Questions To Ask when Buying A Forklift
Before purchasing new equipment, most buyers go through an evaluation process that goes something like this:
Analyze Current Operations
Will anything be changing? Specifically: Have forklift hours increased? Decreased? Operating hours are an important factor to get right when purchasing or leasing a new (or used) piece of equipment.
Is the company planning expansion?
What type of expansion is expected?
When will we expand?
Where will we be expanding?
Assess Current Equipment
Is the current brand equipment meeting needs?
What is the trending reputation of the brand in use? (improving or declining quality)
Is the fleet mix and quantity appropriate for current and future operations? (type, capacity & quantity)
Evaluation Options and Choose a Supplier
Entertain competitive quotes for comparable models
Compare/contrast features, advantages and benefits of each brand
Evaluate suppliers ability to properly maintain equipment or provide service when needed to maximize productivity
Evaluate contractual obligations for each supplier
Negotiation and Decision
Negotiate service/equipment combination
The process above, though thorough, will not necessarily lead to a smart desicion. A complete assessement should include the questions below. This is especially true for a complex operation with multiple locations or varying equipment needs.
Here are the important questions you may not be asking - but should:
Is our current material handling operation efficient for current and changing business climate? - Do we need more space? - What options exist for space utilization? - Can we reduce through-put and duty cycles with a different equipment / warehouse structure combination?
What is current cost per hour for operating equipment? (forklifts and warehouse equipment)
What are the operating costs per hour of competing brands? (Include service/fuel/parts etc…)
What was our equipment rental expense and why? This is often a hidden expense of sub-par equipment or equipment that was operated past its economic life.
How can we reduce costs by reducing equipment damage due to abuse? How do your operators complete their daily operator checklists? This is another hidden cost that can be reduced with proper training and accountability for equipment damage or abuse.
How productive is your fleet? If you have forklift that has a lot of wheel time and very little hydraulic time, you have an unproductive forklift. A forklift that doesn’t lift is either broken or a very expensive mode of transportation for a driver. A telematics system can help you stay on top of this and many other key performance indicators.
Can the supplier integrate all facets of my materials handling and suggest alternatives or better ways of processing and storing our materials?
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