How to Tell It’s Time to Expand Your Forklift Fleet

(Courtesy: Forklift Driving School at flickr.com)

It’s not your imagination: Most businesses are getting busier. And that’s not something that happens by accident.

Whether you are a privately owned company or a publicly traded corporation, your business needs to continually expand to survive. The name of the game in business is more annual growth, more market share, more customers, and more profits. Successful businesses are like sharks: They need to continually be moving in order to survive.

Planning growth is a critical part of any business’s success. Measurements need to be continually taken so that you can understand where your business is going and how you can take it to the next level. One of those measurements needs to be the productivity of your forklift fleet.

Measuring Forklift Productivity

There are a number of factors to consider when measuring forklift productivity. The most obvious is the daily operational hours each individual lift truck is on the job. Businesses that run one shift per day might max out at 8 hours daily. But around the clock operations such as a busy warehouse or distribution center could be up to 24 hours per day.

Another factor is mileage. There may be a driver behind the wheel of your forklift for the entire shift, but if he or she isn’t moving much (or at all) then the productivity of that vehicle could be called into question. Comparing daily operational hours and mileage per shift gives a more fuller picture of how productive your forklift is.

Ideally, this calculation should keep going up and up. When it reaches a certain point — which will be determined by the needs and goals of the specific business — it’s time to call the forklift dealer to expand the fleet.

Other Factors to Consider

Hard and fast data by the number is essential to understanding any business. But there are other factors that need to be considered when determining when you need to get more forklifts. The first is how downtime affects operations.

If taking a forklift out of service for repairs or maintenance has a profound impact on productivity, it could be an indication that you should add at least one more forklift to your fleet.

Another factor is the frequency of repairs. If your operators are running your forklifts into the ground, getting more forklifts could share the burden and prolong the life of your fleet.

Finally, talking to your drivers can shed light on whether or not you have enough forklifts. Nobody knows the weaknesses of your business better than your front-line employees. Build relationships with your fleet drivers and you can gain an insight you never would have had otherwise.

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