It seems that every day more importance is placed on lean business practices, and rightly so. As companies find themselves competing across a global landscape, it becomes imperative that they cut out waste in order to maintain a competitive edge. Lean practices come in many forms, from designing products for manufacturabilty to laying out plant facilities with Kaizen principles in mind. Utilizing a service lift to repair and maintain lift trucks is another way to “trim the fat,” and create a leaner, meaner business.
There are a variety of “traditional” methods for servicing lift trucks that maintenance operators are far too familiar with. Some facilities make use of the classic jack and block. Others use a second lift truck to mount the first on top of steel saw horses. Still others hook an overhead crane to their lift trucks and tip them on their mass, always holding their breath and hoping the trucks don’t fall over their center of gravity. Aside from creating precarious mounting situations that place repair workers in harm’s way, these setup methods take time and labor. With a service lift, the operator simply drives the lift truck on, presses a button, and the truck is lifted up or tilted back and ready for service. That time used to mount the lift truck is eliminated, allowing workers to focus their attention on repairs, and then move on to other tasks.
Cutting out wasteful time and effort has another benefit: facilities tend to service their lift trucks more often. This moves facilities away from repairing downed lifts and into the realm of preventative maintenance. Fixing lifts before they break down ensures that the facility’s lift truck fleet is always operating at 100%. And what’s more, the cost of regular maintenance tends to be far less than emergency repair costs.
Service lifts don’t make lift truck mounting efforts more efficient, they eliminate these efforts entirely. Service lifts also create a safer environment for repair employees. The piece of mind that comes from knowing that the lift they’re working on is mounted safely and securely allows these workers to focus on the task at hand, streamlining repair efforts further still. There are a lot of lean initiatives, but not many that can boast increased employee safety in addition to cutting costs.