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Jan 10

It’s a given – Dillon Toyota Lift has you covered when it comes to material handling equipment. But did you know we also offer warehouse design and system integration?   Today's warehouse can range from simple shelving to complex systems.  Whether your business is growing or just starting, an efficient warehouse is more important than ever.

Dillon Toyota Lift Warehouse Solutions specialize in material handling equipment, warehouse design and system integration.   DTL knows that your business has specific needs and material handling is not always a one size fits all package.  We believe the key to a successful system begins with communication, planning and focusing on your needs.  Dillon Toyota Lift Warehouse Solutions offers a full range of services, including:  

Preliminary Consultation & Data Collection
• Project Design & Layout
• Equipment Purchasing
• Seismic Engineering
• Permit Application & Approval
• Project Management
• Professional in-house Installation
• Employee Training

Ready to get started?  Contact us today! 


Dec 27

Standing desks are all the rage now in today’s workplace. While many people I know with standing desks hardly use them, they’re at least there in case you want to stretch your legs every once in a while and get a good view around the office. And I suppose there are the health benefits of not sitting down throughout an entire work shift.

But choosing between a stand-up rider and sit-down forklift is about more than the potential health benefits. Using the correct piece of equipment can actually have a major impact on the safety of your workplace. This guide will help show you the pros and cons of both types of forklifts and point you in the right direction for your next purchase, lease, or rental decision.

On/Off Frequency – One of the main reasons you would consider using a stand-up rider is the fact that getting on and off the forklift can be considerably faster. With lower step heights and no seatbelt to take on and off, time spent entering and exiting can be cut down significantly. This is ideal for applications where operators are frequently getting off of the forklift throughout the course of their shift for activities such as picking product. The time and labor cost savings can really add up over time, depending on the frequency of operators’ getting on and off of the forklift.

Performance – Sit-down forklifts can have higher travel speeds and lift/lower speeds than stand-up riders, which can increase productivity and throughput in high volume applications.

Lifting Capacity – Stand-up rider and sit-down forklifts are both counterbalanced type forklifts. When comparing a stand-up rider to a 3-wheel electric with the same base capacity, you typically get more lifting capacity from the stand-up rider at higher lift heights due to the compact design and centralized center of gravity. Four-wheel electric models, however, typically attain the highest lifting capacities overall.

Purchase Price – The initial cost is typically higher for stand-up rider forklifts when compared to 3-wheel electric models.

Right Angle Stack – In general, right angle stacking capabilities are fairly similar between 3-wheel electric and stand-up rider models with similar capacities. Stand-up rider forklifts, however, usually have a small advantage due to their shorter length and can operate in slightly smaller aisles. Both stand-up rider and 3-wheel electric forklifts have a significant advantage over 4-wheel electrics in regard to minimum aisle width requirements.

Operator Preference – Operator preference tends to play a large role in most purchasing decisions for new equipment. Operators who are used to operating sit-down forklifts are generally resistant to swapping their sit-down for a stand-up rider and vice versa. The main reasons for this are the differences in operating position and operability. Stand-up riders are typically controlled by a single multi-function control handle while sit-down forklifts use conventional cowl-mounted levers or mini-levers. Sit-down forklifts also have traditional brake pedals, while stand-up riders use “plugging” (requesting travel in the opposite direction) for braking and have a dead man pedal for emergency braking. Being familiar with a particular operating style promotes safety and can help to increase productivity and operator confidence. But over time, operators tend to adjust and get used to the new controls and nuances.

As always, if you’re unsure of which product is right for you, reach out to Dillon Toyota Lift for advice and consultation based on your material handling needs.


Dec 26

Ecommerce is forever changing the way customers shop and the way businesses operate. More and more customers are shopping online and having orders shipped to a nearby store or more likely shipped directly to their homes. More importantly customers are expecting it to arrive quicker than ever before. This expectation of 2-day delivery is putting stress on businesses today and will continue to pressure businesses into changing the way they operate. Queue dark warehousing. Dark warehousing is a concept that is becoming more and more popular, although it comes at a price.

What is a Dark Warehouse?

