should you reduce your fleet

reducing your forklift fleet

It’s important to have forklifts when you need them and where you need them to keep your production on schedule. However, it’s also important to invest only in equipment that you need to keep your budget in line for forklift maintenance and labor costs. Implementing forklift fleet management will help you find the optimum balance for both.


Forklift fleet management is the practice of tracking the operating behavior of a forklift and/or forklift operation. This is often accomplished using a vehicle management system (VMS).

You may assume your forklifts run 8 hrs / shift, but often this estimate is proven wrong during a forklift power study. While a work shift may be 8 hrs, the forklifts may run less time due to operator breaks, fluctuating delivery schedules and other production factors. For example, a power study reviewing 3 forklifts may conclude only 2 forklifts were needed to achieve the production.


Looking at operating hours is not the only factor. Other considerations include:

Location of production:

A forklift may be needed for a short time during a specific production task, but bringing a forklift from another work area doesn’t always increase efficiency. However, if forklifts can be periodically switched within work areas, forklift fleet management can help keep hours balanced between the fleet.

Idle forklifts:

When walking through the warehouse, do you notice forklifts sitting for long periods of time – even with an operator in the seat? A forklift sitting idle on a daily basis may be a sign that you have more equipment then needed. Use forklift fleet management to highlight driving and lifting activity, capturing when the operator is actively completing a project.

Unique applications:

You may have a unique application that requires a specialized forklift, causing you to invest in another piece of equipment that is utilized a smaller amount of hours but it is vital to production.

Warehouse changes:

Since the initial forklift purchases, your warehouse or product may have changed and altered the need for a forklift. Forklift fleet management can show the forklift is now needed is another area of the warehouse.

Curious how forklift fleet management can impact other areas of your bottom line, including forklift maintenance? Call Thompson & Johnson today to speak to an equipment specialist or fill out a Customer Request Email Form above! 

Got Questions?

If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.