Getting a forklift equipment may be a necessity for some but it can be a complicated process if you are clueless about what to look out for.
Whether you are only starting out, or you are returning to it after a long period of absence, you need to know exactly what to note.
Although it can be quite challenging for you to organise your planning, you still cannot avoid it as you are in the business of lifting heavy objects often.
The following points help you to know what to expect, get a few tips, and avoid the unnecessary traps.
1. Identify your requirements
There are a few pointers to note when it comes to getting forklift equipment.
You have to first ask yourself the requirements of your objectives.
Perhaps you can consider the following basic questions before you make your decision:
- How high do you have to lift your objects?
- How many hours will you use it daily?
- Are you going to use it indoors or outdoors?
- How wide are the doors and how high are the ceilings so that your forklift can be easily accessible?
- Are there any other technical considerations, such as noise, in using the forklift?
- Do you have a budget for the initial cost of getting one?
The questions above will help you spend some time to audit your operation and help you get started with the decision making process.
2. Weighing new versus used forklifts
There are options to get forklifts, but you can get used ones, or even rent them, depending on your work requirements.
Safety of the forklifts is always the most important factor because used ones tend to have higher probabilities of being faulty.
Hence, you have to test drive always, and check the seat belt, lights, horns and tyres.
We discussed earlier about how many hours of expected usage daily. This is an important factor too.
If you are expected to run the forklift more than 4 hours daily, it is better to get a new one for operation.
New forklifts tend to have better fuel efficiency and technical performance. However, if you are really in urgent need of a forklift, you can consider getting a used one instead or rent one for immediate availability of stock.
To procure a used forklift, we highly recommend that you buy from an authorised dealer. By this way, you are more guaranteed of the full functionality and capability of the forklift.
As we mentioned earlier, renting forklifts is another option. If you require the forklift for only a certain period of time, then it is better to consider renting for that temporary duration. In this way, it can help you save the cost of getting it.
3. Assessing brands and dealers
Considering the brands and dealership of the forklift equipment is essential.
You may find a brand that is lesser known but at a cheaper price. But is it easy to get replacement parts when the forklift breaks down?
A recommended action to mitigate any doubts or risks is to visit the dealership if time permits.
Visiting the dealer at the forklift dealership centre helps you to seek immediate attention.
You can enquire about the skillsets of the forklift technicians who may help you service, maintain and repair from time to time.
Consider this an important investment factor as the dealer can be your material handling partner for years to come.
Another way is to research online on the brands of the forklifts.
Find out what are the trustworthy brands. Look for forklifts that are well-known for their safety or ergonomics. Mitsubishi forklifts and Toyota forklifts are widely regarded as among the top tier lifting equipment in their genre, so it may be worth you checking them out.
A better approach is to read their online customer reviews on the forklifts. You can be surprised on how such reviews can help you make better decisions too.
4. Consider manpower and operational needs
When considering the forklifts, you must know your manpower and their operational capacities well.
There are following pointers to note:
- Do you or your workers possess the OSHA license, which is required by the Ministry of Manpower to operate forklifts?
- Are the operators well-trained during work even if they hold the license?
- How many years of experience do they have in handling forklifts?
- Do the operators have bad backs?
Remember that not only you test drive the equipment before getting it, you must also appoint your workers as much as possible to try it out themselves.
5. Overall costs
The last but not least important point is to consider the aspects of the cost at a whole.
This not only means the pricing of the forklifts. Making decisions based on cost calculations and projections can help you save money, decrease any downtime and even increase work productivity over the longer run.
We advise that you should not make purchases based on price alone. Buying the cheapest forklift to meet minimum requirements may be your short term call.
But then you have to further investigate if it is too cheap because it is a lesser known brand, or it gives lower quality of service than others.
The upfront price is only one of the whole factors. You have to consider also the total cost of ownership.
You have to note that spending a little more upfront can be a longer term investment as it helps to become more efficient and productive over time.
The fuel cost is also part of the costi aspect of getting a forklift. Generally, there are 3 types of fuel – diesel, LPG engine and electric.
Gasoline has the lowest initial cost but is easy to maintain. Just like diesel, which has a high initial cost and low fuel cost, gasoline can apply to open areas.
Electric fuel can only apply to enclosed areas but is least noisy and high initial cost.
Another area to look at when it comes to cost is the warranty period, though this applies mainly to new forklifts.
In the event of faulty equipment, the forklift can be sent for repair and a larger amount of money can be saved over time than one without the warranty protection.
The factors to consider when buying forklifts can vary and depend on individual requirements.
However, we have to look beyond individual needs to consider the holistic aspects of the forklift as it is quite a heavy investment and not a one man’s job.
If the decision is not made properly, it can result in unhappy workers and customers, poor productivity, unnecessary costs, and even a dissatisfied environment nearby due to high noise for example.
Therefore, it is worthwhile to take note of all the above points into consideration when getting a forklift.