Material handling equipment is a big investment for Indiana businesses, which means the decision to buy or replace a forklift, burden carrier or another vehicle is one you shouldn’t take lightly.
So when is the right time to replace a forklift or other material handlers? It’s not always an easy question to answer, so let’s dive into all the details.
If your company buys your material handling equipment outright instead of renting or leasing, you want to get as much life out of it as possible. However, squeezing as many hours as you can out of your forklift usually does more to hurt than help your bottom line. The older a forklift gets and the more work hours it’s put through, the higher your maintenance costs become. Lift trucks with more wear and tear will require additional maintenance work outside of regularly scheduled service intervals, resulting in more downtime as well as extra capital spent. What’s more, older and more worn out forklifts usually won’t be as productive in day to day applications, as they tend to lose speed, torque and power as time goes by.
So while you may think you’re saving money by riding out your forklift to the bitter end, you’re more than likely losing money in the long run by not replacing a forklift that’s outlived its “economic life.” In essence, you’re spending extra money to prolong the inevitable.
The point at which the cost to maintain your forklift drastically increases is one of the primary signifiers that it’s time to think about replacing it. For a typical new forklift, that point occurs after an average of 10,000 work hours for internal combustion forklifts (propane, diesel, etc.) and around 13,000 work hours for electric forklifts. For used forklifts in Indiana, you'll need to be extra careful about tracking work hours.
Of course, those estimates are just that: estimates. Depending on your work conditions, quality of your maintenance team, and just plain luck, your mileage may vary. Another way to know if the time to replace your forklift is now is to pay attention to your Fleet Management System (FMS). A sophisticated FMS can connect to the onboard computer inside a forklift to monitor fuel economy, average travel time, workloads, and more. If you see any significant dips in performance in one or more of these categories that isn’t solved by your regular maintenance service, it may be the end of the line for that forklift.
Think your fleet is ready for one or more replacement forklifts? Or are you still unsure whether or not you’ve got a few thousand hours left from your equipment? Either way, we can help. Get in touch with your Indiana material handling and forklift pros by calling 317-597-4003 today.
When you’ve got questions about replacing your material handling equipment, turn to Tynan.
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