A dark warehouse is a fully-automated warehouse that operates without the use of human labor. You can simply turn the lights out and the operation will continue to run. The pressure on businesses for swift deliveries of online orders has influenced the deployment of automated guided vehicles, self-driving forklifts, conveyor belts, and automated palletizers throughout all warehouses in order to speed up operations. Add all of these up among other automated equipment and you have yourself a dark warehouse.

What are the Advantages of Dark Warehouses?

There are several advantages of a dark warehouse that entice business to automate their facilities. One advantage is eliminating putting employees in adverse working conditions. Robots and other automated tools will perform tasks in those conditions, such as freezing temperatures.

Dark warehouses are also extremely quick and efficient, providing less chance for error with automated machines. There are no shift changes, breaks or human error that need to be corrected. Dark warehouses operate 24/7 without stopping.

Are there any Downfalls to Dark Warehousing?

There are a few downfalls to implementing dark warehouses into your business. For one, they are not cheap. These warehouses are multi-million dollar facilities with high capital expenditures. Large, established companies are best suited for implementing these types of warehouses.

Dark warehouses are also not as flexible in operation for picking, packing, and shipping. These warehouses are very good in industries that have products similar in size and weight. The more variation there is in a dark warehouse the expense you incur with automation equipment for handling different sized products.

What does the Dark Warehousing Trend Mean for My Business?

Moving to dark warehousing means some operations are having to alter the expertise of both managers and employees. Where warehouses with a manual focus require expertise in communication in a facility with many moving parts and a wide range of knowledge about different types of operator required equipment, dark warehouses require different skill sets. Technical software skills and program management becomes key.

Even warehouse businesses not moving fully to dark warehouses will see an increase in technology in their operations in order to meet demand and keep pace with competitors. In this case, learning how to integrate human-controlled machines into automated conveyor system and order retrieval technologies is key.

Dark warehousing is just one of several new movements in meeting the demand of customers in a digital world. As this demand isn’t likely to decrease soon, adjusting to trends and keeping a cutting-edge warehouse can go a long way in taking your business to new heights.


Dec 26

Equipment downtime is your operation’s worst enemy. Just like a car or house, a forklift requires maintenance and repairs after you purchase it. Taking a reactive approach to maintaining your forklifts can be accompanied by uncertainty and unexpected periods where forklifts are out of service. This can interrupt work flows that need to run smoothly for your business to succeed.

This is why many companies that use forklifts opt for a routine maintenance plan. The two most commonly used maintenance plans in the material handling business are planned maintenance agreements and full maintenance agreements (also referred to as guaranteed maintenance). Both plans are designed to maintain equipment uptime, be proactive on potential repairs before breakdown, and ultimately save you money in the long-run. But is the difference between a planned maintenance agreement and full maintenance agreement? We break that down right here for you.

Proactive with Planned Maintenance

Detailed inspections. Recommended repairs. Flexible billing. Tailor-made schedule. In my experience at a Toyota forklift dealership, these were expectations that come with a planned maintenance agreement. Many service providers have a detailed point inspection checklist the technician uses to inspect repair needs, potential safety risks, wearable items, and routine replacement parts. As technicians work through the checklist, he or she documents recommended repairs and provides service quotes to you for those repairs.  After going through the inspection process and performing any necessary repairs, many dealers will then bill you and schedule in the next appointment based on both hour usage and date cadence. While this process might be slightly different with dealers throughout the Toyota dealer network, maintaining uptime for your forklift is the value of any Planned Maintenance agreement. At Toyota, we believe in the value of planned maintenance so much that we include four PMs in the first year when you invest in Toyota 360 Support Plus. New forklift investment and proactive maintenance should go hand-in-hand.

Free Time with Full Maintenance

Signing up your forklift on a full maintenance agreement is like receiving the royal treatment. At the dealership I came from, you not only received everything included in the planned maintenance agreement, but you also had a plethora of other benefits, including:

  • Maintenance records, tracking, and regular reports.
  • Pre-paid scheduled and breakdown repairs with the exception of repairs due to misuse, abuse, and wearable items.
  • Replacement rental equipment for the covered repairs, without charge.
  • Flat monthly payment with the exception of repairs due to misuse, abuse, and wearable items.

