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Are fork lift trucks cheap?

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Stewart Gosling of RDD reveals why selecting the right kit is key, and suggests where the real savings are to be found.

Everyone likes a bargain, especially when it comes to big-ticket items like forklifts, right?

The problem comes when making a saving means compromising on the correct specification.

“It’s simply about getting a truck that’s fit for purpose… your purpose,” explains Stewart Gosling of RDD, exclusive UK importers for Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks. “There are many great trucks on the market but few that are the perfect match for your site, your loads and your expectations.”

“Remember, the purchase price of the truck itself is a remarkably small part of the whole-life costs. It’s been estimated that over a five-year term the operator accounts for 70 percent of the total expenditure (including fuel and maintenance), so it pays to give them the right kit so they can work as effectively, and as profitably as possible.”

Here are Stewart’s five suggestions for getting it right:

  1. Consider your capacities

Get a truck that handles your loads, both now and in the foreseeable future. A machine that only just meets your current needs may not be future-proof against changes to loads, layouts, etc.

Take a few moments to compare deration figures for similar trucks from different manufacturers. It’s easy to be seduced by the labels on the side of trucks when comparing suppliers, but dig a little deeper and you may well achieve immediate cost savings and/or added flexibility.

Mitsubishi forklift trucks, for example, can outstrip rivals when it comes to lift capacity at height. As a result, you may well make significant savings by buying what, according to the label, appears to be a smaller Mitsubishi forklift than that recommended by a competitor. In short, comparing the actual lifting figures rather than the headline ones may well provide all the performance you are ever likely to need at significantly lower outlay.

  1. Reassess your motive power

The latest electric forklifts will do everything an IC engine model will do…only better. Many are waterproof so are equally at home indoors or outside (in all weathers) and all are quiet and non-polluting. Highly programmable they can be tailored to suit the specific needs of your application.

Taking that one stage further, some – like the EDiA range – are like top-end cars and offer intuitive handling. This enables the truck to automatically adjust its performance characteristics to suit the precise driving style of each individual operator. The result is optimum safety and productivity.

By switching from diesel to electric you’ll also save around 20 percent on whole-life costs over a 5-year term.

If you insist on sticking with LP gas or diesel, make sure it is Euro Stage V compliant and meets the latest, most stringent, emission regulations.

  1. Explore fresh possibilities

Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your operations? Depending on your usage, stackers can prove an excellent alternative to reach or counterbalance trucks when lifting pallets in tight spaces.

If safety is a major factor, consider features such as load weight indicators, speed limiters and warning lights (such as the Mitsubishi Safety Zone). They could have a significant impact on your business by helping avoid expensive collisions, spillages, production delays, damage to racking or equipment and injuries to pedestrians.

Giving your operators an uncomfortable or ill-equipped truck could potentially cause RSIs and injuries that lead to costly and problematic downtime. And it can be avoided by doing your homework.

  1. Put some power in your pallet trucks

According to HSE guidance, if your hand pallet trucks are used frequently, or shift loads of more than 1 tonne, it’s time to switch to powered models. The move could cost you less than you think, with lithium-ion technology offering fast and frequent top-up charging to keep trucks constantly available. You’ll also notice a boost in throughput and a fall in injuries/absenteeism. 

  1. Do sweat the small stuff

Small things can make a big difference. For example, many electric models from Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks feature an Intelligent Cornering System which comes into play the moment the truck begins a turn (not in the middle) so the manoeuvre is made not only as safely as possible but also as swiftly.

To avoid the risk of trips, the VELiA EM order picker features an ultra-low step that is not only 45 percent lower than leading competitors but also boasts an extra wide entry to help reduce the strain on operators.

The list of productivity-boosting, sustainability enhancing features is almost endless... so go find the ones that are right for you.

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TAGS: Safety
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