Welcome to Dillon Toyota Lift's blog. Here you will find everything from product features, industry education, operator insights, material handling solutions, safety, trends, best practices and more!  


Jan 19

Did you know the forklift’s forks don’t directly connect to the mast? They actually attach to a support platform called the forklift carriage. The carriage is important because it is used to mount objects, including forks, the load backrest, and attachments, to the mast chains, allowing loads to go up and down the mast channel.

Selecting a forklift with a dependable carriage is vital to the safety of all those who work in material handling environments and for the long-term efficiency of your operation. Any place where parts of industrial machinery are attached sets and not one piece should be top-of-mind for the product’s durability. The first step in assessing the forklifts that are currently or may eventually be a part of your fleet is having a clear understanding of what each part implies for your operation. This guide will help you understand both carriage height and what that height implies for your potential lifting capacity.

Identifying Forklift Carriage Class

Understanding your forklift’s carriage class is important because it helps you understand what forks and objects will work with your forklift. There are five carriage classes. Each class can be determined by the distance between the top edge of the upper fork bar and the bottom edge of the lower fork bar. The carriage class also gives you a good idea for the lifting capacity of your forklift. Here is the carriage class guideline breakdown:

Class 1

Carriage height: 13”

Lifting Capacity: Less than 2,200 lbs.

Class 2

Carriage height: 16”

Lifting Capacity: Between 2,200 lbs. and 5,500 lbs.

Class 3

Carriage height: 20”

Lifting Capacity: Between 5,500 lbs. and 10,998 lbs.

Class 4

Carriage height: 25”

Lifting Capacity: Between 11,000 lbs. and 17,600 lbs.

Class 5

Carriage height: 28.66”

Lifting Capacity: Between 17,602 lbs. and 24,198 lbs.

Using this guide, you can ask informed question from Dillon Toyota Lift in order to make sure you get the best carriage for your operational needs. Understanding carriage class can also help you get a clear understanding of your fork and attachment capabilities Keep in mind that the carriage’s capacity is only one part of the equation when it comes to your forklift’s lifting capabilities. Always rely on your forklift’s data plate for accurate capacity information based on the entire configuration.

Jan 14

Let’s be honest. There are so many statistics and metrics involved with a forklift, it can be tough to understand what is what. There are tire types, mast types, various heights and dimensions that are all vital to know. Each of these needs consideration when considering what forklift is right for your operation.

One metric that is often overlooked is forklift free lift. A forklift’s free lift is the maximum height you can raise the forks without changing the mast height. There are two instances where this typically happens: when the inner mast rails extends past the outer mast rails or when the load backrest or carriage exceeds the height of the outer mast rails.

It is important to understand forklift free lift, especially if you are stacking or unstacking in confined spaces such as trailers, containers, and racking systems. These application have height restrictions and might cause product or equipment and possible safety concerns for operators or nearby pedestrians. There are two types of free lift a forklift can have: limited free lift or full free lift.

Forklift Free Lift – Limited Free Lift

When a forklift has limited free lift, it means that the inner mast rails will extend either immediately or shortly after lift is requested.  Limited free lift occurs with single-stage masts and two-stage masts with no free lift cylinder (see below on Full Free Lift). The amount of free lift can vary based on the condition and adjustment of the forklift’s lift chains as well as other factors such as fork thickness.

Forklift Free Lift – Full Free Lift

Full-free lift on a forklift means that the forks can be raised without immediately extending the inner mast channels. Full-free lift is available only on masts that have free lift cylinders. A free lift cylinder consists of a lift cylinder rod and assembly that is used to lift the carriage prior to the rear cylinders engaging.  This allows the carriage and forks to be lifted to a certain point prior to the inner mast rails. In many cases, you can get several feet of free lift depending on the mast design.

Full-free lift is helpful in areas where you need to lift a load, but have to be mindful of overhead obstructions.  Common areas where this is useful are for buildings with low ceiling heights and on trailers or box cars.