With full maintenance, dealerships often take on the burden of overseeing the entire preventive health of your forklift. The true benefit is that the people who work with the equipment daily at the dealership now manage your forklift maintenance. When the dealership is able to work side-by-side with the customer, the dealership personnel is often in the best position to understand when to make repairs and replace parts before it affects your operation. This adds additional peace of mind when owning a forklift fleet. The monthly rate also helps you budget easier as the cost will not fluctuate from month-to-month. Ideally, you wouldn’t have to pay for every scheduled maintenance interval or the unexpected repairs that come with owning the forklift. Full maintenance monthly rates take into consideration a number of factors, such as equipment type, forklift utilization, age, service history, and the environment in which the forklift is operated.

Every service provider may differ in the way that they offer maintenance agreements. Planned maintenance and full maintenance agreements, in general, follow what I outlined above. Define your expectations and take a long, hard look at a proactive maintenance for your forklift fleet. It’s up to you to work with a dealer and tailor the maintenance agreement to meet your needs. 

Written by:  Kenny Trusnik, Marketing Systems & eCommerce Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

 


Dec 21

Electric forklifts can be beneficial in many different work indoor applications (and now even outdoors with Toyota’s 80-Volt Electric Pneumatic Forklift). Using electric forklifts in your warehouse is one of the most common uses of these machines and for good reason. Electric warehouse forklifts can reduce fuel costs and be charged at intervals that can maximize efficiency across shifts. Take a look at some of the following benefits electric forklifts could have in your warehouse space.

Electric Warehouse Forklift Benefits: Less Noise

You may not think about it, but having a quieter forklift may impact you or your operator’s ability to operate safely and effectively in certain applications. In smaller, confined spaces, with multiple forklifts running, it could get pretty loud. With electric forklifts, it lowers the noise level, allowing for easier communication, and less fatigue from your operators. Really, the only noise that electric forklifts have is the horn. In certain warehouses, this can make it easier for operators and pedestrians to hear forklift horns, co-workers, or other important workplace sounds.

Electric Warehouse Forklift Benefits: Lower Emissions

When you are using a gas or LPG burning forklift, you are producing emissions that could be harmful to your associates and products if not properly addressed. Electric forklifts do not generate any CO emissions. This helps keep your employees healthy and lower the impact of emissions in your warehouse.

Certain products can also be harmed by emissions including food items, other perishables, and various consumer products. Toyota electric forklifts come in a wide variety of lifting capacities to fit many different applications. Also, less emissions is great for the environment!

If you are using a gas or LPG forklift in your warehouse instead of electrics, we understand there are many reasons that might have influenced that decision, and Toyota is the U.S. leader in internal combustion forklifts. However, make sure you are using proper ventilation techniques if you’re using one in your warehouse.

Electric Warehouse Forklift Benefits: A Wide Range of Options

Because your warehouse needs to maximize space, it could be hard to fit a full-sized forklift down your narrow aisles. An electric warehouse forklift can help solve that issue. At Toyota, we have many different electric forklifts to fit your needs. Maybe you need to squeeze in those narrow aisles? The 3-wheel electric would be perfect. It has a tighter turn radius than most forklifts, but still has the capacity to lift up to 4,000 lbs. Maybe your warehouse stacks pallets behind each other. This is where reach trucks work great. Being able to place pallets in front of each other makes sure you are maximizing your warehouse space and racking. No matter what type of warehouse blueprint you have, Toyota Material Handling has an electric forklift to fit your needs!

Electric Warehouse Forklift Benefits: Operating Cost

When it comes to the operating cost of forklifts, electric forklifts can usually be lower than that of internal combustion models. While IC models run on gas, electric forklifts run on, well, electricity! You may need to set up a charging station in your warehouse, but the cost of electricity can be significantly lower than that of fuel.

While IC models are still the most popular in the market, electric forklifts are increasing in popularity. So remember, if you are looking to increase productivity and ROI in your warehouse, take a look at all of the different electric forklift options from Toyota.

