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Tips to Reduce the Overhead Costs of your Forklift Fleet

Tips to Reduce the Overhead Costs of your Forklift Fleet

Aug 29, 2017

A forklift fleet can help your company get a lot of work done and improve your bottom line, but only if it is used efficiently.  With the amount of money your company spends on new and used forklifts, as well as forklift maintenance, it is important to use your forklift fleet as efficiently as possible to maximize your ROI.  Many companies may find that the cost of operating their forklift fleet has become too high, which means that they must find ways to reduce the overhead costs of operation.  Fortunately, there are many different ways that you can reduce these overhead costs to help save your company money.

The following tips will help you be more cost effective with your forklift fleet.

Use Data Interfaces for Efficient Utilization

When it comes to determining how efficiently you are utilizing your forklift fleet, it helps to break down the use of each piece of equipment.  There are several different telematic monitoring systems available that can track use data on individual forklifts so you can see if they are being utilized properly.  With this data, you can easily identify when a forklift is being underused or overused, determine the best routing options, manage forklift maintenance, ensure that your operators are compliant, and determine the most efficient ways to use each forklift.  This data will also help you identify forklifts on your fleet that have become a liability.

Improve Routing

 The routing of your forklifts is very important because inefficient routing can cost your company time and money.  One of the best ways to ensure that your forklifts are using the most efficient routes is to use telematic monitoring systems as mentioned above.  This type of software can integrate real-time data from the forklifts with the details of your inventory to help you identify the most efficient routes for moving product through your warehouse.  The data from these monitoring systems can also help you determine if you are keeping your inventory in the best location for it to be moved efficiently.  By improving the efficiency of the routing, you can help maximize the ROI of your forklift fleet.

Monitor Operator Behavior

The behaviors of your forklift operators play a large part in the efficiency of your forklift fleet.  Most forklift accidents are caused by operator behavior which means that they are also preventable.  You can help make sure that your forklift operators are following safety protocols by setting speed limits, monitoring their behaviors, and enforcing compliance with your policies.  You should also make sure that your forklift operators attend training regularly to stay up to date on current safety protocols.

Closely Evaluate Contracts

When taking on a new contract for a job, it is crucial that your forklift operations and finances for the project are in line.  You must carefully review the terms of the contract so you can determine the best way to use your fleet to complete the job while minimizing the costs to your business.  Over or underutilizing your equipment can increase your costs while working on a particular contract.

Reduce Maintenance Costs

Forklift maintenance is always a major cost when operating a fleet, but there are so many things you can do to reduce your maintenance costs.  While there is no way to completely eliminate the need for forklift maintenance, you can prevent many common issues that may put your equipment out of commission.  You can start by forming an inspection checklist that your operators must complete before each use.  This will help maintain the fluid levels and identify minor issues with your equipment that are easy to fix before they develop into more serious and expensive problems.  You can also put each forklift in your fleet on a regular schedule for oil changes to ensure that no forklift goes too long without an oil change.  Taking these simple steps can help prevent major issues and save your company plenty of money on maintenance and repairs.

Forklift fleets can bring a great ROI to your business if they are used efficiently, and they can also be a liability to your company if they are not.  By maximizing the use of each individual forklift, improving the routing, evaluating contracts, and holding your operators responsible for following safety protocols and doing routine maintenance checks, you can significantly reduce the overhead costs of operating your forklift fleet.

Or course, something can always go wrong with your forklift, despite your best efforts at preventative maintenance.  If you have a problem with your equipment, our experts at RHI Lifts provide forklift maintenance to get your equipment back up and running.

If you have employees that need training to get their forklift certifications or operators that could use additional training, RHI Lifts provides forklift operator training classes that are compliant with OSHA and ANSI standards.

Indoor and Outdoor Uses of Forklifts

Indoor and Outdoor Uses of Forklifts

Mar 23, 2017

The forklift is one of the most important pieces of heavy machinery used in commercial and industrial environments.  Many companies depend on their fleet of forklifts to move product and materials quickly and efficiently, both indoors and outdoors.  The more efficiently the job is done, the better it is for your bottom line.  This makes it very important to choose the right forklift for the specific job and setting.  This guide explains the most common indoor and outdoor uses of forklifts as well as some things to consider when buying a forklift for an indoor or outdoor job.

Indoor Forklift Uses

Forklifts are commonly found in many indoor commercial settings including warehouses, retail stores, and distribution and shipping centers.  These forklifts are needed to transport heavy materials, stack materials for storage, and load and unload trucks.  The basic design of a forklift is best suited for lifting and transporting materials on pallets but they can also transport stacked boxes, drums, and crates.  There are a wide variety of forklifts available that are suited for indoor use and certain features like the size, tires, turn radius, and lifting abilities can be chosen for your specific environment.

Outdoor Forklift Uses

indoor-outdoor-forklifts-chicago-ilForklifts are used in a wide variety of outdoor settings from docks, junkyards, and recycling centers to lumberyards and outdoor home and garden centers.  One industry that puts outdoor forklifts to good use is the construction industry.  Forklifts are used on construction sites to transport heavy building materials as well as dumpsters, portable toilets, and other equipment needed at a jobsite.  Installing a hopper attachment gives a forklift the ability to transport and dump unwanted materials.  Typically, rough terrain forklifts that have a rugged design and high weight capacity are used in outdoor settings.