Original Post:  Kenny Trusnik, MArketing Systems & eCommerce Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Jan 10

Forklift operator safety training is pivotal for ensuring safe, efficient operations. Unfortunately, even the most effective and reliable forklift operators can still find themselves in situations that put them at risk of tipovers and injury.

To help prevent these inevitable situations, Toyota has equipped most of our forklifts since 1999 with the patented System of Active Stability (SAS.) SAS is an efficient and effective forklift system that takes over 3,000 readings per second to detect unsafe operating conditions. If a safety hazard is detected, the SAS activates one of its two main features that improve lateral and longitudinal stability of the forklift.

Active Control Rear Stabilizer System
The Active Control Rear Stabilizer System uses a patented swing lock cylinder to increase lateral stability by locking the rear steer axle. By locking this in place, the forklift’s stability footprint is converted from its usual triangle to a rectangular pattern, reducing risks of a lateral tipover.

Active Mast Function Control System
When sensing risks for a longitudinal tipover, the Active Mast Function Controller System triggers forward tilt control or rear-tilt speed control.

When activated, the forward tilt control detects the load weight and the extended mast height. It then reduces the reverse tilt speed of the mast by half of its unrestricted speed.
System of Active Stability

The rear tilt speed control similarly detects the mast height and load weight to decrease the mast’s tilt speed, reducing chances of a load spilling or a reverse tipover.Toyota’s SAS system is the first and only of its kind in the material handling industry. It has been accepted across the industry as one of the most important safety developments in material handling industry. That’s because Toyota SAS is key to protecting your most valuable assets – your operators.

Toyota SAS Protects Forklift Operators
Toyota engineers developed a dynamic forklift system for safety comprised of 10 sensors, 3 actuators, and a controller which protects the driver, load, and surrounding environment while facilitating efficient, productive material handling. System of Active Stability (SAS) works by continually monitoring the forklift’s operations and automatically taking protective action when needed.
This was all implemented on most Toyota forklifts in 1999 in order to protect operators in potentially hazardous situations. Here are some specific ways that that Toyota SAS forklift system help to protect operators.
The Active Mast Control and Swing-Lock Cylinder functionalities exist as protectants for expertly trained operators. They add an additional layer of security that can increase safety when paired with proper forklift operation.
Since transforming the safety triangle to a rectangle is not possible with a 3-wheel configuration, SAS takes a different approach to safeguarding stability of 3-wheel forklift models. Excessive speed when cornering is a leading risk factor for lateral tip-over accidents. The Speed Reduction When Cornering feature overrides manual controls by limiting the drive speed when cornering.
Some of the most potentially dangerous forklift uses occur when a load is being moved at height. The front angle control helps protect against forward tip over and losing goods off the forks, causing them to fall. The read tilt speed control reduces the risk of dropped loads occurring when loads could potentials slip over the mast.
Operator protection is our number one concern at Toyota, which is why we invest so heavily in safety features for our Toyota forklifts.

