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FORKLIFT AMERICA'S FORKLIFT DIGEST

Determining When It’s Time for a Forklift Tradein

There comes a time when your lift truck fleet begins costing more money than it makes for your business. This is why keeping comprehensive records that track the performance of each truck in your fleet is so important. These records not only help you to know the best time to replace your trucks, but also help to reduce the number of trucks with over 10,000 hours in your fleet. The problem is if you only make repairs or do maintenance when a truck breaks down or only trade a truck when it’s finally beyond repair, you’re no longer in control of your fleet, your fleet controls you. Many business owners who keep thorough records establish an Economic Break-even Point (EBP) for each truck in their fleet, empowering them to predict and schedule the best time to for your forklift tradein. Here’s how to determine the EBP for trucks in your fleet.

To determine the EBP of any lift truck it’s helpful to use a graph that measures the accumulated cost per hour on the x axis and the hours of use on the y axis with maintenance costs per hour creating an upward curve and ownership costs per hour following a downward curve. The point where the accumulated maintenance cost curve and accumulated ownership cost curve intersect is the EBP. However, if you prefer to simply calculate the EBP mathematically you do so by adding the accumulated cost per hour of maintenance to the accumulated ownership costs before dividing the total by the average economic life cycle of similar trucks used under similar circumstances.

When a forklift truck passes its break-even point it can cost more to own and maintain. This is why good record keeping helps businesses to monitor the economic life cycle of their forklift fleet. Tropicana-Dole’s facility in Bradenton, Florida puts its forklift fleet to the test with a 24-hours/day, seven days/week workload. In spite of such a rigorous schedule, only 8% of the fleet is off-line at any time when the national average is over 30%. Under Tropicana-Dole’s aggressive planned maintenance schedule and lease program trucks are traded as soon as they reach the calculated end of their useful life. Working with a reputable local dealer like Forklift America allows companies to develop and put such a process in place.

Whether your business is as big as Tropicana-Dole or smaller, businesses benefit when they keep track of repair and maintenance costs in conjunction with hour meters. Regular hour meter reading is one of the best ways to pinpoint your costs. If your company spent $12,000 in one year for maintenance and repair on a forklift that ran 6,000 hours the cost equates to $2 per hour which is far more acceptable than if the truck only ran 2,000 hours costing your company $6 an hour. When costs get to be this high it’s time to trade it in.

When it comes to deciding when to trade, lift truck dealerships are valuable consultants because they can analyze the customer’s needs, how the customer uses the forklift as well as its age and condition. When your business works with a dealership’s shop for maintenance and repairs, with the shop also keeping records, the dealership is able to monitor and evaluate the fleet, helping the business owner to determine the best time to trade.

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