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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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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:
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 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.
Check for proper operation of clutch or inching circuit and adjust if necessary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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?
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.
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
In less than 60 days new accounting rules will impact operations, and organizations whose finance and operations personnel are on the same page will benefit the most. Selecting the right financing is just as important as choosing the right equipment. No matter the fleet size, these changes will compel an even greater collaboration between those who cut the checks and those who rely on forklifts every day.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has approved changes to Accounting Standard Codification (ASC) 842, which affects operating leases. On January 1, 2019, the Finance Accounting Standards Board's FASB13 will take effect. FASB13 calls for every lease to be classified as either an operating lease or capital lease based on specific criteria.
Currently, capital leases are reported on the balance sheet as an asset and liability. Operating leases, however, are supposed to be footnoted on the balance sheet but are expensed on the income statement. The new guidance generally stipulates that lessees will be required to recognize both Capital and Operating leases as assets and liabilities for leases with term of more than 12 months. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, all leases (capital and operating) will be required to be accounted for on the balance sheet as right-of-use (ROU) asset and lease liability on their balance sheet. *
“This will have a couple of significant impacts to companies. First, having all leases on the balance sheet will give creditors greater visibility to total liabilities. Secondly, many companies did not require capital approval of off-balance-sheet acquisitions such as rentals and operating leases, which made it quicker and easier to obtain equipment. The increased scrutiny associated with on-balance-sheet capital approvals may slow or restrict some companies’ equipment acquisition process, which makes it more important than ever for finance and operations to partner up,” Sue Rice says.
Leasing is an increasingly popular means of controlling expenses and guaranteeing access to the latest technology. The best way to keep finance and operations departments aligned is to use a data-driven approach to fleet management. Data is becoming increasingly important in the material handling industry, which is why telematics systems are growing in popularity. Toyota T-Matics MOBILE and T-Matics COMMAND deliver important insights about your forklift and operators. T-Matics offers a solution that gives greater visibility to your fleet's performance. Some of the features include fleet utilization/optimization, web-based dashboards & reporting, electronic hour meter collection, fully mobile, impact detection, etc. Bottom line...What gets measured, gets managed.
Still have questions? Dillon Toyota Lift is here to help. We can help determine what equipment and finance options are best for you in the long-term.
*We encourage customers discuss these changes with their Accountants, Auditors and Creditors to better understand the effects these revisions may have on their business.
Your business is growing and you either need to expand your current warehouse or build a new warehouse to support your growth. Sounds like a good problem to have! At least, until you have to decide what type of pallet racking system you need to install. In its simplest form, a pallet racking system is a material storage system. Pallet racking helps you stay organized within your warehouse and better manage you inventory. Choosing pallet racking, however, is not as simple as selecting a pallet rack brand and installing it. There several racking types that help you meet your needs. The type of racking you choose depends on a few criteria:
Selective racking systems are some of the most common and widely used racking systems, mainly because they are less expensive and easier to install than other, more specialized racking systems. Selective racking is great for warehouses that store a large amount of stock keeping units (SKUs). Selective pallet racking is usually a single-deep pallet rack. This type of racking makes any given pallet in the rack system accessible without having to move another pallet.
Cantilever Racking systems are used to store items that cannot be easily stored on pallets. Warehouses that use cantilever rack, usually store longer and heavier items to be stored horizontally across multiple arms (like lumber or steel pipes). Pallet racks, on the other hand, have vertical uprights that limit the length of stored items. This is the primary difference between cantilever racking and pallet racking.
Pallet flow racking systems are also referred to as “gravity flow” racking systems. Pallet flow racking systems are best suited for the first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management methodology. When you load a pallet from the loading aisle and onto the lane rollers, gravity allows the pallet to roll to the front of the system. When the pallet is removed from the front of the racking system, the pallets behind roll to the front of the lane. Pallet flow racking allows for high-density storage while maintaining FIFO. Some pallet flow racking systems may hold up to 20 pallets deep in one lane, minimizing the number of aisles needed to store items while maintaining efficient inventory turnover.
Push back racking systems is another high density storage option, with the ability to store up to six pallets deep on either side of an aisle. There are usually three carts stacked on top of each other. The first pallet is loaded from the front in a push back racking system and sits on the top cart. When the second pallet is loaded, it pushes the top cart with the first pallet back. Push back racking gives you higher density storage than selective racking systems, while allowing you more selectivity with storing items than other types of racking, meaning you can store more SKUs.