Toyota SAS Myths Debunked
The System of Active Stability (SAS), which is unique to Toyota and comes standard on most Toyota forklifts, has been created to assist in safety. And with all systems that are exclusive and top of the line, investors in such technologies legitimately ask whether it’s really necessary and consider all possible problems. But the fact is Toyota SAS offers only benefits to the safety of your operators. To offer peace of mind, we can help to debunk some myths about Toyota SAS.
Myth #1: SAS causes forklift operators to drive unsafely.
Truth: Any properly trained forklift operator is capable of operating a forklift safely. Properly trained forklift operators understand that even with SAS, it’s important to operate the forklift safely.
Myth #2: SAS must be inspected every 40 hours.
Truth: SAS actually only requires a 30-second check every 250 hours.
Myth #3: SAS causes excess downtime.
Truth: There are 200,000 forklifts with SAS today and according to studies, those units have 99.7 percent up-time.
Myth #4: There are 3,000 sensors in the SAS.
Truth: There are only 14 sensors in the SAS. Those 14 sensors automatically monitor the forklift 3,000 times per minute.
The benefit of Toyota SAS is just one reason why Toyota continues to be an industry leader in material handling safety. Need more reason to invest in Toyota SAS? There are clear financial benefits as well.
Toyota SAS Offers Positive Financial Implications
The benefits of Toyota SAS extends to the balance sheet, as the overall cost of a forklift accident far outweighs the upfront expenditure for a Toyota and the minimal cost of maintenance. How minimal is that maintenance cost? SAS requires little-to-no maintenance. In fact, of all the SAS systems on forklifts in the field, the average cost of maintenance per year is around $17.
Now, compare that to the cost of a tip over…
SAS helps prevent accidents from happening due to an unstable forklift. If it were able to prevent just one accident, it would pay for itself one-thousand times or more. That’s huge.
At $17 per year, SAS is the best (and probably most economical) decision you can make for your business. And since the forklift system is exclusive to Toyota, that’s just one more reason to make your material handling fleet a Toyota fleet.

Jan 04

Forklift certification, sometimes referred to as forklift licensing, is a requirement of any operator of forklifts in a given workplace. While it’s an employer’s responsibility to provide training, at Toyota we’ve found that operators are the ones that have the most at stake in forklift training programs. They are often the associates who ask the best questions when it comes to making sure they’re in compliance with OSHA forklift training standards. That’s why I wanted to take the time to provide three short reminders to operators and employers alike about training requirements.

Three Reminders about Forklift Certification

  1. The OSHA Certification Standard for forklift training requires classroom and practical training.

There are two required parts to forklift training:

  • Classroom training can be completed online, with educators in the classroom, through video, or a combination of any of these. The intention here is to give operators the knowledge they need about forklifts to successfully (and safely) operate them in a work environment.
  • Practical training is required so that operators demonstrate their ability to operate a forklift before they are authorized to use them in the workplace.
  1. You have to be trained on all equipment types that you operate and for specific applications.

OSHA requires that training be completed for all “types” of forklifts that an operator uses. For example, if you use a sit-down forklift and operate an order picker, you need to receive forklift certification training to operate both. Do you use a specialized attachment like a paper roll clamp? The use of that attachment needs to be integrated into your training. If you’re operating equipment you haven’t received training on, it’s worth a conversation with your supervisor to get certified ASAP. Training requirements can also vary depending on application (such as in a maritime or construction application).

  1. You have to be recertified every three years.

It’s easy to fall out of compliance on this one, especially if you’re a seasoned operator who’s been using similar equipment for years. If your three year anniversary since training is approaching, make sure you let your supervisor know you need to be recertified.

Dillon Toyota Lift offers forklift training for their customer’s operators. No matter the forklift, we will make sure you’re in compliance with all your material handling equipment.

Dec 31

Industrial jobs call for moving large objects in unanticipated locations. As a manager or operator, it can be frustrating when one-size fits-all heavy lifting rigging equipment fails to actually fit.

Indoor industrial jobs sometimes call for moving materials that don’t adhere to the traditional applications of cranes and other rigging apparatuses. These machines are great for lifting and setting down steel beams, heavy pieces of equipment, shipping containers, and other objects that will be primarily used outdoors or in building construction. But for indoor jobs, you might need to move objects into tight spaces. Traditionally, high-capacity, indoor jobs can be completed using a heavy duty forklift. But what happens when the object you’re moving doesn’t fit the common specifications associated with pallets, containers, or even other objects with consistent specs (like steel sheets, pipes, or lumber)? You might need to move heavy manufacturing equipment or heavy-duty machinery. So what do you do when that object does not comply with the lifting capacity or recommended load center for your traditional forklift or other material handling equipment?

