you can put a little money into the maintenance of lift trucks without spending more than it would cost to buy a brand new one, then you should. However, the best thing you can do is consider the three factors to determine exactly where you stand.

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