Written By:  Lucas Collom, Digital Projects Administrator, Toyota Material Handling, USA


Dec 20

Great news! Your company is growing. You’re bringing in more orders, expanding your warehouse and increasing business every day. But this means you will need to invest in some more material handling equipment. There are many different types of equipment to choose from, and a clear understanding of multiple aspects of your expanding business can help you understand your forklift fleet and its needs. So before you procure a new forklift, make sure you check out these helpful hints to make sure you are getting the right one!

Forklift Fleet Expansion: Inspect Your Warehouse

You need to make sure you match up your equipment with the blueprints of the changing warehouse. Can you stack higher? Expanding up is often an option, but you need the industrial equipment to match the task. Or is all of your product being moved along the ground? Maybe you need to increase your moving speed. These are vital questions when looking into the right forklift. Make sure you also take a look at your racking, and consider what equipment can enter where needed, helping you in hard to reach places. Lastly, make sure you take a look at your aisle widths. Forklifts come in all different sizes, and making sure it has enough room to operate is extremely important. Make sure you have a good understanding of calculating forklift aisle width minimums.

Know Your Product

After unloading so many shipments of your product, you should hopefully have a good grasp on how heavy it is. But if you’re expanding to new product lines or needing to lift them higher than you used to, your grasp on your requirements might be slipping. Making sure you have a forklift with enough capacity to handle your products is crucial. You will need a forklift that can lift what you need it to. Pushing a smaller forklift to its capacity limits can be dangerous, and could cause lost product, as well as injured workers. The same is true if your load center has changed and your forklift isn’t ready to handle the extension of new pallet lengths. Toyota has forklifts of every size, from hand pallet jacks to loaded container handlers. Our Find a Forklift tool can help you determine the right forklift for your lifting capacity and load center.

Understand Operator Needs

Acquiring a forklift is a big commitment. As a manager, your team will be using this machine almost every day. As an operator, this is the tool that will hopefully allow you to do your job safely and with maximum efficiency. Which is why you will need to make sure you look at all the options and accessories that come with the forklift. If your warehouse has blind intersections, you may want to look into different types of pedestrian lights to help reduce the risk of accidents. There are also options like a fire extinguisher and many others that might be excellent for your specific applications. Toyota offers different types of accessories that help with ergonomics, keeping operators healthy and less fatigued after a long day. This includes an optional rear assist grip with horn button on many models that can make driving in reverse less taxing.

While there are other things you may need to look over, deciding on a forklift during times of expansion should not be an impulse buy. You need to make sure you scale up your forklift fleet in a way that makes sense for the scale of your specific business. There are many different variables that go into the decision making process. Take your time, and double check that you are getting the forklift that will help your business grow. Operators should be clear about their needs and managers should have open lines of communication with their operators. This communication will be paramount in a successful fleet expansion.


Dec 06

As the material handling industry evolves, one area that continues to grow is the use of slipsheets to transport and handle products rather than the use of traditional pallets. Slipsheets are thin sheets made of plastic, paper, or corrugated material that come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit a range of needs. Similar to a pallet, they are placed underneath a load and are used to push or pull the load on and off of the forklift’s forks or platens.

Two different types of attachments are typically used to handle slipsheets. The first is a push/pull attachment that clamps onto the sheet and pulls the sheet and product load onto the platens (platens are essentially wider, thinner forks that come in different shapes and sizes). A gripper jaw at the bottom of the faceplate automatically closes at the end of the stroke and opens at the beginning so that only one hydraulic function is needed to grab and release the load using the sheet.

Above: Push/pull attachment engaging with a slipsheet and pulling the load onto the platens (Credit: Cascade Corporation)

Roller forks are a second type of attachment. Just as the name implies, these forks have multiple sets of rollers spanning across them, which help to roll the load up onto the forks. This type of attachment can also be used without slipsheets depending on the type of load.