Heavy Lifting Rigging Equipment: Finding a Forklift that Works

Luckily, the right forklift can work as heavy lifting rigging equipment if it comes equipped with a telescopic boom used to rig materials. For example, Toyota’s High-Capacity Adjustable Wheelbase comes standard with a telescopic boom that can rig materials for movement indoors. The forks can quickly be removed and replaced with the boom, meaning you’ll be able to move materials as efficiently as possible.

Once your uncommonly-shaped material is rigged, moving into tight, indoor spaces will be an easier process as a result. And for even tighter fits, having an adjustable wheelbase on the Toyota can be a major benefit, since the High-Capacity Adjustable Wheelbase allows you to extend and retract the wheelbase while also adding or removing counterweight slabs to increase and decrease load capacity. This can be a major benefit as long as the weight and shape of the material you’re moving falls within the recommendations at the specific wheelbase length and amount of counterweight slabs.

Remote control operation can also be an excellent feature when moving this type of material or manufacturing equipment, another option offered on the High-Capacity Adjustable Wheelbase. Remote capability means you can get out of the operator cab in order to ensure you have an improved view of the awkward object you’re moving and other objects in the facility (like racking or other machinery).

But why buy this expensive product for a one or two-time a year movement? Not to worry; forklifts with rigging capability like the Toyota High-Capacity Adjustable Wheelbase are prevalent in the rental market. As long as you are an operator or can employ an operator who has been trained to handle such a machine, you’ll be able to get one on site, move your object, and send it away quickly, so you can get back to doing whatever it is that you do best.

Original Post: Jake Stewart, Digital Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling USA

Dec 20

The world is changing faster every day, and the material handling industry is changing with it. To stay at the top and meet the needs of our customers, Toyota is changing, too.

Traditionally, Toyota Material Handling’s (TMH) core business has been as a forklift manufacturer, selling primarily to customers that move pallets. And while Toyota will remain focused on the “forklift core” and the needs of these customers, TMH continues to evolve to support a wider range of customers, too.

The middle section of the chart above represents TMH’s traditional business, including products such as the 3-wheel electric forklift, stand-up riders, pallet jacks, order pickers, and 4-wheel electric and IC forklifts.

Toyota Industries Corporation’s (TICO’s) strategic acquisitions of Bastian Solutions and Vanderlande have allowed TMH to also address customer challenges in the bottom section of the chart by providing case- and piece-picking solutions in an increasingly automated world.

And the recent acquisition of Hoist Material Handling by Toyota Industries North America (TINA) provides TMH with an avenue to offer solutions to cargo and container customers in the top section of the chart with Toyota Heavy Duty (THD) trucks.

Hoist has nearly 25 years of experience manufacturing heavy-duty cushion tire and pneumatic tire forklifts, reach stackers, container handlers, and other material handling equipment — ranging in lift capacity from 7 to 57 tons.

Each of these acquisitions — Bastian, Vanderlande, and Hoist — supports Toyota’s revolutionary vision of transforming the world’s No. 1 forklift manufacturer into the world’s No. 1 full-line material handling solutions provider.

Toyota has stepped outside of its proverbial comfort zone and continues to think innovatively to ensure that for every challenge you face, it can provide a reliable solution for your supply chain.

Dec 17

A Walkie Rider Pallet Jack is an electric-powered pallet jack in which an operator stands on an integrated platform while operating. They are designed to easily move products through a warehouse or distribution center. Its power, maneuverability, and ergonomic design allow operators to efficiently make long runs from one end of the facility to the other and comfortably handle multiple stops.

Walkie Rider Pallet Jacks: A Customizable Solution for Many Applications

The Walkie Rider Pallet Jack provides a reliable solution to the challenges faced in a variety of industries and applications, including beverage, cold storage, food storage, general manufacturing, general warehousing, and retail. It operates effectively indoors as a low-level warehouse picker and pallet mover.