Drive-In racking systems are great for storing large volumes of just a few SKUs and can also be configured to manage inventory with FIFO or last-in, first-out (LIFO). With drive-in racking, the forklift literally drives into the racking system to move a pallet. This type of pallet racking system is cost effective by maximizing the amount of storage space in your warehouse.
Choosing between these types of racking systems will depend on the various goals of your operation and the relevant inventory data like volume and throughput. No matter your decision, always be sure that this racking is installed safely and effectively to increase productivity.
Written By: Kenny Trusnik, Marketing Systems & eCommerce Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA
If you’ve heard an anecdote beginning with, “Well, so-and-so said. . .” you are likely not alone. Part of our human nature means relying on our gut instincts and, while trusting your gut is something to be proud of, doing so isn’t always appropriate. Ensuring operational efficiency and the long-term value and ROI of capital equipment such as forklifts means having a good handle on how that equipment is being used within your operation. You may have a strong hunch about how equipment is being operated, but backing up that intuition with solid data is always the way to go! A vehicle management system (VMS) is a way to make sure you’re getting the right data to help you take firm, decisive action.
Trust me, I know how overwhelming data management can seem. And the data you’ll receive from a VMS like Toyota’s T-Matics Command or T-Matics Mobile can be overwhelming – unless you establish a few clear goals right from the beginning.
I’ve found that setting up a few key goals is a great place to get started with T-Matics or any VMS. For forklift operators and managers, vehicle uptime is often the “true north” that ensures a high efficiency and ROI. Adding T-Matics to the forklifts in your fleet can help your Toyota technicians have a clearer understanding of your needs and to ensure that you have maximum uptime in your organization.
Fault code notifications managed via T-Matics Mobile give instant insight into forklift malfunctions to help you understand the cause behind your forklift’s breakdown. When sensors are able to discover potential problems before the affected forklift is inspected by your technicians, they’ll be better prepared by having the correct parts in hand right when they arrive, increasing their efficiency. First-time fix rate is also increased as diagnostics are constantly running in order to provide technicians the insight they need to be successful.
The problem with calendar-based planned maintenance is its failure to show the actual needs of a forklift because it relies on ambiguous and historical understanding of usage and need. With a VMS like T-Matics, planned maintenance can be scheduled based on activity rather than on a predetermined calendar date, meaning you’ll get maintenance right when you need it.
When you capture data effectively, you can turn it around into information that can be handed over, clearly and accurately, to your technician. By painting a detailed picture of your forklift utilization to your technician, they will be better at anticipating any upcoming compilations and at using this information to perform accurate diagnostics on current and potential breakdowns. The more your technician knows about a forklift’s utilization, the better equipped they are to deliver the best services.
T-Matics data offers insights into when your forklifts are being used most often. Use this knowledge for improving operational efficiencies, especially since it will allow you to distinguish between login and motion hours. These insights can also give you and your technician a good understanding of when they should be working on your forklift so they don’t interrupt your operation. Planned maintenance and fixes of problems not leading to breakdown can be performed during slower periods of your operation.
Written by: Linley Kullman, Telematics Support Administrator, Toyota Material Handling, USA
Toyota’s full line of equipment ranges from the small but sturdy hand pallet truck to the colossal beasts that make up our line of container handlers. Oftentimes, load capacity and application needs will determine the best type of material handling equipment you’ll need. But sometimes the decision may be a bit more subtle.
A Toyota Hand Pallet Truck (HPT) may be exactly what you need to get the job done for smaller applications – but a Toyota Electric Walkie Pallet Jack might work just as well. The load capacities between these two products aren’t much different. The HPT’s capacity weighs in at 5,500 pounds while the Electric Walkie maxes out at 4,500. How do you decide between the two?
While the HPT can lift a higher capacity than the Electric Walkie, heavier loads mean more exertion from the operator, making it better suited for shorter run times and quick material handling jobs. It’s an economical option whose size makes it highly versatile and ergonomic without any of the complexities of electrical wiring or battery maintenance. It’s a great fit for retail, cold storage, and general warehousing industries!
