Fleet Management Nightmares

Misused, under/over-utilized, and non-maintained fleets are what nightmares are made of for a fleet management company! A shadowy figure lurking in every warehouse, intent on taking advantage of operations, procurement, and fleet management departments alike. This Halloween, we wanted to share with you a few fleet management horror stories that emphasize some issues that have plagued our clients for years and help you not to make the same mistakes.

Client #1: During a Fleet Audit at Facility A, it was determined to be a critical production bottleneck when it came to “dunking” the client’s product into an acidic bath. This process is very corrosive and causes multiple failures on the lift trucks and attachments currently used. It would cost up to $250,000.00 per incident by missing or delaying this part of the production process. 

Disadvantages of the present process: 

  • Minimal ability to secure rental replacements in a timely manner
  • Excessive cost in the machine, attachment, and maintenance in present form
  • High-value step in the production process


At Facility B, a wheeled front-end loader with a modified clamp was utilized to perform the same task as at Facility A. After discussing the process with site personnel and researching potential alternatives for Facility A, Fleet Team concluded that the process employed at Facility B is the best overall alternative to be implemented at Facility A. 

This modified clamp was best suited for this application with its limited moving parts, the ability for the loader to keep distance from the corrosive bath, and its built-in redundancy of already having multiple loaders already on site make this the most viable option. 


  • No need for specialized assets to perform this task
  • Cost of attachment compared to the cost of an entire lift truck with clamp
  • Due to the reduced overall cost, the ability to keep a primary and backup clamps on hand.
  • Minimal maintenance expense
  • Utilize a “Quick Hookup” setup to allow seamless swap between bucket and clamp. This will eliminate any extended downtime. 

Total Expected Savings = $244,500.00, just by modifying a process and matching specifications to applications!

Client #2: A client with a facility in Virginia had high repair and maintenance costs and brought Fleet Team to look for ways that they could save money on their fleet. We conducted an audit, that revealed some truly horrifying stuff. The primary function of this facility was paper recycling.

Current Issues:

  • Paper or Clean Air packages were not outfitted on any of the lift trucks on site. This option would be seen as a necessity for this application.
  • The clamp design utilized on the assets is not the best option for the application at hand. This clamp is designed to be of lighter duty then the application demands.
  • Of the $381,449.00 in repairs noted over the last 8 months (at the time of audit), $28,113.00 (7%) were clamp repairs and $37,214.00 (9%) were the cooling system. Most, if not all, could have been avoided by utilizing application-driven manufacturer options.
  • Additionally, $88,897.00 (23%) of Impact, General Damage, and Tangled debris could be reduced or eliminated by instituting process changes.


  1. All lift truck manufacturers offer “ventilation” or “paper” packages as a factory option for this exact application. This option reduces foreign debris entering the engine compartment and allows for more air to circulate for better engine cooling. By switching to the cooling system option, the potential savings was $231,105.00.
  2. The “Broke Clamp”, currently being used, is a light to moderate-use clamp designed primarily for handling scrap paper in paper mills. This attachment was not designed for the typical abuses experienced in a paper recycling application. The preferred clamp would be the Recycling or Pulp Bale Clamps listed below. These clamps are close in pricing to the Broke Clamp in use today, but the pulp or recycle clamps are designed to meet the rigors of your application. By switching clamps, potential cost savings are estimated: $158,135.00.
  3. Reduce fleet inventory by as much as 30%, or 7 assets, and focus on uniformity. Of the (24) lift trucks noted during the audit, (20) of these trucks ranged from 6 – 8,000 lb capacity. Even though these assets are different ITA classes (Class 4/cushion tire) and (Class 5/pneumatic tire), they all had roughly the same footprint. Focusing on a uniform capacity and specifications offers numerous benefits:
    • A reduced number of assets on site. The fleet would have built-in backups located in underutilized departments if required.
    • Streamlining of parts needed.  Servicing dealer will be able to keep a more focused parts supply on hand at the facility.
    • Familiarity with assets across all operators. Controls and functionality of the assets are known, allowing for safer operation.
    • Equipment manufacturers are more inclined to provide better discounts if orders are focused on limited models and fixed specifications.
    • Expected cost savings: $365,778 by incorporating a uniform fleet!

Client #3: After conducting an audit at a client’s facility, we quickly realized that the local dealership was quoting the wrong type of equipment, tires, masts, and attachments. Originally the local MHE dealer quoted equipment that was not the correct capacity, the wrong class of lift truck, different specialty attachments than what would be able to work, and various mast sizes that competed with height restrictions. In the end, the local dealer was quoting a half-million-dollar mistake.

Benefits from Revised Configuration:

  • Customer capacity requirement maintained to full lift height
  • Overall, lowered mast height and operators are now able to navigate all parts of the warehouse
  • All units are now equipped to reach the top beam in every part of the warehouse using remote carriage-mounted cameras rather than laser fork locaters at a 188” lift
  • The new mast configuration has lowered height of 117” while reaching a maximum fork height of 300” to access all rack positions. Operators will now have a clear view of fork position and pallet entry at maximum fork height, instead of not being able to service the uppermost rack locations

Resulting Cost Analysis:

  • Suppliers have applied client discounts negotiated in the most recent material handling RFP negotiated by Fleet Team
  • Truck cost remains similar to the original. The additional cost of quoting a 2,000 lbs. heavier base forklift was largely offset by applying client national account pricing and switching equipment class from the pneumatic tire to cushion tire models.
  • The cost difference is in moving to a heavier Superior Engineering-supplied quad mast necessary to retain 800 lbs @ 292” maximum

If there’s something strange, in your MHE fleet, who you gonna call? Not Ghostbusters since they don’t have the knowledge or expertise to deal with this kind of horror. Call Fleet Team! We deal with all kinds of fleets that go bump in the night.


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