With the wide range of options and accessories, the Walkie Rider Pallet Jack can be customized to improve your operation’s productivity and efficiency. For example, customers who move materials in and out of cold climates can add a cold storage conditioning option that helps protect components from water and condensation. The galvanized option includes all the elements of the cold storage option, but adds more protection against corrosive environments.

Some of the popular options and accessories include:

Battery compartment rollers — Provide rollers at the bottom of the battery compartment and dual side gates to allow the pallet jack battery to be rolled out from either the left or right hand side of the truck.
Coast control with jog buttons — Allows the end-controlled rider pallet jack to be moved forward at the touch of a button for low-level order picking while walking next to the forklift.
Load wheels and drive tires — Different compound types and load wheel configurations are available to assist with long runs, tight turns, and pallet entry. See our How to Make Decisions Between Polyurethane and Nylon Pallet Jack Wheels for more information.

Walkie Rider Pallet Jacks Available from Toyota

Toyota offers two models of the Walkie Rider Pallet Jack:

End-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack
Center-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack

Both models are AC-powered with a multifunction control handle with angled handgrips and wrap-around hand guard and have a load capacity of 6,000 to 8,000 pounds.

The major difference between the End-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack and the Center-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack is the positioning of the operator platform. The End-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack operator stands on the platform on the tractor side and rides with the unit, while the Center-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack operator to stands on the platform between the forks and the battery. Also, the End-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack has a maximum fork length of 144 inches and the Center-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack has a 103 inch maximum fork length.

Despite having some design differences, the two models share similar functional advantages. The multifunction control handle allows riders to simply manage all the controls with either hand. In addition, the high-speed interlock allows operators to maintain a top travel speed of 6.2 mph with a full load for long-distance transport without continuously pressing a button.

Other important advantages include:

Programmable performance parameter that can be customized through a digital display to adjust for a variety of job applications.
Self-diagnostics to simplify troubleshooting and eliminate the need for an external hand-held analyzer.
A glance-and-go display that provides a quick summary of key information.

Original Post: Hunter Liggett, TMH Marketing Intern

Dec 11

The material handling industry is composed of limitless application varieties. Sure, you have your general industries such as cold storage or lumber where common elements are shared from location to location, but even within these environments you have differences that need to be accounted for. This includes different floor types, ambient temperatures, racking configurations, lighting conditions, and so much more. With all of these varying conditions, how can you find a forklift that will work for all of them? The answer is: you can’t.

This is why forklift options are so important and so prevalent in the material handling industry, because it gives you an opportunity to customize your forklift to fit your specific needs. If you’re in a cold storage environment, you likely need additional safeguards to protect against moisture and low ambient temperatures while a forging application is more concerned with how high ambient temperatures could damage hydraulic hoses and other components.

These deltas can even be boiled down to some of the simplest accessories such as forklift lights. With so many lighting options available, how do you know what’s best for your application? The following breakdown will help explain some of the different options out there and their benefits so that you can make a more informed opinion next time you speak with your local, authorized Toyota dealer.

Lighting Options

Bulb Types

Halogen Lights – Halogen lights use a typical bulb with a filament that can be damaged due to vibration or shock. They also have more amp draw than LED lights, meaning your battery will be drained faster which can reduce your runtime on battery powered forklifts. Halogen lights are cheaper than LED in most cases, meaning they will cost you less money upfront.

LED Lights – LED lights are more durable than halogen due to the lack of a filament, they don’t get as hot as halogen and they don’t have as much amp draw from the battery. LED headlight lenses are also typically made out of plastic instead of glass, which is ideal for companies that work with consumable goods. LED lights are typically more expensive, but could save you money over time due to less replacement cost and lower electricity bills for battery powered products.


Standard Overhead Guard Mounted Headlights – Most forklifts with an overhead guard come standard with headlights mounted near the top of the overhead guard on the left and right overhead guard pillars. These lights can sometimes be modified or removed to be compatible with other options such as enclosed operator cabins.