Regardless of the attachment you’re using, slipsheets are becoming more and more popular as companies start to realize their potential for return on investment. They offer a significant number of advantages over pallets, including:

  1. Initial cost – Purchasing slipsheets costs significantly less than purchasing pallets. Many pallets can cost more than $10 per unit to purchase while slipsheets will only run you approximately $1 apiece.
  2. Storage cost – Due to their very slim nature, slipsheets take up significantly less storage space than pallets.
  3. Transportation cost – Reduced storage space and a lightweight design can greatly reduce transportation costs.
  4. Labor cost – Slipsheets are easily disposed of and require less labor to be picked up or moved around in a facility. They also save your employees a significant amount of time that would be spent floor loading products onto a trailer or off of a pallet.
  5. Environmental Impact – Since most slipsheets are easily recyclable, they are often more environmentally friendly than traditional wooden pallets that often end up in landfills.

Slipsheets are a great alternative to pallets in many applications, particularly for loading and unloading trailers and for general warehousing. They, however, aren’t a practical alternative for all types of applications. Non-homogenous and disproportionate loads aren’t typically ideal for being handled on a slipsheet. Low throughput applications may not be able to justify the return on investment that slipsheets can provide due to high initial cost for the attachment. 

Written by Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

 


Nov 30

Forlifts, like cars, require more than just an oil change.  One hour of forklift use is approx. 35 miles of automobile use.  An Annual Service from DTL will keep your lift running safely and smoothly.  Dillon Toyota Lift Service Technicians are here to protect the investment you made in your forklift.  Here is what the annual service includes: 

Electric Forklifts: 

  • Drain and flush hydraulic tank, install new hydraulic filter and refill with new hydraulic oil.Install new sump breather cap.

  • Drain and flush differential, clean differential with new fluid.

  • Inspect condition of all hoses.

  • Remove steer wheel bearings, clean and repack with grease and reinstall and set bearing preload.

  • Inspect steering system for worn pins and linkage and make minor adjustments as necessary.

  • Inspect service brakes for proper operation, leaks and/ or contamination.

  • Inspect parking brake for proper operation and condition of cables and linkage.

  • Inspect and test the battery, water all cells.

  • Clean and inspect the control panel.

  • Check for loose connections, corrosion, worn contactor tips.

  • Check for proper operation of all motors and insect for brush wear. Blow all motors out.

  • Inspect upright, tilt cylinders, forks and associated mountings for any obvious cracks, defects of mission stops, and adjust lift chains.

  • Inspect counterweight for proper mounting and that all bolts securing it are in place and tight.

  • Inspect for proper operation of all gauges, controls, starting and charging components.

  • Pressure wash lift.

 

Gas, CNG & LP Forklifts:

  • Drain and flush hydraulic tank, install new hydraulic filter and refill with new hydraulic oil.Install new sump breather cap.

  • Drain and flush transmission and differential, install new transmission filter, clean transmission and differential with new fluid.

  • Install new air filter and fuel filter.

  • Pressure test cooling system to check for leaks.Inspect cooling system for corrosion, check thermostat for proper operation and test anti-freeze protection level.

  • Inspect condition of all belts and hoses.

  • Perform engine tune-up with new spark plugs, points, condenser, rotor, distributor cap and ignition wires.

  • Adjust valve lifters, install new valve cover gasket and perform engine compression test.

  • Remove steer wheel bearings, clean and repack with grease and reinstall and set bearing preload.

  • Inspect steering system for worn pins and linkage and make minor adjustments as necessary.

  • Inspect service brakes for proper operation, leaks and/ or contamination.

  • Inspect parking brake for proper operation and condition of cables and linkage.

  • Check for proper operation of clutch or inching circuit and adjust if necessary.

  • Inspect upright, tilt cylinders, forks and associated mountings for any obvious cracks, defects of mission stops, and adjust lift chains.

  • Inspect counterweight for proper mounting and that all bolts securing it are in place and tight.

  • Inspect for proper operation of all gauges, controls, starting and charging components.

  • Pressure wash lift.


Nov 21

You’ve got enough paper in your life. Paper you send to suppliers. Paper you send to customers. Monitoring your forklift usage and efficiency shouldn’t require additional stacks of paper. A Vehicle Management System (VMS), like the Toyota T-Matics option can help eliminate paper, keep you organized, and save a few trees in the process. Here are a few ways that you can use T-Matics to go paperless.