Electric vs Diesel Forklifts

Electric forklifts are becoming much more popular because they are less expensive to maintain, easy to operate, and much safer for the environment.  However, electric forklifts are not the best option for outdoor jobs.  These smaller, simpler forklifts are best suited for indoor uses and their lack of emissions makes them much safer inside than diesel powered forklifts.  Diesel forklifts are ideal for outdoor use because they have more speed and power and they can operate in tough weather conditions.  The major disadvantage of diesel forklifts is their emissions which makes them dangerous to use in some indoor environments.  It is important to take these differences into consideration when choosing a forklift for indoor or outdoor use.

Forklift Tires

Choosing the right tires for your forklift is extremely important for its safety and effectiveness.  Using the wrong tires for the application or terrain can be dangerous.  The following are the three most common types of forklift tires and their uses:

  • Pneumatic Tires: Pneumatic tires are heavy-duty rubber tires that are inflated with air. These tires have thick, tear resistant rubber with deep treads that can handle tough and uneven terrain.  Pneumatic tires are the best option for outdoor use.
  • Solid Rubber Tires: These tires are made of solid rubber around a metal band, they are not inflated with air. Solid rubber tires can be used for indoor applications but they can only be used for light outdoor work because they do not have the cushion of an inflated tire.
  • Polyurethane Tires: These tires are lightweight and have great traction to handle higher weight capacities. They can also provide balance by counteracting the weight of the forklift batteries.  However, polyurethane tires can only be used indoors.

If your company uses forklifts for indoor and outdoor applications, it is very important to make sure you use the right type of forklifts to best handle each application.  When acquiring a new forklift, you must also consider whether it will be used indoors or outdoors and get the best piece of equipment for the application.  RHI Lifts has a large selection of new and used forklifts for sale that are suited for both indoor and outdoor working environments.  Contact RHI Lifts to learn more about our forklift selection in the Chicago area.

Reasons to Consider Buying a Used Forklift in Chicago

Reasons to Consider Buying a Used Forklift in Chicago

Feb 24, 2017

Forklifts are such an integral part of the job for those who work in warehouses, factories, stockrooms, and other similar environments that it is difficult to imagine completing their jobs without one.  Many companies depend on their fleet of forklifts to complete projects and move product, and getting these jobs done more efficiently will ultimately increase profit margins.  Of course, it is much easier to complete jobs efficiently if you have a larger fleet of well-maintained forklifts.  If you are looking to add to your fleet, there are several benefits to buying a used forklift including reduced cost and high reliability.  The following are the main reasons to consider used forklifts for sale.

Lower Upfront Cost

rhi-lifts-used-forklifts-equipment-for-sale-chicago-ilThe reduced cost is always the first benefit that comes to mind when buying anything used, including forklifts.  Investing in a reliable, used forklift is a great way to help improve your bottom line and increase the profitability of your new equipment.  New forklifts often cost between $15,000 and $25,000 while you can find a quality used forklift for considerably less between $5,000 and $10,000.  Many second-hand forklifts available are very reliable and will perform just as well as a new forklift with a much smaller initial investment.

More Purchasing Power

Choosing to invest in used forklifts increases your purchasing power because you can buy two used forklifts for around the price of one new forklift.  This is a great, cost effective way to increase your fleet and maximize the profitability of your equipment.  You will get twice the production out of two used forklifts than you would out of one new one and for the same initial investment.

Tested in the Chicago Workplace

Used forklifts on the market have already proven their reliability by giving their original owners many productive years.  They have all been workplace tested so you can expect them to continue to be reliable and durable in your workplace.  If you find a used forklift that needs some maintenance, the cost to repair it will be low because forklift parts for older equipment are less expensive than parts for new forklifts. Our used forklifts & equipment will perform no matter what your Chicago business throws at it.

Familiarity in Operation

New forklifts are built with modern features that may make it difficult for even experienced forklift operators to adjust to.  If you buy a new forklift with a brand-new feature, it may take your forklift operators time or additional training to learn to use the equipment properly.  Buying a used, slightly older forklift that your operators are already familiar with will allow them to start using the equipment immediately without any additional training.  You will also be able to continue using your forklift accessories on a used forklift without having to upgrade them like you would with a new forklift.

If your company needs additional forklifts to improve productivity, consider purchasing used forklifts.  By buying used forklifts, you can increase your fleet for less money and get reliable forklifts that are inexpensive to maintain and won’t require additional training for your operators.  RHI Lifts, servicing Chicago, IL and surrounding areas, offers a large selection of used forklifts for sale from many major manufacturers including Toyota, Clark, Mitsubishi, Komatsu, and many others.  Give us a call at (847) 447-0700 to learn more about our selection of used forklifts.