Inset Headlights – Inset headlights are mounted further inward on the overhead guard and typically mounted to the top. Moving the lights inward within the confines of the overhead guard can better protect them from damage, but can also reduce the effectiveness of the lights since the mast can block some of the light being projected forward.

Low Profile Headlights – The headlights are have a narrower profile than the standard headlights, but are typically mounted in the same location. This allows them to be better protected without having to move them completely within the confines of the overhead guard. There are typically overhead guard mounted and mast mounted versions.

Front Combination Lights – Combination lights typically add additional functions to the standard overhead guard mounted headlights. This includes turn signal lights and parking/clearance lights.

Rear Work Lights

Rear Work Light – Rear work lights are mounted to the rear of the overhead guard and aimed behind the forklift. These are helpful for lighting the area behind the forklift, which is typically useful when travelling in reverse.

Low Profile Rear Work Light – A narrower work light is mounted on the rear overhead guard of the forklift and is typically mounted within the confines of the overhead guard to better protect it from damage.

Rear Combination Lights – This option rovides additional indicators on the rear overhead guard of the forklift. This typically includes back-up lights, stop/tail lights, and turn signal lights.

Specialty Lights

Strobe Lights – Strobe lights intermittently flash and are designed to help alert pedestrians and other operators of the forklift’s presence. They came in many different colors such as blue, red, amber, and clear and can also be mounted in different locations depending on the model.

Blue Spot Lights – Blue spot lights are usually mounted on the overhead guard of the forklift and aimed down at the ground in front of or behind the forklift. The distance the light is aimed away is up to the customer to determine based on the application. These lights are designed to help alert pedestrians and other operators of the forklift’s presence. In general, these can be more useful when entering and exiting aisles where the forklift and other lights may not be visible and where the color of the light stands out in the given environment. Also available in other configurations such as key-activated, travel direction-activated, and in different colors such as red.

Red Zone Light – These lights are mounted on the left and right side of the overhead guard and aimed at the ground by the customer, similar to the spot lights. They shine a red strip of light at the ground that is designed to alert operators and pedestrians to the forklift’s presence. In general, these can be more effective where the light stands out in the given environment.

Activation Types

Key On, Headlights On – The headlights are wired to the key switch and will turn on when the key switch is turned on. This is a helpful time saver for when headlights are frequently used such as when loading and unloading trailers.

Key Off, Headlights Off – Similar to the key on lights, this option only turns off the headlights when the truck is turned off. This is helpful to reduce amp draw on the battery. Leaving the lights on for a prolonged period of time can drain the battery to the point that the forklift will not start.

Key On, Key Off Lights – This option will automatically turn on all associated lights when the key is turned and will turn them all off when the forklift is turned off. The lights associated with this option may vary, contact your local, authorized Toyota dealer for more information based on your configuration.

Auto Lights Off (Oil Pressure) – Lights are turned off on the forklift automatically when the oil pressure reaches a predetermined level after the forklift is turned off. This ensures the lights are turned off even if the key is turned on, but the engine has not been started.

This list contains just a few of the options available today. Toyota is working to constantly develop new, innovative options and our team of expert engineers can even design custom solutions to work for you through our Toyota Special Design Request process. Be sure to contact your local, authorized Toyota dealer for more information regarding what is available and for helpful advice on what may be best for your specific environment.

Nov 26

Power solutions will deliver the next generation of forklift efficiency. Toyota is dedicated to staying ahead of the curve in power technology innovations – testing new power sources and energy integrations that will continue to maximize the value of all Toyota Forklifts.

Lithium-ion forklift battery technology is one example of the advanced thinking driving Toyota. Lithium-ion forklift batteries provide a wide variety of efficiency advantages that can offer excellent return on investment when managed appropriately. From consistent power delivery to quicker charging capabilities, exploring lithium-ion forklift battery options can reveal your next steps in operational efficiency.

