Value-Based Purchasing vs. Sticker Price
When buying a new forklift, you want to make sure you are not only getting the best value for your money, but you are also getting the right piece of equipment for the job. The initial purchase price of the truck doesn’t accurately portray the actual cost or value of the equipment over the long run. There are many factors to consider over the lifetime of the truck.
Before making a purchase based on sticker price there are a few fairly basic questions you should ask yourself:
Will you be operating in an outdoor lumberyard or possibly in a freezer? Maybe you’ll be in a nice warm warehouse – Possibly even a combination of environments. If the equipment is going to be outdoors will you be in sunny California or be facing the harsh winters of the Upper Mid-West?
The surface you’ll be working on will affect what type of equipment you select. Some lift trucks are designed to work on smooth, level surfaces (such as concrete floors) and will not function effectively or safely on outdoor rough terrain. Rough-terrain lift trucks, on the other hand, are equipped with additional suspensions and are wider than a standard forklift providing a more stable work platform and lower center of gravity, thus making them more efficient on uneven ground.
How your lift truck is powered will also be determined by the type of environment you will be operating in. When it comes to loading and lifting indoors in a warehouse, electric trucks make more sense because they are quiet and non-polluting. Gasoline powered lift trucks are well suited for outdoor applications or in colder conditions where there will be a lot of starting and stopping. Diesel is preferred when the terrain is rugged and the engine will be running constantly. And Liquid Petroleum (LP) is ideal for indoor/outdoor use.
Electric and LP powered lift trucks are by far the most popular because they have zero emissions, a longer lifespan, produce little noise and are very easy to maintain. Even with these advantages over fuel driven forklifts sometimes a gasoline, diesel, or LP forklift is a better choice – especially for outdoor applications that often see inclement weather.
All forklifts are rated for loads at a specified maximum weight and a specified forward center of gravity. This is the lift truck’s Lifting Capacity. You’ll want to be sure that the heaviest load you plan to move with the forklift you are purchasing does not exceed this limit.
This is important to consider so that you are not overloading your truck. This can be an especially dangerous safety issue if there is a chance the truck could tip. On the other hand, if you choose a truck that is rated for weights well above what you will be moving, your operating costs will be much more than they could be with a truck more suited to your needs.Whatever the size of your typical load is will determine the capacity you need. Forklift capacity is usually based on a 24” load center – the distance from the center of gravity to the sides of the load.
You’ll want to make sure that the equipment you are purchasing is going to be able to fully operate in the space available. If the aisles are very narrow a typical lift truck might not be the appropriate machine for the job.
A narrow-aisle lift truck might be the right option depending on how it will be used. There are two primary functions of narrow-aisle lift trucks – rack interface and order picking.
Keven Trenga, Product Marketing Manager for Hyster warehouse trucks explains it like this: “A reach truck is a rack interface truck. It does put away and let down of full pallet loads on either side of an aisle as narrow as 96 inches. Orderpickers are operator-up trucks designed for picking cases and units of product and are not for rack interface with pallet loads.”
Will you be primarily moving equipment from a truck to the floor? Or will you be stacking pallets 30 or 40 feet overhead on racks? The lifting height will also affect the lifting capacity. As your lifting height goes up the truck capacity will need to be higher because the load center will be different – For example – a forklift can carry 4000 pounds at a 24 inches load center, but only 2666 pounds at a 36 load center.
The absolute best way to know that you are getting the right truck for your application as well as the best value for your money is to consult with a Material Handling expert. They will evaluate your specific requirements and offer a solution that will work for you.
Our Material Handling Specialists at MH Equipment are experienced in knowing what the appropriate solutions are for your unique applications! They will also help you evaluate the purchase price vs. the cost of ownership so you can make a value based purchasing decision.