Supply chain management and logistics rely heavily on forklifts to transport heavy cargo and inventory in warehouses, factories, and other businesses. Although the industry has experienced growth over the years, some challenges threaten the viability of dealerships within the industry. Overcoming these challenges is essential to improving overall profitability.
Main Challenges in the Forklift Industry
Forklift operators face numerous challenges in the forklift industry, one of which is achieving a positive return on investment (ROI). This has continued to challenge operators in the industry, primarily because of the limited consideration of the costs of operating a forklift. The purchase price, repairs, and maintenance costs can add up quickly, making it challenging for operators to see a positive ROI. Without proper planning and cushioning, many businesses in the forklift industry do not stay viable long enough.
To overcome this challenge, businesses must consider forklifts’ total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO includes the initial cost of the forklift, maintenance expenses, fuel costs, and depreciation. It is also important to consider the most cost-effective forklifts to supply or purchase that are fuel-efficient with advanced features such as maintenance prediction that can keep businesses on top of future breakdowns and increase ROI.
Waste and Environmental Challenges
Almost all machinery, especially fuel-operated, has a level of impact on the environment. For more demanding warehouses that move around heavy loads, diesel forklifts are preferred due to their powerful diesel engines. However, these forklifts have an internal combustion engine that harms the environment. Greenhouse gasses such as nitrogen oxide and sulfur in the form of waste can threaten the ozone.
To overcome the forklift industry’s waste and environmental challenges, operators should find more eco-friendly fuel sources, such as propane, that produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Alternatively, businesses can employ electric forklifts to eliminate harmful emissions. They may be more costly, but they can have twice the lifespan of diesel forklifts. If jobs require the heavy-duty effort of diesel-engine forklifts, businesses should minimize the runtime to reduce carbon emissions.
The Training and Skill Gap in the Industry
A major challenge is the training and skill gap in the industry. Forklifts require proper training and certification to operate safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, many forklift operators receive inadequate training, which can lead to accidents, injuries, and damage to equipment. Approximately 11% of forklifts in the US cause an accident annually, so it’s bound to happen for businesses operating more than 10 in their warehouses.
To overcome the shortage of skilled forklift operators and minimize the risk of injury, businesses can prioritize training their staff to meet employment and OSHA standards before they begin operating forklifts. Training can be time-consuming and costly, so methods like e-learning solutions can be used to train workers at a lower cost, like the OSHA Education Centre or the Forklift Training Institute. Businesses can also upskill their existing staff to meet OSHA standards and work as licensed forklift operations to combat the national shortage in the industry.
By evaluating the TCO of forklifts, adopting environmentally friendly practices, and investing in comprehensive training programs, businesses can overcome these challenges in the forklift industry and improve their ROI, reduce their environmental impact, and increase the skills and productivity of their operators. Remember, forklifts are an essential part of the industry whether you operate a large or small warehouse, and with proper strategic planning, these challenges can be overcome.
Softbase Evolution and the Forklift Industry
If you own a forklift dealership, Softbase Evolution is the ideal choice for your dealership management system. Its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features make it a must-have tool to streamline your operations, from managing inventory and sales to servicing and maintenance. With Softbase Evolution, you can have a complete view of your business at your fingertips, enabling you to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition. So don’t wait any longer, switch to Softbase Evolution and experience the benefits of a modern and efficient dealership management system today!