Tips for optimizing lift truck fleets

By Joe Lafergola May 15, 2007

Lift truck fleet owners may be surprised to learn that the actual purchase price of a lift truck is typically only 20 percent of the overall cost of ownership. Operator salaries and maintenance account for the remaining 80 percent of those costs. However, many opportunities are available to reduce overall ownership costs simply by optimizing the lift truck fleet.

Work with a solutions-focused dealer
A solutions-focused dealer can provide the plant many ways to reduce lift truck fleet ownership costs. The most astute dealers will help determine a cost baseline for your existing fleet and provide quantified cost analysis %%MDASSML%% a necessary first step %%MDASSML%% and can also offer full maintenance contracts, parts programs, operator training and fleet management software.
With a comprehensive, fixed-price maintenance contract, a dealer performs all maintenance for a set monthly fee, simplifying maintenance budgets. Parts availability is also central to maintaining truck uptime, so an effective parts distribution network facilitated though a lift truck manufacturer and its local dealers is essential. Proper operator training can also extend truck operational life and increase productivity, as operators who know how to use equipment properly generally make fewer mistakes and take better care of equipment.
Finally, fleet management software can help large companies with multiple facilities track costs by tying all locations together and providing headquarters with quantifiable data regarding each facility’s fleet operating costs.

Employ new technologies
Employing new technologies can also help improve productivity and lower operating costs. Lift trucks with AC motors increase productivity because they maintain a high level of performance throughout the battery cycle and can run longer on a single battery charge, so battery changes are not required as often. By eliminating one battery charge per AC truck in a three-shift operation, manufacturers can save labor costs and up to $3,000 for each replacement battery.

Joe Lafergola is the manager of Raymond national accounts, fleet management group. He is in his 11th year at Raymond and has extensive experience in reliability engineering with the company. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the State University New York-Buffalo.