Fleet Management and Optimizing Your Lift Truck Fleet
Fleet management refers to the collection, analysis and use of critical equipment data to improve productivity and reduce costs. Fleet management programs, such as Morrison's free Maintenance Logistics:MX online program, keep a fleet running efficiently, on time, and within budget.
To most efficiently manage your fleet, you will:
- Measure your usage
- Perform a fleet audit
- Gather recommendations
- Implement changes
Measure Your Usage
When deciding how many lift trucks to purchase, your first question should be—how many do I actually use? It is possible to have too many lift trucks for your operation, or even to have the wrong types of lift trucks that would prove inefficient for the job you are wanting to accomplish. Having too many lift trucks on hand as unusable inventory is financially draining and often goes unaccounted for. In addition, “aging equipment, truck abuse and under-utilized assets are all key sources of unanticipated maintenance costs” (https://www.mmh.com/article/lift_trucks_preventive_medicine).
You might even notice that you don’t have enough physical space for your equipment, leaving your workspace disorganized and possibly overcrowded.
Having a system of keeping data on lift truck usage is critical. As you survey your operation, collect this data:
- How many trucks are you using per day?
- What are the average hour requirements for usage of each piece of equipment?
- What are the incidents of service you have had to perform on each piece of machinery?
By tracking this, you will begin to see patterns that may help you streamline what the optimal number of lift trucks may be for your organization.
As you collect data, these are some additional questions you may need to ask yourself:
- Are you being reactive or proactive?
- How are you charging batteries?
- How are you watering your batteries?
- Is there damage to lift trucks, product or racking?
- Is operator training needed?
Perform a Fleet Audit
Accurately monitoring the lift truck fleet’s data to see how many machines you are using and repairing is a critical step. As you become preoccupied with the day-to-day operations of your business, you may forget to consider what unaccounted maintenance costs are totaling up to over time.
“Because most fleet owners’ core business is about moving product, few have time to ask, for example, how many lift truck tires they go through on an annual basis”
With an overabundance of lift trucks, you may find yourself in a cycle of maintenance and upkeep that may not be financially viable for your operation. By finding the correct number of lift trucks for your operation you are conserving your maintenance resources for the machines that you will actually use versus extra machines that you may have been able to do without. Consider how much money you’re spending keeping certain machines alive. For some older machines, it may be more economical to replace it with a newer machine that requires less repairs.
Once you have gathered data and reviewed your current fleet, it is time to obtain recommendations on which machines are going to serve your operation the best. A great resource is to consult with your local Morrison branch, where you can get a recommendation on what kinds of machines to invest in to optimize your lift truck fleet and avoid over-purchasing lift trucks that may not fulfill the requirements of the job you are needing them to do.
Reducing operating costs and increasing efficiencies are ongoing challenges for any company. Our Fleet Management Team consistently works with our customers to navigate through best-practices specific to acquisition strategies, aftermarket support, and technology integration.
Our goal is simple: To best understand our customer's objectives, explore options, and provide the most effective and strategic fleet solution.
The final step is to implement changes based on the data and the recommendations you have gathered. One of the biggest advantages to streamlining your lift truck fleet is having the ability to pinpoint what your fleet costs will be over time, which allows you to gain a greater perspective into your operating costs. Collecting this data and creating a better plan is an excellent way to reduce costs, manage productivity, and keep a closer eye on your business’ day to day operations.
If you’d like assistance in gathering your data or utilizing an online resource to help record and organize your data, please reach out to your local material handling sales professional at Morrison Industrial Equipment. With over 67 years of experience and wide range of equipment options, we’re confident that we can help you achieve your business goals.