As we are all aware, forklifts are revolutionary pieces of machinery that have made transporting loads from lorries and the movement of stock from one area to the other much more efficient. However, due to the events that have occurred across the globe recently, the supply of forklifts have taken a steady hit. As such, this article is going to highlight:
- A supply chain conundrum
- Labour shortages
- The semiconductor shortage
A Supply Chain Conundrum:
To begin this article, it is important to identify the reasons as to why there is a second hand forklift shortage.
Firstly, those who provide key components for second hand forklifts are scrambling to keep up with the ever increasing business demand for the vehicles and have been trying to manage a strong balance between providing critical supplies to distribution centres while dealing with their own supply chain challenges. Additionally, customers are also trying to source alternatives from their current forklift distributor, who may have run out of inventory, consequently, causing excess demand which is struggling to be matched.
More specifically, the sales of a forklift chassis (the base frame of a wheeled vehicle) and the forklift’s engine parts have risen astronomically yet, due to a lack of raw materials, manpower and long delays, this has now caused availability of these highly sought after parts to come to a halt.
Another major reason for the lack of used forklifts circulating across the country is due to significant labour shortages. When you can’t work or you are sick, you cannot produce commodities. When Covid19 was in full effect and people were becoming sick and having to self isolate, forklift distribution centres had to restrict their overall productivity simply because they did not have the workforce to create any forklift parts.
In combination with ill workers not being able to produce forklift components, there is also currently a national excess of vacancies for forklift operators. According to the REC’s latest jobs recovery tracker, there was a 9.1% increase in vacancies for forklift truck drivers in the first week of November 2021, suggesting that companies are struggling to recruit.
Brexit is another contributing factor to the lack of used forklifts circulating across the nation in 2022. According to GlobalColdChainNews, 34% of forklift drivers were EU nationals, but many have returned to their homeland. Because of this, business warehouse and transportation companies have experienced a reduction in workforce availability which further explains why forklifts and the production of their respective parts has come to a slow decline.
The Semiconductor Shortage:
Semiconductors are essentially the main hub of a vehicle. They are electrical devices (made from wafers of material like silicon, gallium arsenide or silicon carbide substrate) and are used for critical functions such as sensing, safety features, power management, displays and control of the vehicle.
Back in 2020, automakers and industrial vehicle suppliers cut their semiconductor chip orders as their sales plummeted. When demand recovered faster than anticipated in the second half of 2020, the semiconductor industry had already shifted production lines to meet demand for other applications. As such, the lack of these chips has meant that manufacturers have had to temporarily shut down their operations consequently, causing forklift production to pause.
A final reason why there are forklift supply shortages is because of the recent environmental regulations that have been put into place which has stifled the production of forklifts. In order to meet environmental standards, manufacturers must comply with these regulations and certify their products are safe before they can be shipped out. Some new forklifts have had pending new certifications from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) which only increases time lags for when these machines can be available for purchase.
Thankfully, not everything is all doom and gloom if you want to get your hands on a forklift. While the supply of used forklifts has steadily decreased, brand new forklifts are still very much in demand and in fact, can offer significantly better advantages which can be listed below:
No Hidden Repair Costs
While you may think that used forklifts may seem the way forward, more often than not, they cannot match the reliability of new forklifts. This is because once you purchase a new truck, there are no hidden damages that may sting you in the long run. Furthermore, the vehicle will be quality checked so you will not have to worry as an operator about replacing any ageing components of the truck.
Knowing that the machinery is brand new will give operators greater peace of mind that their machine is protected under a long warranty period. As a result of this, greater employee satisfaction can be experienced. Purchasing a new forklift makes your forklift operator’s job easier and are typically manufactured to have greater longevity. By investing in a new piece of equipment to make their lives easier, it shows them that you care about your employees.
While we have mentioned employee satisfaction increases by investing in a new truck, another benefit is that they are typically manufactured to be faster and more sturdy when lifting pallet loads. This will mean that speed is increases across the whole warehouse business and can mean you can experiences greater efficiency, productivity and can make your employees personal goals more attainable if they have the latest technology which will only increases their satisfaction further.