The Differences Between 3 Wheel Forklifts and 4 Wheel Forklifts

The Differences Between 3 Wheel Forklifts and 4 Wheel Forklifts

Jan 6, 2017

Just like any other type of vehicle, there are many models of forklifts that come in various designs and configurations to handle different types of jobs.  While the forklift types often differ by design and attachments, most models are available in 3 wheel and 4 wheel configurations.  It may not seem like there are major differences between the two options, especially when both configurations are available on the same forklift model, but there are some key differences that you must consider when making a forklift rental or purchase.  This guide explains the advantages and disadvantages to using 4 wheel and 3 wheel forklifts.

Pros-and-Cons-of-3-and-4-Wheel-Forklifts-in-Chicago-IL

3 Wheel Forklifts

Advantages

The main advantage of 3 wheel forklift models is the small turning radius.  This makes 3 wheel forklifts ideal for working in areas with limited space because they are much easier to handle in these scenarios than larger 4 wheel models.  The dual steer wheel configuration also makes it easy to handle 3 wheel forklifts as the steer wheel is generally mounted in the center under the counterweight.  Another advantage of 3 wheel forklifts is that they are usually more affordable than 4 wheel models.

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage of 3 wheel forklifts is their limited weight capacity.  These forklifts generally cannot lift more than 5500 pounds because any more weight will make them unstable when they turn which is quite dangerous.  These forklifts are also not suited to handle rough terrain such as gravel, soil, uneven ground, or steep inclines.

4 Wheel Forklifts

Advantages

The biggest advantage that 4 wheel forklifts have over 3 wheel models is that they can handle a much higher weight capacity.  Some 4 wheel models can handle up to 20,000 pounds and the single steer wheel configuration gives them stable turning when handling heavy loads.  These forklift models can also handle rough terrain and inclines much better than their 3 wheel counterparts.

Disadvantages

The one major disadvantage of 4 wheel forklifts is their large turning radius which makes them very difficult to use in tight spaces.  These forklifts are also more expensive than 3 wheel forklift models because they are larger and can handle much bigger load capacities.

If you are looking for a forklift rental or to purchase a new forklift, you must consider your specific needs when choosing between 3 wheel and 4 wheel forklift models.  Jobs that must be done in tight spaces and require light loads are ideal for 3 wheel forklifts while 4 wheel models are suited for heavier loads and rough terrain.  RHI Lifts offers a range of forklifts for sale in the Chicago area and several of our new forklift models are available in 3 wheel and 4 wheel configurations.  Contact RHI Lifts or call us at (847) 923-0374 to talk to us about your options for a new forklift.

3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With

3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With

Sep 30, 2016

People that drive everyday are very familiar with their cars.  They know exactly how all the controls work, how to read the gauges, how to check for potential problems, and also how the car is supposed run which makes any problems noticeable.  If you use a forklift for your job every day, you should have the same level of familiarity with your forklift that you have with your car.  Much like your car, your forklift requires regular maintenance and must be handled properly.  There are three very important areas of a forklift that you should become familiar with in order to keep your forklift operating and get the most out of it.  Knowing these three areas very well will help you take better care of your forklift and recognize when there is a problem.

3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With in Chicago ILFluid Reservoirs

The fluid reservoirs in a forklift are located in engine block, trans axle, and radiator.  Checking the fluids, including the gas, oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, battery acid, and hydraulic fluid should be part of your safety check before operating the forklift.  It is very important that all fluids are at the right level when driving the forklift because if any of these fluids are low, it can result in considerable damage.  Low antifreeze can cause the engine to overheat and low transmission or hydraulic fluids can cause damage to these systems.  Maintaining the level of fluids on a regular basis will help you become more familiar with the operation of your forklift.

Movable Parts

Forklifts consist of many moving parts that must all be in working order for the forklift to operate efficiently.  As part of your preliminary safety check, you should look under the hood and make sure the moving parts are lubricated and working properly.  If a part is not lubricated well enough, the friction can lead to damage.  Be sure to lubricate any forklift parts that need it and clean out any rust or oxidation buildup.

Dashboard Gauges

The dashboard in a forklift contains all the gauges, lights, and warnings that let you know how the forklift is operating.  It is important for you to not only pay attention to these gauges, but understand how to read them and what they are telling you.  If a certain warning light goes unnoticed, it can have very damaging or even dangerous consequences.  You should check all gauges and warning lamps right when you turn on the forklift and take care of any issues if there is a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) on.  Most problems indicated by the warning lights are in a stage where they can be easily repaired, but ignoring these issues will only allow them to get worse.  You must also make sure each gauge and warning light works properly so that you are notified of any problems.  You can learn about each gauge and warning light on your forklift in the instruction manual.

If you are an everyday forklift operator, make sure you understand how to maintain these important areas of the forklift to keep it running efficiently for as long as possible.  Being familiar with these areas will help you learn more about how your forklift operates and recognize when your forklift needs maintenance.  Despite your best efforts to take care of your forklift, there will be times your forklift needs professional maintenance to get it back up and running.  Call the experts of RHI Lifts at (847) 447-0700 for reliable forklift maintenance and other Chicago forklifts services.