The Electric Walkie takes the strain off the operator, making it ideal for mid-distance runs and ease of operation when working on trailers, dock plates, and ramps or slopes. An electric disc brake comes in handy when working on a grade where you may need to stop, and the anti-rollback system conveniently assists in keeping a load stationary during a transition from braking to moving. The HPT doesn’t have a similar system, meaning that the operator must maintain the stability of the load through physical exertion or sitting the load down. On a grade, the momentum can make this difficult.
A bit bigger than an HPT, this walkie is still a great fit for efficiently moving products through a warehouse and is designed with convenience in mind. Its drive motor makes it easier to navigate over dock plates and to both pull and raise loads, ideal for higher cycle applications.
Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference. If you’re not sure which product is the best match for your operation, feel free to Contact Dillon Toyota Lift for more information.
Written by: Anastasia Sistevaris, Communications Copywriter, Toytoa Material Handling, USA
Winter is coming! And while you likely don’t have to worry much about an army of the undead descending upon you, you still have to prepare yourself (if you’re an operator), associates (if you’re a supervisor), facility, and forklifts for the harsh weather conditions ahead. Winterizing your fleet and facilities is no small task and it can have serious long-term impact if you don’t take the right forklift weather protection steps before snow piles up. So where to start? There are several areas of an operation to consider as the cold arrives.
This one’s pretty obvious, but if your operation involves working outside, then the wintery conditions are going to affect you significantly. Whether it’s freezing rain, snow, or anything in between, you need to have procedures in place for how and when it is appropriate to work in these types of environments. What types of hazards does this present for your application? Do you have ramps or pathways that could be particularly icy or dangerous to traverse? Is there danger of your product being damaged if exposed to these elements? What effect does the weather have on your visibility? Forklift weather protection is all about understanding the severity of the weather and its impact to your entire operation; that’s key to proper decision making. Make sure to never operate a forklift in any dangerous conditions and to only travel as fast as the conditions will allow.
The safety of all associates is paramount. This starts with making sure operators and pedestrians are dressed appropriately for the weather by wearing extra layers and covering up their extremities as needed. If you’re an operator, make sure you take responsibility and let your supervisor know your needs. Gloves, coats, socks, boots, and ear muffs are but a few additional items to consider. When visibility is adversely affected by the weather, it’s also a good idea to wear high visibility clothing such as safety vests to help ensure high visibility. However, remember that safety is the most important thing here. Any additional clothing or gear operators wear should not impair their ability to perceive their environment (e.g. hearing or sight restrictions) or operating ability (e.g. limited mobility or ability to operate controls)
We talked about setting procedures for how to handle cold weather conditions, but it’s just as important to keep your employees informed of these procedures. Hosting daily meetings before each shift to evaluate current and expected weather conditions is a useful practice. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page prior to beginning their work day and allows you to develop a forklift weather protection action plan catered to the specific conditions for that day. It can also help you to reinforce good pre-operation checks. Having proper fluid levels, tire conditions, and other standards satisfied will help your operators stay safe during this time of year. If you’re an operator, this is definitely a process worth bringing up to your manager.
Does your forklift have an enclosed operator compartment and a heater/defroster? If you’re operating outdoors, and as long as the compartment doesn’t hinder perception of the working environment (fog glass, inability to hear, etc.), features like these can go a long way to keep operators warm, comfortable, and productive. It can also help make sure the operator controls and seats stay in top working condition. What about cold start aids such as engine block heaters and coolant preheaters? Are you using batteries that are designed to work or be charged in cold conditions? If you can’t even get your forklift started, you’re not going to get very much work done.
Even if your forklift is properly equipped, you still need to properly maintain it to keep it up and running throughout the winter. This starts with scheduling preventative maintenance with an authorized Toyota dealer prior to the start of cold weather and having regularly scheduled maintenance throughout the year. Proper battery care and maintenance is equally as important. Maintaining proper water levels and limiting exposure to cold weather as much as possible are two general rules of thumb for electric forklifts. Cold weather can greatly reduce battery life and battery run time so you should prepare for how this might affect your productivity ahead of time. Consider your battery charging options and number of batteries on-hand to help reduce potential downtime.
Written by: Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA
Dillon Toyota Lift is the authorized Toyota Forklift dealer in Idaho and Utah, providing solutions to all material handling needs since 1981. We are your full service provider for new and used forklifts, rentals, parts, service, and lift truck operator training.
Nampa : (208) 466.8994
Twin Falls : (208) 466.8994
Idaho Falls : (208) 466.8994
Salt Lake : (801) 972.1930
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