June 24, 2016

Organize Your Fleet – Simple Systems

Organizing your fleet is one of the best ways to be in control of your equipment and assets. This can be overwhelming if there are a lot of pieces of equipment and not a lot of organization currently in place.

Some of the benefits of organizing your fleet are knowing which piece belongs where.  Especially if you include a department or branch in your fleet numbering system. That way, at a glance you know where the equipment should be located, and when it comes to billing, which department needs to be charged.   Additionally, it can help with planned maintenance by grouping certain machines together.

One of the best ideas I’ve heard is from Les at Wilcox Farms.  He says that that people remember 7 numbers at a time, in most cases.  That’s why telephone numbers are seven letters.  We also do better, when they are broken up, such as the hyphen in the telephone number.  His plan is to use a 3 digit number to designate departments, then two letters to define the type of equipment, then 3 numbers to define the piece of equipment.  For example; 200 (HENS) FL (Forklift) 001. It would look like this;  200FL001.

Another option that I’ve seen is by location or branch. For example, branch one is 10, branch two is 20, etc. then the equipment number.

While setting all this up, make sure to be friends with your administration staff, and keep in mind what works for their systems as well.  If it can make everyone’s lives easier, then we have a two birds, one stone type of solution.

What we have seen, that cause occasional problems, is using the last 4 of the VIN, in some cases they have been duplicated.  It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen and it can get confusing, if it does occur.

Additionally, nicknaming equipment can lead to a lot of confusion for those people who never see the equipment.

Bottom-line, by picking a logical system, documenting what it means, and sticking to it and it will help you manage your fleet.

October 23, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Here’s your friendly reminder to get your machinery repaired in time for Halloween! 

P.S. And a way to work off that repair bill 🙂

#CASE #580L

bodies buried

September 5, 2014

Funniest Sales Day. EVER.

So Mike, our GM, and I were out doing sales yesterday. We were talking to a gentleman about his forklifts, when Mike asked him what kind of forklift he had.

“Kama-Sutra” He said.
Mike graciously paused a moment, “Do you mean Komatsu?”
Realizing his error, the poor gentleman tried to dig out, “Sorry, it was on my mind, I was just looking at the book”.
Mike, graciously paused a bit, “OK”
Meanwhile, giggling internally, I thought, “OK. And GOOD FOR YOU!”


August 18, 2012

A locknut? Your sure?

We just hired a new person for the office. She’s handling paperwork,s invoicing and parts ordering. In a busy mechanics office, requests come on notes, scraps of paper and the occasional paper napkins and are sometimes difficult to read.

On a recent busy Wednesday morning, our new office staffer was going through the list of parts on her desk, getting ready to make some calls to get parts ready to go.

Not going to say much about mechanic’s handwriting other than it’s similar to doctor’s handwriting….

While reviewing the notes, Stacy got a quizzical look on her face and said to the mechanic Nick, ” I understand about this bolt, but I just have to ask….what’s a Cocknut?”. Nick stopped, looked at Stacy, the note and back at her. “No, that’s a LOCKNUT!”

“Geez, thanks for letting me know BEFORE I started calling around” she muttered.

It was all I could do to keep a straight face, AT ALL.

One four inch bolt and four, umm…, LOCKNUTs to GO!

July 18, 2012

Top 5 Things to Look For in a Forklift Mechanic

Experience – Look for a mechanic that either knows your brand of equipment, or knows how to get various information and parts fast.  A good mechanic with all around skills that knows who to call is sometimes better than a dealer mechanic, who maybe familiar with only one brand of equipment.

Integrity – Look for someone you can trust, who will give you the straight scoop on whats going on.  We talk to our clients when they need work done, we’ll list it on the invoice for a PM or a service, but we talk to them about the following;

  • Issue – shut down (red tag)  the forklift
  • Highly recommended to repair
  • Recommended
  • Near future repair
  • Keep an eye on this

Availability – Can you reach them when you have that critical breakdown?  Are they available to work nights and weekends on priority jobs, like  when your only large forklift breaks down and you need it Monday AM?

Work Ethic – Getting your equipment repaired and functional is the number one priority, so rapidly following  up on parts, and coming back out to finish the jobis critical, isn’t it?

Accountability – Do they stand behind their work?

Using common sense when you are hiring someone is the basic rule of thumb, but these guidelines can help.

July 18, 2012

Bang a Gong, Bong…whatever!

Okay, so now I’m out getting parts at a welding shop.

Let’s set the stage.  I’m a 41 year old corporate survivor, female, now working at a local Tacoma based forklift repair company that allows me to manage my life, my 3 children, husband and worklife. One of the benefits of the new job is that I’m out and about, and visit a variety of parts houses, welding shops and other locations.  This morning I’m at a welding shop.  No problem with that, the conversations are just a tad different than in the corporate world.

Since in previous lives, my recreation included cruising garden stores, gardening art stores and other crazy places I could find stuff for my yard, I was very aware of unique ways you could put some salvage materials to use.  One of these things was old gas tanks, (known as helium tanks to me, great for breathing the air and blowing up balloons). Much to my surprise they had tons of other uses, like oxygen for welding.

Oxygen Tank used for welding

Standard Oxygen Tank

While getting one of these tanks refilled with oxygen at my new job.  I mentioned to the counter person that I had seen these tanks cut off and made into some very cool garden bells.  Very Zen, with a great sound.

Garden Bell

Garden Bell

While loading this really heavy tank up into my truck.  The guy agreed with me and said yes, it would make a really cool Bong..

Hmm….not sure I said that.  But, okay,  I believe you.