Questions to ask when buying a forklift

Whether it’s your first forklift or your 100th, you still need to buy it (or lease it). When buying a forklift, the old “kick the tyres” check, just won’t cut it. There are certain questions you need to ask that could save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of pounds.

Before purchasing new equipment, most buyers go through an evaluation process that goes something like this:

  1. Analyse Current Operations
    1. Will anything be changing?  Specifically: have forklift hours increased?  Decreased?
      Operating hours are an important factor to consider when purchasing or leasing a new (or used) piece of equipment.
    2. Is the company planning expansion?
    3. What type of expansion is expected?
    4. When will the expansion happen?
    5. Where will it be expanding? E.g. are you moving? Will you expanding in a different county/country?
  2. Assess Current Equipment
    1. Is the current brand of equipment meeting your company needs?
    2. What is the trending reputation of the brand in use? (improving or declining quality)
    3. Is the fleet mix and quantity appropriate for current and future operations? (type, capacity & quantity)
  3. Evaluation Options and Choose a Supplier
    1. Entertain competitive quotes for comparable models (we have an online price checker, where you can compare the costs of forklifts against their features etc.)
    2. Compare/contrast features, advantages and benefits of each brand.
    3. Evaluate suppliers ability to properly maintain equipment or provide service when needed to maximise productivity.
    4. Evaluate contractual obligations for each supplier.
  4. Negotiation and Decision

    1. Negotiate service/equipment combination

The process above, though thorough, will not necessarily lead to a smart decision. A complete assessement should include the questions below. This is especially true for a complex operation with multiple locations or varying equipment needs.

Here are the important questions you may not be asking…but you should be:

  1. Is your current material handling operation efficient for current and changing business climate?
    – Do we need more space?
    – What options exist for space utilisation?
    – Can we reduce throughput and duty cycles with a different equipment / warehouse structure combination?
  2. What is your current cost per hour for operating equipment?
    (forklifts and warehouse equipment)
  3. What are the current operating costs per hour of competing brands?
    (Include service/fuel/parts etc…)
  4. What was the equipment rental expense and why?
    This is often a hidden expense of sub-par equipment or equipment that was operated past its economic life.
  5. How can you reduce your costs by reducing equipment damage due to abuse?
    How do your operators complete their daily operator checklists?  This is another hidden cost that can be reduced with proper training and accountability for equipment damage or abuse.
  6. How productive is your fleet?
    If you have forklift that has a lot of wheel time and very little hydraulic time, you have an unproductive forklift.  A forklift that doesn’t lift is either broken or a very expensive mode of transportation for a driver.  A telematics system can help you stay on top of this and many other key performance indicators.

  7. Can the supplier integrate all facets of your materials handling and suggest alternatives or better ways of processing and storing your materials?

Asking these additional, critical questions above can yield dramatic results for your materials handling operation. We live in a world full of information; what gets measured, gets managed.

Let Welfaux be your partner in helping you select the right equipment for the right place and process. Chat today with our advisors who can help you make the best choice for you and your company.