Covid-19 has impacted heavily on the logistics sector. As businesses get to grips with new ways of working, forklift trucks represent a major commitment. Many firms will want to delay capital investment, so it makes sound commercial sense to take a long hard look at how to get the best out of existing resources.
Fortunately, there are several options which will ensure that materials handling fleets can continue to work hard. It’s simply a case of setting up a reliable energy management programme that suits your operation.
Sweat your assets
Over recent years the nature of the forklift lease rental contract has changed. Primarily due to economic and technological factors, the average contract now stretches beyond five years. Keen to get the best out of existing assets over a longer timeframe, businesses are opting to negotiate standard contracts or contract extensions of eight years’ duration or more.
In adopting this approach it’s easy to forget about batteries. Taking the purchase price and maintenance into consideration – for powered pedestrian trucks and low-level order pickers as well as forklifts – new replacement batteries can account for 15-25 per cent of the cost of a warehouse truck fleet.
Several factors govern the longevity of any battery. Shift duration, frequency and quality of maintenance, charging procedures, application intensity and temperatures all have a role to play. Typically, the expected life of a lead-acid battery is five years. So, savings made on forklift rental costs could all too easily be used up to run the trucks for the extended contract period.
New is not essential
Truck performance issues don’t necessarily indicate that batteries need to be replaced. If it does prove to be the case, there are options. Refurbishment, using original spare parts, is certainly worthy of consideration. It’s a way to improve productivity whilst minimising operating costs.
Power not product
Ultimately, access to power is what businesses want. You don’t necessarily need to buy product. That’s why we developed a dedicated rental service that offers added flexibility and enables businesses to plan ahead. In these challenging times, it’s good to know that you can hire in additional batteries and chargers at short notice.
We manage the rental programme from our Staffordshire site and can normally deliver direct to customer premises within a couple of days. You’re not tied into a lengthy contract either.
Customised rental contracts
Contracts are tailored to meet the needs of specific business operations. So, if you want to hire in batteries and chargers for just a few weeks, we can help. Equally, if you decide you want batteries for longer, the hire period can be up to two years.
Monthly rental fees come out of the revenue budget. Not only does this make it easy to spread the cost, it also helps to ease cash flow. There’s no obligation to enter into a long-term investment. We also make sure that every lead-acid, FNC or lithium-ion battery available for hire is supported by a maintenance contract. Our experienced engineers take care of all servicing needs.
Proper battery care is vital. A lack of regular maintenance, poor servicing and incorrect charging procedures can have a significant impact on battery life. A loss of capacity will affect truck performance possibly resulting in battery malfunction. And, as we all know, equipment downtime, whilst repairs are carried out, adversely affects productivity.
Tailored maintenance plans
Cost-optimised service plans ensure that you get the best deal according to the level of support required. Typically, a contract covers watering, avoiding issues with spillage and under- or over-watering. It also includes cleaning, ensuring there is no loss of capacity from current leakage caused by dirty cell tops. Finally, an annual inspection and safety check determine whether batteries and chargers are safe and fit for purpose.
A reputable supplier will take the time to understand your operation and the challenges you face. Only then will they tailor a service package to meet your needs. All servicing and maintenance should be carried out by skilled and experienced engineers with access to the latest diagnostic tools. As well as delivering a cost-effective solution that prolongs battery life, this expert team can respond swiftly to a breakdown.
Part fleet replacement
One way to improve overall energy supply is to replace a percentage of truck batteries. We start by assessing the state of the batteries in use across an entire fleet. Some we will replace with like-for-like new product. Others we can refurbish and return to you. It’s another cost-effective way of enhancing fleet performance.
Post-lockdown we’re facing a new set of business challenges. Fortunately, there are several ways to maximise existing materials handling assets to enhance productivity whilst keeping costs under control. We can help your business emerge from the shadow of Covid-19 and get back on track. Call us now on 01782 667306.