Certification and License Expiration Tracking with T-Matics:

Letting licenses and certifications lapse can be a major problem. If you’re tracking these expirations on paper, in a log, or relying on your own or someone else’s memory, you’re setting yourself up to fail. T-Matics COMMAND allows users to enter a date of expiration on the forklift certification of an operator. COMMAND alerts you when it’s time for renewed licensing and training. You can make use of this ability with both established operators and short-term temps. Also, because T-Matics monitors things like impacts, it can help you identify when re-training and certification is necessary.

Operator Historical Data:

The paper associated with tracking operator successes and missteps can be cumbersome, and often falls through the cracks. As an operator, it can be easy to get frustrated if there isn’t a clear measure of how good you really are at your job that is clearly established in writing. As a manager, keeping track of successes is difficult, especially since so much time can be spent on drawing up paperwork to document accidents and impacts.

With a VMS, both of these pain points are eliminated, making everyone happy with their work environment. If you’re a successful operator, your safe practices and focused approach to your job are documented by clear data that illustrates your forklift usage efficiency and lack of impacts on the lift. If you’re a manager, you can reward your best operators, understand who will give you the best ROI during their shifts, and identify those associates who need to shape up in terms of usage and practice.

Preventative Maintenance Made Easy and Efficient:

Trying to schedule preventive maintenance on paper is a hard task. What if you miss the date on your calendar? Worse, what if you haven’t used the lift as much as you expected when that date comes and you don’t need maintenance yet? Or what if you’ve used it more, and need maintenance before the scheduled date?

With T-Matics, computer software keeps track of time and hour usage. It then relays an automatic request for scheduled maintenance to your local Toyota dealer. No more paper scheduling, lengthy phone calls discussing timing, or missteps in maintenance intervals. Using this function can be an important step in maintaining your lifts’ uptime.

Daily Equipment Checklist:

Paper checklists are a mess to file. It’s annoying to find a hard surface to write on. And time is wasted trying to find the right office supplies to make it happen. A VMS like Toyota’s T-Matics makes this system automated and files all of these reports electronically. No more paper. Simple.

I like that VMS systems offer all of these great advantages for your company when used effectively. But it also doesn’t hurt that you can get the reputation of an environmentally conscience company with a clear understanding of your responsibility to the planet. That’s a powerful message for a whole lot of clients and customers. Going paperless with T-Matics helps you win and keep on winning.

Written by:  Linley Kullman, Telematics Support Administrator, Toyota Material Handling, USA

 

 


Nov 14

Toyota recently launched an Integrated Fork Scale to help businesses streamline their processes. Have you wondered if the expense is worth it for your particular business? Here are four questions to help determine if you could benefit from an integrated fork scale in your fleet.

  1. Do you spend a lot of time moving pallets to a floor scale?

Let’s find out how much time you could save if you could get rid of one step in your process. Here’s a simple example: If it takes 1 minute to transport pallets to a floor scale to properly weigh them before loading or unloading and you do this 60 times a day, you could gain one hour of productivity by eliminating this step. Now do the math with your specific info. How much more efficient could you be with an integrated fork scale?

  1. Do you spend a lot of time entering weight data in your Warehouse Management System, tablet, or handheld system?

If the answer is yes, here’s another step you could eliminate to save time and effort. Toyota’s Integrated Fork Scale features a Bluetooth-enabled option to seamlessly feed information to your devices. Again, do the math to find out how much productivity you could gain if you got rid of this step. Take that number and add it to the number above. Could you save a significant amount of time?

  1. Do your drivers often perform back-of-truck checks on uneven floors or other poor surfaces?

If so, this might affect the accuracy of the weight check. The legal-for-Trade version of Toyota’s Integrated Fork Scale includes a correction sensing system designed to calculate weight, even when the load wheels are not level.

  1. Have you held off considering a fork scale because of concern about moisture damaging the display or inside components?

Moisture and technology don’t often mix – unless you plan for it. Toyota’s Integrated Fork Scale features a cold storage option designed specifically for food storage applications.

We hope these questions help determine if you could benefit from an Integrated Fork Scale. For questions about our fork scale or any other product, contact Dillon Toyota Lift today.

Written By:  Samantha Horton, Content and Communications Consultant, Toyota Material Handling, USA


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