Checklist: selecting a material handling supplier

January 16, 2015
Written by Michael Poeltl, Marketing & Dealer Development Specialist, Stärke Material Handling Group
Jan. 16, 2015 — It’s not always easy to weigh the benefits of one company over the other when they all say the same thing online.

So before you decide on a forklift service provider, you ought to visit their facilities and make a qualified decision from first-hand experience.

The service provider’s capabilities will reveal themselves through product knowledge, people and infrastructure. It’s on you, the company that owns the fleet of forklifts and lift trucks, to make an informed decision.

The following is a list of some of the questions to ask and observations to consider when sourcing a forklift services provider.
• What is the value of their parts inventory on hand?

• Was their parts inventory organized and look current?

• Do they have a formal computer system and database to track the service history of each piece of your equipment?

• What are the company’s capabilities? How many mechanics? Tools? Equipment?

• Do they maintain service records on your trucks that would allow them to prepare their mechanics before the units reach their facility?

• Do they have mobile service trucks, and are they stocked with parts?

• How do they transport equipment for repairs, and how will that effect down-time?

• Do they offer special rate rentals while your equipment is down?

• Can they provide you with fleet cost analysis?

• Do they track your OHSA / safety certification requirements?

• Do they track your OHSA operator training requirements?

• Do they offer forklift training?

• How long have they been in business?

• How do they support their local community?

• Do they have case studies and testimonials?
As you can see, any one of these deficiencies will result in inefficiencies that put the actual cost of your long-term service requirements much higher.

Remember, the cost of service shouldn't be your only factor. In order to offer these services, you may find the hourly rate higher, but without these services, it could cost you considerably more.
A lower rate provider is more likely to provide your equipment with temporary solutions through repeat service calls – increasing your downtime, while the mid-higher rate providers are more likely to have the tools and systems that they need to work most efficiently to save you money over the long run!
Proper infrastructure at your service provider is necessary to keep your forklift fleet running optimally. You spent a lot of money on your forklifts; don’t look for savings in a service provider who can’t offer you the full range of services you deserve.

It’s like the old saying – “You get what you pay for.”

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