One of the most important decisions fleet managers face is when to retire a forklift. This requires a fair amount of thought since forklifts are not a cheap piece of equipment and retiring one from your fleet means decreasing the primary resource for your material handling business. The caution and carefulness required in making the decision come down to recognizing the need of the machine.
Many times, it turns out that the decreased performance of the forklift or the recurring problem was not an indication that it was at the end of its functional life, rather that it was a mechanical problem that could have been resolved by repairing it using the expertise of experts. Retiring a forklift before it reaches the end of its functional life can end up costing the business thousands of dollars in losses, not only due to lost equipment but also because of lost working hours that could have been delivered by the machine.
The decision is even trickier when it comes to used forklift trucks for sale since you can never be too sure about how long the forklift truck will function before giving out since you never bought it brand new. The consideration to retiring your forklift not only has economic and business implication but also safety implications for the operators and employees. If a forklift truly has reached the end of its functional life, then it can pose a serious danger to the operator using it and other employees around it.
That is why, the mark of a good and successful fleet manager is knowing when the forklift has given its all to the workforce and when to retire it, since delaying the retirement can have dire consequences. Let us take a look at some of the indications of when the right time is to retire your forklift.
Diminishing Functional & Economic Life
The first and biggest sign that your forklift is ready to retire is a diminishing functional and economic life. Let us take a look at what functional and economic life is in order to understand this better.
Functional life is simply the time the forklift spends on the site, in operation, adding to the value of the business and contributing to the delivery of the service. The more time a forklift sits idle, the lesser utilized is its functionality and therefore, its functional life decreases.
Now the only reason a forklift would sit idle is that either you let it sit idle or it is broken down. If the latter seems to be happening a lot more than usual then the functional life is decreasing and this is a sure sign that the forklift is reaching the end of its useful life.
The economic life is the cost spent on the forklift compared to the use acquired from it. It is important for managers to realize that keeping a forklift running for long durations of time does not make its economic life good. In reality, the forklift may be incurring more costs than it adds to the operations of the business.
This directly relates to the decrease in functional life, that if a forklift sits in the repair shop for a longer period of time then it is not working and accumulating costs. This means its economic life is decreasing as well.
Most used forklifts for sale have an already greatly diminished functional and economic life the moment you purchase them, that is why it is better to do through authentic retailers such as Truck Forklifts who can get you forklifts that have a reliable functional and economic life ahead.
Sometimes, the indication that your forklift is ready to retire may not come from its frequency of breakdowns and work order, but instead from the sheer lack of modern features. Manufacturers are continually striving to improve features on forklifts in order to help material handling businesses to improve efficiency and get the most out of the machines.
If your forklift is severely lacking in the department of “updated features” then it may be time to consider retiring that model and looking for one that keeps up better with the times. After all, having modern and up to date features is not only good for the business operations but will also ensure the safety of the forklift operators.
Lastly, retiring a forklift should never be looked at as a loss to the business but instead as a correct business decision taken at the right time to optimize operations and worker’s safety. This allows the business to keep the operations running smoothly without losing excess capital on repairing a forklift that is a lost cause.