Understanding and reducing your forklift maintenance cost. Part III

Internal material handling equipment, mainly forklifts, are a crucial component of any warehouse, logistics company or sizable logistics department. Managers rely on these expensive machines, often 24/7. That’s why with any instance of unplanned servicing may upset production and will definitely disrupt your OpEx. While hard to totally prevent, new technologies have shown to considerably reduce unplanned forklift maintenance.

One of the so called ‘superpowers’ of new technologies is the capacity to register, store and analyze a broad range data. Often with the added benefits of doing this at a relatively low cost and in real-time. 

Applications that feature these capabilities have found their way into solutions that aim to reduce the energy consumption of forklifts, make them safer for all workers on site and streamline productivity. 

Smart vehicles last longer

In a lot of cases adopting these solutions transforms or rather upgrades the material handling equipment into smart connected devices. Regardless of vehicle brand, type or age. 

From a maintenance perspective this allows for a significant mitigation of costly, unplanned servicing instances. Just consider the simple fact of exactly knowing the active/idle time of each and every forklift in your fleet. But obviously there’s more. 

In an earlier part of this discourse [LINK to part II] we’ve thoroughly explored the main causes of this often disruptive and expensive unplanned maintenance. Not all of these can be tackled with the new information and insights tapped from this comprehensive real-time data. 

But others have already shown they most definitely can. 

Driver discipline better for man and machine

Take for example the undisputable effect of undisciplined driver behavior on forklift wear and tear. Speeding, needles acceleration, braking and fast turning events, not slowing down when crossing bumpy driving surfaces, … wears out tires, hydraulics, breaks, joints and other components much faster. Prompting unscheduled servicing.

And then we’ve not even touched upon the higher rate of minor to major accidents and the resulting damages. 

So solutions such as Rombit’s Digital Driver Coach, that have a quantifiable positive impact on driver discipline, has an impact on maintenance costs. On planned maintenance and especially on the extra costly unplanned kind. 

Surface analytics reduce forklift maintenance 

The same hard- and software solutions designed to support improving driver behavior, can also offer other clear benefits for the manager looking to reduce unplanned forklift maintenance. 

The better solution not only registers speed, braking, acceleration and turning. It simultaneously records bumps and other unevenness in the surface the forklift drives on. Sometimes these surface irregularities are unavoidable. Generally though, they point to potholes, badly designed loading docks or improper leveler/loading ramp discipline. 

The latter all cause unnecessary wear and tear on vehicle as well as operator. Combined with location data, this impact analysis allows for efficient remedial response. And by doing so substantially reducing the need for unplanned maintenance. 

For a better understanding of planned and unplanned forklift maintenance costs and how to lower them, be sure to check out part I and II

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