Friday, March 25, 2016

Pre-Owned Equipment - Right or Wrong?

Lots of people stress about purchasing forklifts, and one area of concern is deciding between new and pre-owned equipment.  When we are making personal decisions between new and pre-owned vehicles for ourselves or our families, the decision is much easier. Why?  Because if we chose badly, we are the only ones that suffer from it. However, when the workplace is involved, a whole new set of critics are involved.  We have a lot more people to make happy not only with the purchase, but the return on investment and productivity that comes with the acquisition. Will the operators like it?  Will it meet all safety requirements in the facility? Should we go with electric power over internal combustion power?  What brand? What price level? Should I buy new over pre-owned?  The questions are almost endless, so the purchase of a forklift can be overwhelming.  As a starting point, the application typically drives the potential of considering pre-owned equipment. For example, if your application is unique, you may not be able to find options for pre-owned equipment. Or, your usage of the equipment exceeds the recommendations for a used piece of equipment. Certainly, the hours a forklift is used on a monthly basis should determine the year range for consideration.  In reality, the buyers typically are given a budget amount, and no one is sure on how that amount was determined.  At times, the budget places limits on the purchase price, and these limits force the buyer to buy less forklift than the application requires. This is where customers experience pain, and continue to experience pain for the life of that piece of equipment. Don't get caught in this pinch of pain. A professional recommendation based on real application, current conditions, and future expectations can help provide the right piece of equipment, regardless "new" or "used" status. In reality, you are purchasing the work a forklift can do for your company, and the cost of the forklift is a small percentage of the cost of ownership. Driver safety, productivity, and maintenance costs all make up a much bigger percentage of ownership costs. Unfortunately, many buyers base their purchase decision on who offers the best purchase price. 
So, when a decision to purchase a forklift is made, and potential vendors are being interviewed, be sure to request a reference list for new or pre-owned purchases.  Review the checklist of service items. Review the warranty coverage details, Review options available to help the forklift match your facility needs as much as possible. See the video below of a forklift before, during, and after a paint job at the ACT Winston-Salem facility. While paint jobs do little to enhance the mechanical condition, it does wonders for eye appeal when you have customer visits, and as you can see, the forklift looks like a new one.
There are lots of things to consider when purchasing the right piece of equipment for  your facility, so get professional help so you can get what you need. Many times, buyers just replace the old forklift for one that has the same specifications. Why replace that 15 year old forklift with one just like it. Odds are, your application and needs have changed. We know that forklift technology has changed greatly in the last few years.  A site survey and review of current forklifts gives us the right details to make the proper recommendation. Get it right, use a professional.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Do more, with less!
Many times in business, we are asked to do more with the same, sometimes with less.  In the case of warehouse space, the costs are high so proper management and use of available space is a good area to apply "do more, with less" strategy.  There are products offered that meet this need head on.  The Flexi Narrow Aisle units offer a reduction of aisle space while offering the ability to load and unload trailers, a rare combination in the material handling world. See the chart below for typical aisles required, and you can see how the Flexi can give you back 40-50% more space in your warehouse compared to a conventional sit down counterbalanced forklift, and 25-30% more space compared to a reach Truck application. Do more, with the same, or even less.
An application study at your warehouse can help determine the savings specific to your building and needs. A product demonstration on site with your driver can help show the product working in less space and confirm the savings.  A warehouse product specialist will assist with the redesign of the rack storage components, smaller aisles, and price additional components if more pallet storage locations is the goal. If not, the assistance for relocation and installation is confirmed with pricing. Putting this all together allows you to confirm the product works and confirm the space savings, therefore you can develop a return on investment rather quickly for your management team.

Flexi Compare

This link from the Narrow Aisle Inc. explains more specifics with a short 2 minute video.

Another experience based solution from ACT that helps customers meet the growing demand in the business world to do more, with less.

Monday, March 14, 2016

It's time for Spring Cleaning, and you can reduce maintenance costs and increase safety at the same time.  Spring is here. Be prepared with forklifts that are ready for the temperature change and higher demands for performance.  Forklifts used in various environments are sometimes exposed to shrink wrap, banding materials and other debris from the manufacturing process. This can pose as a maintenance issue for forklifts. If plastic banding material can hold a 3,000 pound load together, imagine what it can do to brake lines, park brake systems, and other forklift parts.

The ground clearance of a forklift is generally kept to a minimum for stability reasons. Unfortunately, low ground clearance makes it easy for materials on the floor to get caught in rotating assemblies, like wheels and fans. Forklift cooling systems are designed to pull air off the floor to help cool the engine. This can create a vacuum that can suck debris (i.e. shrink wrap and dust) off the floor and into the radiator and other components. Debris in the internal components of a forklift can cause damage and overheating. Serious or fatal accidents can also be the result of a forklift damaged by floor debris.  To help with proactive forklift maintenance so you can reduce expense and increase productivity, contact us for more details.
Image result for warehouse floor debris
It only takes one piece of banding to compromise the brakes or steering system, in which case, operators can lose control of equipment and cause serious damage.
Promote good housekeeping at your warehouse. Remove floor debris and potential hazards for everyone’s safety. To help with other facility safety issues, contact us and request a site survey.