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Forklift Flexibility

Saving Money & Time

Whether your business operates one piece of material handling equipment or hundreds, simply by changing the way you think about your fleet can bring real and immediate benefits to your business. How do significant cost savings sound? Or what about increasing the efficiency of your operation? Maybe easing your cash flow could help? No? Then I’m sure bringing greater  flexibility to your business’s ability to respond to fluctuations in demand has got to be a winner?

The good news is that by thinking about your fleet in a holistic way – appraising all of the equipment you use, from pallet trucks to lift trucks, or from tow tractors to container handlers, as well as considering the whole life costs of operating the machines, together, can yield surprisingly significant benefits. For example, managing multiple suppliers across multiple contracts all with different renewal dates is a waste of resource as much as it is a missed opportunity to reduce cost.

Factor in any potential future growth of your business and the subsequent increase in demand that this might bring, not to mention any slower periods that may come about due to external factors and it really does start to become a game changer.

If this holistic approach is then supported with innovative product and service solutions that are built to exactly fit the unique needs and preferences of your operation, then suddenly your material handling fleet turns into a true asset, one that is not static but continually evolving to ensure it is, at all times, match-fit for your applications.

So how do you make all of this a reality for your organisation?

‘Well firstly, you find the right material handling partner for you.’

The key thing to look for is flexibility, both in their financial and contractual offering and in their ability to supply and support the right equipment for your fleet.

Financial and contractual flexibility

There is more than one way to ‘own’ your equipment, with an outright purchase being the least flexible of these. The more common contract hire or long-term hire agreements – typically 5 years – allow you to combine the actual acquisition of the equipment with an ongoing service and support level consideration – the truth being that you really do need both. This will almost always work out as more beneficial to your business over time than an outright purchase.

The critical difference here between the various providers, is in how flexible that contract hire agreement is. Look carefully at how easy it will be for you to change trucks if they are no longer ideal for their application or if they become excessive to your requirement. Particularly if that change occurs mid contract. Not all providers are open to taking trucks back. In fact, the ideal partner should act proactively here in identifying the need to change – and if they are truly committed to maintaining an optimal fleet and putting you the customer first, then they will.

Combining dedicated new equipment, with rapidly available short term hire machines within your contract, will give you ultimate flexibility. Supplementing a backbone of ‘owned’ machines with your supplier’s rapidly available short term hire equipment means you can increase capacity at extremely short notice without the inefficiency of holding spare trucks. Just be sure your partner has invested adequately in their inventory for it to be there when you need it!

Don’t be afraid of building some fully refurbished used equipment into the mix too, it will provide a very cost-effective solution to low utilisation roles, or as spare trucks if absolutely necessary.

Fleet flexibility

To ensure each piece of equipment is exactly right for your application, the supplier will need to have a diverse and comprehensive range of premium equipment as well as the expertise to be able to effectively evaluate and audit your handling environment. The best partner should have a wide enough combination of brands to fully cover all your needs. Additionally, they should be able and willing to identify, specify and customise that equipment to tailor fit exactly to your situation. A very close and strong working relationship with the manufacturers they represent is essential here.

Whilst of course we believe that the equipment we sell is the very best in the market place, the truth is the difference between machines today is less than it has been in the past and the thing that really matters now is the service, support and flexibility you receive from your materials handling partner – and this still does vary quite wildly.

So, we strongly recommend finding the right material handling partner for you and your specific application, especially in these uncertain and ever changing times.