As the manufacturer of North America’s most expansive material handling product line, Toyota recognizes its responsibility in leading the charge in efficient power solutions. With almost every product in Toyota’s electric line offering lithium-ion compatibility*, you can take advantage of our industry-leading innovation now and into the future.

Key Advantages of Lithium-Ion Forklift Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries can offer your operation an advantage by increasing efficiency. If the conditions are right for the investment and the space is available for charging, there are several key factors that may lead you to adopting this energy solution.

Consistent Power: Whether you have a single-shift, single-forklift operation or a large fleet working 24-hours a day, one important factor in delivering results and projecting milestones is consistent power throughout the charge of the battery. Lithium-ion forklift batteries deliver consistent power and battery voltage throughout the full charge; lead-acid battery charges deliver declining power rates as the shift wears on.

Faster Charging Speeds: In the context of day-to-day operations, lithium-ion forklift batteries offer significantly faster charging speeds and don’t require charging cooldown. This can help optimize daily productivity or even reduce the number of forklifts needed to complete objectives.

Opportunity Charging: Lithium-ion forklift batteries can be opportunity charged in any setting, eliminating the need for time-consuming battery swaps.

Fewer Required Batteries: Lithium-ion forklift batteries can remain in equipment longer where one battery can take the place of three lead-acid batteries in a multi-shift use setting. This helps eliminate the cost and storage space required for additional lead-acid batteries.

Virtually Maintenance Free: Lithium-ion batteries are virtually maintenance free, requiring none of the watering, equalizing, and cleaning needed to maintain lead-acid batteries.

The Future of Lithium-Ion Forklift Battery Technology:

As the industry pushes to revolutionize, Toyota is committed to fully outfitting our electric product line with lithium-ion solutions. Toyota Material Handling was the first manufacturer to offer a UL-E and UL-EE certified integration of lithium-ion batteries and forklifts. Available on Toyota 3-Wheel Electric and 4-Wheel Electric Models, UL-certification is just the first in a long line of planned innovations.

With Toyota Material Handling, the revolution is here. 

*Only specific lithium-ion battery brands/models are compatible with specific Toyota material handling products.

Original Post: Jake Stewart, Digital Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling

Nov 14

Peak seasons are an exciting time for any business. These busy seasons can mean increased orders, fulfillment requests, and, best of all, revenue. But peak seasons can also be stressful times that lead to warehouse inefficiencies and cause lost opportunities. Lead time can get extended and damage your reputation if you haven’t planned effectively for a higher than normal volume. Here are three useful questions to ask as you prepare for your upcoming peak season:

Do I have the right equipment for increased velocity?

Sometimes the right warehouse equipment is a full sit-down forklift (like a 3-wheel electric) that can move large pallets of numerous individual products to high velocity picking areas. For other warehouses in peak seasons, versatile hand pallet or electric walkie pallet jacks that can quickly cover short distances with limited touches are the answer. But as you come into your peak season, take an inventory and make sure you have the right material handling equipment to get the job done.

Do I need to reorganize my warehouse during peak seasons?

Perhaps it makes sense to keep pallets of high velocity, peak season products on pallets near the shipping area. Or maybe high velocity products need to be placed on lower racking levels for easier access by forklift operators and order picking personnel. Your distribution and supply chain needs will dictate what you need, but it’s worth asking if you can reorganize to be more efficient during peak seasons.

Can I increase efficiency by cross docking?

The goal of any productive warehouse is to eliminate touches on each product. If you can decrease the number of times a product needs to be moved, then you can shorten your lead time for customer delivery. During high-demand periods, you might consider whether you have an opportunity for cross docking, or the process of receiving a product and then shipping it to its next location without ever moving it to short or long term storage in a warehouse. If peak seasons demand quick delivery of products, it might be best to grab a hand pallet or electric walkie pallet jack and immediately put that received product on the next truck for shipping.

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