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Keeping your forklift running safely and efficiency is the goal of any business that uses these powerful, helpful machines. Forklifts make difficult and complicated tasks easy and simple.
But when your forklift is out of service because of a breakdown, it not only affects productivity but also the bottom line. When supplies, products, and equipment can’t be easily moved, your business is essentially crippled until you can get your forklift back up and running.
If the goal is to avoid unexpected breakdowns, the solution is to implement a planned maintenance schedule for your vehicle or fleet.
Two Types of Inspections
Forklifts need to be inspected regularly to ensure they are running properly. This not only prolongs their usable life but also helps avoid accidents or breakdowns. There essentially are two type of inspections that need to be performed: Daily and planned maintenance inspections.
Daily inspections should be a part of any business’s daily operating routine. Forklift operators should be required to inspect their forklifts at the beginning and end of every shift. So if you are running an around the clock operation, each individual forklift could be inspected up to six times daily, or 42 times per week.
Planned maintenance inspections occur less frequently. But they are much more comprehensive and usually involve taking the forklift out of service for a short period of time.
Planned Maintenance Inspections
Depending on how long and how hard your forklifts are run, planned maintenance inspections could be scheduled annually, bi-annually, quarterly, monthly, or even bi-weekly. They usually are performed by lift truck professionals such as trained forklift mechanics from a contracted outside company or even representatives from the original manufacturer.
If your forklift fleet is large enough, you might consider hiring a full-time forklift mechanic or training one of your other mechanics in the specialized knowledge they will need to perform planned maintenance on your lift trucks.
The benefit of planned maintenance is that it can prevent breakdowns caused by normal wear and tear. Routine problems such as worn brake shoes or lubricating the mast can be addressed and corrected before they cause the lift truck to fail so you can minimize downtime and maximize productivity and profitability.
Another benefit of planned maintenance is that it is planned. In other words, you know in advance when a particular machine is going to be taken out of service so you can make the necessary arrangements so that operations are minimally affected. This could include keeping other machines in service longer or even temporarily leasing another forklift.