Fleet replacement Part 3: It’s time to replace and upgrade your lift truck

Nov. 1, 2017

Explore equipment innovations and options available in the marketplace today.

By Chris Merta, product manager, automation, The Raymond Corp.

Depending on the last time you replaced a lift truck, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn about all the new options offered today. These new product innovations are worth considering when you’re looking into replacing your fleet because they can save you time — and money. 

The first and second blog posts in this fleet replacement series aimed to help you determine whether you should replace your truck and provided details about the tools to help assess when is the best time to buy. Now that you’ve put those tools to use and decided that it’s time to replace your lift truck, we’re going to talk about equipment innovations and options available in the marketplace, with one major product advancement being automation.

Minimize labor shortages and reduce costs

The rise in warehousing demands does not seem to be slowing, yet the industry-wide labor shortage does not seem to be shrinking. This increase in demand has created an even greater need for operators. Yet for many businesses, filling these positions has become quite challenging. To help address their labor shortages, some companies have turned to automated lift trucks to minimize their workforce struggles.

Automated lift trucks help replace monotonous tasks so workers’ time can be reallocated to other, value-added jobs. For example, instead of an individual making five to 10 garbage runs per day, an automated lift truck can be programmed to manage this task so the employee can reallocate his or her time to more valuable warehouse responsibilities.

Stay competitive

We live in a world that wants results — and wants them now. To meet these expectations, companies are relying on automation to make production and distribution processes quicker, easily repeatable, consistent and cost-effective. As more companies invest in automation, their competition is being forced to match these standards.

When it comes to replacing your fleet, research what competitors are doing. Knowing that automation is growing at an unprecedented rate, pose the question: Is your company doing enough to stay ahead of the curve? Material Handling & Logistics’ U.S. Roadmap 2.0 states that technology is likely to be the strongest driver of change today and for the foreseeable future in the supply chain.  Consider whether an automated lift truck could help ensure your organization doesn't left behind in the digital era of warehouse transformation.

Streamline processes

Efficiency is a key reason for replacing a truck with a new model. To streamline your production processes and reach optimum warehouse efficiency, you may need automation. When a single operator is able to control multiple vehicles, you can consolidate job tasks and multiply the impact of your workforce without adding to labor costs.

Create a better work environment

Automation not only helps speed warehouse production and decrease repetitive, laborious tasks, but also it can create a healthier work environment. Automated lift trucks can take on the heavy-lifting jobs that are more likely to cause human injury or strain. For example, an automated pallet truck is ideal for heavy dock work and horizontal transport, while an automated tow tractor is best suited for parts-to-line, cart tugging and batch picking. Taking the human labor aspect away from strenuous and repetitive jobs can help improve overall work conditions and employee morale.

Automation is a revolutionary equipment innovation changing the way our industry works. From reducing warehouse expenditures to minimizing labor shortages and creating operational efficiencies, today’s technologically advanced lift trucks are worth considering when you’re looking to replace your fleet.

After reading all three blog posts in the fleet replacement series, hopefully you have a holistic understanding of how to determine the right time to replace your truck, what tools are available to help make that replacement decision easier, and what equipment innovations are available to increase your overall operational efficiencies.

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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