Gestion de parc

Maintenance des chariots élévateurs : la prévention est le meilleur remède

Forklift truck maintenance & operations

Les chariots élévateurs représentent un investissement important, même s’ils sont loués en courte ou longue durée avec la maintenance comprise. Les économies européennes montrent des signes de reprise, il est donc prudent de surveiller de près les résultats afin de soutenir cette croissance fragile.

Gian Schiava examine comment les gestionnaires de parc peuvent utiliser la planification et la prévention pour réduire les coûts.

Il existe un nombre incroyable de mesures qui peuvent être prises pour améliorer l’efficacité d’un parc de chariots élévateurs. Les objectifs principaux sont souvent de maximiser le temps de disponibilité et de réduire les coûts – d’où un jonglage permanent entre ces éléments contradictoires.

Par souci de clarté, nous avons distingué les mesures prises par l’entreprise elle-même, et celles prises par le prestataire de service en gestion de parc, qui est souvent le fournisseur de chariots élévateurs.

 

Faites-le vous-même

Commençons par examiner ce qu’un gestionnaire d’entrepôt moyen (ou le responsable du parc de véhicules) peut faire par lui-même. Comme la plupart des contrats de location couvrent la maintenance, nous nous intéressons ici aux entreprises qui, au moins partiellement, sont propriétaires de leurs chariots élévateurs ou les achètent à la fin de la période de leasing. Les gestionnaires doivent veiller à protéger les marchandises, mais sont également responsables de l’activité de l’ensemble de l’entrepôt.

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En plus d’être gestionnaires de parc, il sont aussi DRH, formateurs, concepteurs de flux d’entrepôt, spécialistes du stockage, responsables des communications pour les problèmes d’informatique, pour ne citer que quelques-uns de leurs rôles. En fin, de compte, ils sont responsables de la performance de l’entrepôt et du contrôle du budget – sans parler des innombrables rapports à la haute direction et des réunions interminables. Cela laisse peu de temps pour gérer le parc de chariots élévateurs, mais voici quelques pistes :

Conditions du lieu de travail

Naturellement, l’entrepôt ou les locaux où les chariots opèrent doivent être rangés et en bon état. En effet, un sol en mauvais état est l’une des principales causes de dépenses liées à des dégâts qui auraient pu être évités. Le passage d’un chariot sur un morceau de bois, un emballage en plastique, de la ficelle ou des attaches peuvent endommager un radiateur ou un essieu et, si ces éléments entrent dans le compartiment moteur, peuvent détruire le système de refroidissement, voire provoquer une panne ou un incendie.

Formation des caristes

Les caristes doivent évidemment être formés régulièrement. Il est important de leur enseigner que la vitesse n’est pas égale à la productivité. Les caristes doivent savoir faire les inspections avant l’utilisation d’un chariot, connaître les techniques de maniement des charges, le remplissage du carburant, la recharge des batteries et bien d’autres choses encore. Et il ne faut certainement pas se limiter aux formations initiales : de temps en temps, les caristes doivent refaire ces formations pour qu’elles restent fraîches dans leur esprit. C’est ainsi que l’on peut limiter les accidents et les dégâts.

Safety procedures and monitoring
eureka has always been a champion of safe work practices. We have published many articles showing that setting up the right procedures not only protects the people or the goods but also contributes to less (unexpected) damage. Tangible safety devices can also be used, like speed reduction systems, warning signs or traffic signals.

Regular inspections
All vehicles age, and it is no different for lift trucks. To help avoid costly repairs and damaged loads, it is important to carry out daily or pre-shift inspections. The areas which require most attention are the forks, mast, chains and tilt cylinders. Most suppliers can provide comprehensive checklists.

Battery management
Today the mix of forklifts in a fleet tends to be predominantly battery powered. If the fleet is large enough, a separate battery charging room is needed. In earlier issues of eureka we have explained how these ‘nursery’ rooms need to be equipped and how proper battery management can extend battery life.

In-house maintenance (and parts availability)
Large companies with many vehicles (not just materials handling devices) may decide to employ engineers for the regular maintenance. One of the advantages is that the engineers tend to know the machines very well and contribute to decisions on replacement, thus avoiding a situation where repair costs go through the roof. The main difficulty is in keeping the right stock level of spare parts and controlling these costs, bearing in mind that most suppliers tend to charge more for last-minute emergency deliveries.

In general, the majority of these measures are not carried out as an overall fleet maintenance or management activity. Of course, they all reduce some of the unanticipated maintenance cost. Some companies even excel in resolving unplanned events – basically maintaining uptime at all costs. But didn’t we mention earlier that warehouse or fleet managers need both uptime and low costs? Furthermore, without an overall approach and overview it is also almost impossible to understand beforehand what the fleet costs will be – and that is what every manager would like to know.

What do the professionals bring to the game?

We have now seen what companies can do themselves to keep cost down – and that is a lot! Our list is by no means comprehensive, as there are many more possibilities. However, it is always an uphill battle to beat what the professional forklift supplier can bring to the game. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Preventative maintenance
The warehouse manager can expect a customised plan for on-site, scheduled maintenance services, including fluid level and lubricant checks as well as regular equipment inspections – all at a pre-determined cost. Operations will be evaluated and suppliers will take into consideration how many hours the forklifts run, the type of environments they are running in and a range of other factors.

Total maintenance and repair
Preventative maintenance can be developed further into a more comprehensive maintenance and repair support plan. In most cases this means all designated repairs are covered by one fixed monthly rate, which relieves the fleet managers of the task of chasing data for their monthly reports.

Data capture and analysis
Modern software is often used to see what is going on. This can include data registration of truck movements, registered charging time, uptime, fuelling data and much more. A proper analysis provides the fleet manager with actionable data to improve the usage of the fleet.

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Data capture and analysis
Modern software is often used to see what is going on. This can include data registration of truck movements, registered charging time, uptime, fuelling data and much more. A proper analysis provides the fleet manager with actionable data to improve the usage of the fleet.

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EXAMPLES FROM PRACTICE

Also the Cat Lift Trucks dealer offer an extensive range of services to keep fleets running smoothly. Here are two examples.

At Aprolis (France) we encounter Eric Predhomme. He claims: “Safety, quality, costs and manufacturers recommendations are the criteria’s we use to build a Fleet Maintenance program. All machines have their own Maintenance plan with check lists, including codified operations and related parts kits. Monthly we allocate around 500 technicians to the various service tasks.”

To secure uptime, Aprolis offers adapted preventive and predictive operations. The customer receives reports on the service activity. With this information, also potential risks can be reduced. Aprolis’ Preventive Maintenance process with codified operations analysis leads to increased product quality. Finally, training of the technicians play a vital role in the whole operation.

Impact (UK) stresses another topic. They insist on using only genuine parts. Independent aftermarket companies are primarily interested in selling a part, but with Impact it is more about the brand experience. Besides, original parts are perfectly matched to the truck. If anything goes wrong with a part, Impact accept returns and offer advice and technical info/build sheets to help resolve the problem.

Another advantage which Impact has, is that they have special in-house software needed to resolve certain truck problems. The engineers are fully familiar with these tools and, contrary to others, have a truck in no time up and running. They are trained by the official supplier, but Impact made sure they also have the skills to service all kinds of materials handling equipment.

Finally, specialized contract managers review performance, health and safety aspects, damage and cost savings at sites on a regular basis.

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