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Whenever a forklift breaks down, it’s going to have an immediate negative effect on operations. If you have a fleet of forklifts, one less is going to be a nuisance. But when your only forklift is out of service, everything can come to a screeching halt.
Keeping forklifts running efficiently requires due diligence with maintenance and inspections. Anticipating breakdowns and performing the necessary repairs or upkeep before they happen can keep your lift trucks running without failure. Requiring operators to inspect their vehicles before and after every shift can help keep attention focused on vital running operations.
But there are other ways to keep forklifts running longer and returning broken forklifts to service faster.
Order Replacement Parts Before You Need Them
One of the biggest reasons forklifts are kept idle after breakdowns is waiting for replacement parts to arrive. Even if you order parts immediately after a breakdown, it’s still going to take at least several hours — or possibly several days or even weeks — before they arrive. And every minute your forklift isn’t on the job means your operations are suffering.
So why not make an investment in your future by purchasing the most-needed replacement parts ahead of time and keeping them on hand for when you need them? That way you can make the necessary repairs instantly without little to no downtime.
So how can you tell which parts you should stockpile? It’s simple. Your forklift fleet’s service records should offer insight into which parts are being replaced most frequently. Simply buy those parts, warehouse them, and speed up your return to service to practically zero.
Identify Causes for Failure
A second way to minimize downtime is to figure out why your forklifts are breaking down in the first place. Is it routine wear and tear? Or is it something environmental such as a workplace hazard like a speed bump or low-hanging door frame? If so, identify the problem, fix it, and never have to worry about it again.
Another common cause of forklift breakdowns is driver error. If your operators are mishandling their vehicles by driving them too fast, taking unnecessary shortcuts, or abusing them altogether, improving your training and supervision can reduce repairs and save your business time and money.
A less likely — but not impossible — cause for breakdowns is engineering or design issues of the forklift itself. Perhaps your forklift has a design or was built with “planned obsolescence” in mind. If so, upgrading to a better-built vehicle could be the best option.
Whatever the cause, forklift breakdowns cost your business money. Minimizing downtime can increase production and boost the bottom line.